I PLAY chess some nights with a computer partner called Fritz.
He never makes mistakes and after a few thousand games, I’ve never won one yet.
But sometimes I get very close to winning, my heart starts thumping, I bend towards the screen.
He speaks to me (did I tell you that) and then in a clear computer voice with a foreign accent he says to me “ sneaky, sneaky, sneaky”.
Of course, it’s all over then, I lose.
Reminds me of those large grey grasshoppers we see in the garden at times, they are sneaky and can eat through those precious leaves so quickly.
There is not much that one can do but it can be quite frustrating at times, especially when those spinach leaves have grown so well.
Of course, there is another way, just grow more than you need and let those pests have some also.
Have you ever tried playing hide and seek with one of these large grey grasshoppers? They watch where you move and go round the other side of the leaf or stem and just as you’re about to whack it they fly off to another area, to live another day.
Some pests, you just must put up with.
There are many different types of aphid and insects to suck the juice right out of a leaf, sooty mold that can cover your plants stopping them from growing properly.
Often appearing overnight when conditions are just right. Black spot on your roses, White fly on your cabbages, bugs and grubs that fly or crawl and decimate your grape vine in one night.
How do we keep going, with all these things that go wrong with our produce we try to grow.
Well, there are some things you can do to stave off this heartache you have to endure.
For starters, only put in your garden plants that grow well in your area.
Nurseries often have plants that look nice at the shop but after a while soon die, because conditions have not been right for it.
Experiment with different plants by all means, but remember that most of the time that you will be restricted by the makeup of your soil or the area you live in.
There was a program the other night on TV showing some of the oldest olive trees and groves in the world.
Along the Adriatic coast and Croatia, areas around the Mediterranean were shown, some of the land were so rocky and strewn with stone that huge rock walls were fashioned from the millions of pieces of rock to form fences.
The ground appeared to be so poor and dry, yet here were olive tree, still bearing fruit some 1,500 years later.
Huge gnarled trees, with a large canopy of branches, twisted and dry with age, roots curled around one another.
Conditions so perfect, they are still alive today. It is believed that there are some trees in the world that could be older than that.
So, to sum up; plant for your area for best results, plant more than you need for your visitors, try and use natural things to get rid of pests, don’t forget to water, use quality potting mix all the time, grow what you like to eat and keep an ‘eye out’ for the bugs.
Till next time.