Friday, May 24, 2013

Damn the red legged earth mites

Red Legged Earth Mites (RLEM) are a serious pest in these parts that can totally destroy a crop of seedlings in two or three days. I found them in my J bock yesterday which was a surprise because they are really mostly a problem in spring. It is just another pest brought here from South Africa, along with many others. Luckily we have got our own back by introducing a couple of our own native plants over there where they have become pests, lol.

It is difficult to impossible to control RLEM with organic methods except one - to eradicate their host plants, namely clover. J block is full of clover so that is not an option because it will take another year to get that under control on that block. I agonised over it last night and decided to spray the earth mite as I can't afford to lose those beds.
I hate to use pesticides on my veggie beds but in this case I have no choice and luckily they only affect a certain number of vegetable types seriously so I only sprayed those 7 beds today. The seedlings are still young so they will be well out of the withholding period when they are harvested.

The main vegetables that I noticed were being attacked by them were lettuce, legumes and radishes so I left the other seedling beds alone. The older lettuce plants were out of their attacking time so they were safe as RLEM prefer young seedlings.

I had a problem with RLEM on the back block when I started and I worked hard to eradicate the clover so last year there was no earth mites at all. I am happy that I can get rid of them in only one year so it could be worse - I could have had a different pest. I am just happy that we don't have some of the terrible veggie pests that they have in the US or the animal pests that the US and UK have. I am thankful for that mercy.

I pulled up the dead Kabocha pumpkin vines today adn gathered the last of the small, late pumpkins. I didn't want to throw them away so I thought I would try hollowing them out and stuffing them as single meals.

It worked very well. Please note that this will probably be the last cooking piece that I do for a while as I don't want to turn this into a cooking blog :)

Here are the pictures.

 First I cut a lid from the top

Then I scooped out the seeds

 Then I half filled it with a packet of instant soup/cuppasoup, then filled with water nearly to the top and stirred to mix.
I put it in the microwave and cooked it on high for four minutes. It boiled over but that adds to the appeal I think. Take out of the microwave and sit aside for another 5 minutes and the pumpkin will cook a little further. Eat.
Kabochas have tender skin that can also be eaten.

I did like this recipe but I think it would have been nicer baked instead of microwaved, and next time I might fill with cooked mince, herbs and cheese for a better flavour.

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