Saturday, February 20, 2010

Codling Moth!

My parents have two old Golden Delicious apple trees on their section. This year, they have been badly infected with codling moth. I haven't grown fruit before, and didn't realise anything was wrong until I saw all these ugly holes in the fruit! Good old Google and I had some more information:

The little blighters burrow into an apple, grow inside as tiny caterpillars, then come out to be little moths and do the whole thing all over again. They are very hard to treat in the caterpillar stage, as they are safely stowed away inside all our apples by then! It seems the most effective option is a trap that attracts the male moths...but the garden centre had run out! Other options were various sprays. Nasty, nasty, nasty - there was no way I was putting any of that stuff on my food. I mean, they stated on the boxes that they kill bees, which we need for pollination, and can cause harm to human respiratory systems. Nope. So not interested. We will cope with the moths! By then it was all a bit too late anyway.

Despite the codling moth, the trees are having a good season.

We have just started eating the first windfall fruit of the year. I've found that if I cut them up there's still a fair bit of apple left for us after the codling moths have been and gone. It sure feels better than having to throw them all out!

Out of all this I have learned an interesting lesson. If you want to grow food in your backyard as a bit of a hobby, no worries. It is pretty easy to grow a few lettuces or herbs, or even a lemon tree or two. The hard part comes when you want to grow food all year, without big gaps, making the most of the available space, getting to eat most of it yourself rather than it being scoffed by the birds, and not resorting to the supermarket because your lettuces all went to seed or your broccoli were all ready at once! That is quite a tricky skill and one which I suspect will take the rest of my life to develop.

How about you? Do you find vegetable and fruit growing easy, hard, pull-your-hair-out-challenging, exciting or a bit of everything?


1 comment:

MaxineD said...

A bit of everything, but we have to resort to the supermarket in the winter over here....

I read somewhere way, way back that if you plant parsnips at the base of the apple trees and let them go to seed it helps with deterring the codlin moth - can't remember what the rational was though!