Invasion of the box tree caterpillar

July 27th, 2017

Finally I have found a web site with some real details on the the box tree caterpillar/pyrale du buis www.conseils-coaching-jardinage.fr This last few months we have really struggled to deal with the problem and now we have an invasion of caterpillars from all around us. It is a real catastrophe for the local environment. If you can read the French go to this site, if not, here is something in plain English.

At the moment we are at the caterpillar stage and if you haven’t already treated you need to spray the whole bush with Bacillus thuringiensis. This is the same stuff which you can spray on cabbages to treat the caterpillars and both caterpillars look similar. It is a biological control and only harmful to the the caterpillars that eat the leaves. Garden centres normally stock this product, but you can also find it on the internet. Obviously if it rains you will have to spray again and repeat again after 8 days if you still find live caterpillars. Our caterpillars have been around awhile so they must be ready to pupate. At this stage it is a good idea to use a pressure washer to remove all the debris, the caterpillar shit and hopefully any cocoons. Trim the hedge, or even cut it back to base, but give it a high nitrogen fertiliser, something suitable for evergreen hedges. It is a risk cutting it back really hard, but most of ours have come back. The next generation of moths will be with us, ready to lay eggs after 3 weeks and the whole cycle begins again.

Ideally you have a trap (piege) for the male moths. It won’t make much impact on the numbers, but it will help you to judge the most effective time to spray again. The moth lays 200- 300 eggs in the middle of the bush and they hatch in 2 days. It is suggested that you spray 8 days after you find the first moth and again 8 days later. They overwinter as caterpillars, so it is really important that this last treatment is done. The moth is around from April to November, so there are going to be several generations.

For some box bushes and hedges it is already too late, but I urge you to at least try and save a few bushes. I have found caterpillars eating other plants when they have exhausted the box, but it seems the holly and Euonymus are also vulnerable. If the moth cannot find any box it is likely to turn to these shrubs.

Les poules

February 14th, 2016

Les poules dans le potager

Le potager est presque vide pendant l’hiver donc c’est le bon moment pour introduire quelques poules. Elles nettoieront le terrain et aussi nous espérons nous débarrasseront des insectes nuisibles qui hivernent dans le sol. Cette année nous avons eu des problèmes avec la mineuse du poireau et la mineuse de la tomate.

Nous aurions aimé les laisser libres d’aller dans tout le potager avec une clôture pour les empêcher d’aller dans le jardin d’agrément. Nous avons essayé cela mais nous avons perdu deux poules à cause du renard ou plus probablement un chien de chasse perdu et affamé car c’était en plein jour.

Nous avons maintenant un enclos fermé de 5m X 2 m qui se démonte et que nous déplaçons.

Quand nous sommes dans le jardin nous utilisons aussi la clôture.DSC03210

Chicken

February 14th, 2016

Chickens in the vegetable garden

The vegetable garden is fairly empty during the winter period, so it is an ideal time to introduce a few chickens. They will clear any remaining crops and hopefully gobble up any overwintering pests, hibernating in the soil. For the last few years we have had problems with allium leaf miner (leeks) and a tomato caterpillar, which would seem to overwinter in the soil. I am hoping the chickens will gobble up these pests and reduce the problem for next year.

Ideally I would like the chickens to roam freely in a large space and we did try a small movable house surrounded by metre high roll up fencing. We thought to confine them to the vegetable garden in the area which was free from overwintering crops. This lasted all of 3 days as something jumped the fence, killed one chicken and ran off with another. We originally thought it was a fox, but as the ducks freely roam across the meadow and into the woods we now think it must have been a hungry hunting dog.

Plan B is now in operation. The same moveable house but with a 5 metre run. When we are in the garden we can let them out into a larger area using the roll up fencing. Thanks to the hard work of my husband we now have a sturdy, elegant chicken run. It would be too heavy to move in one piece, so the 4 sides come apart. It should take us about an hour to take it down and move to another position. At times when we are not in the garden, we know that the chickens are safe from any roaming dogs or foxes.DSC03210

Jardin ouvert/ Garden Open

June 14th, 2015

 

 

 

jardin des amisDSC02680

 

 

Notre jardin <<organic>> est ouvert dimanche après-midi de 14h à 19h en juin et juillet.

Jardin agrément et potager – fleurs sauvages et papillons.

 

You can visit our organic garden every Sunday afternoon during June and July, 2pm until 7pm.

 

le Falgayrenq, La Bastide L’Eveque (D269 à côte des Martinets du Lézert)

 

The bees need your help

February 11th, 2015

We need the bees for pollination. Nearly all fruits and vegetables depend on insects for pollination. No pollination no fruit

No honey bees, no honey

Insects are part of our diverse and wonderful planet

Insects need food, especially early and late in the year when there are less wild flowers. All heathers are wonderful for bees and there are some early flowering ones. Pulmonaria flowers very early and stays in flower a long time. Look at your garden, see if you can plant more perennials and shrubs specifically attractive to insects. Many annuals are loved by insects, sow some hardy ones as soon as the weather is suitable. Marigolds, shirley poppies and cornflowers and then later on when it is warmer Zinnias and Cosmos. If you have some spare ground sow a flower mix.

If you have some spare time make up an insect hotel. This will give your solitary bees somewhere to hibernate, next winter. You can buy them, but much more fun to make your own. Goggle insect hotel for some ideas

This is something everyone can do, starting now

Asiatic hornets (Frelon Asiatique) are gradually spreading and they kill and eat bees, destroying whole hives. You can spot the nest during the winter months, less easy when the leaves are on the trees. We had one on the other side of the stream, directly opposite the bee hive. Normally near some kind of water, these nests are very large and round, high up in the tree. You might think it is a bird’s nest, but look closely and you will see it is completely round. There is not a lot you can do with a nest found at this time of year as the hornets have left. A nest found in the spring and summer is likely to be active, and you should notify your Mairie. Different departments have different policies for their destruction. In the meantime, you need to make some traps. Use some of those empty plastic milk bottles you keep throwing out. In the early spring hornet queens are vulnerable and can be caught in this kind of trap.

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Model of simple trap for the queens of asiatic hornet to hang up from the 15th of february to the 15th of april or in autumn from the 15th of october to the end of november

Cut a plastic bottle about 3/4 up-transparent is good but you can use milk bottles-Cut a slot 7mm wide in bottle top-

put top half upside down in bottom half- You can use the bottom of another bottle to keep the rain off-

Heat a wire (it makes a clean hole) and push through the plastic to make a handle-

Put some beer in it or blackcurrant sirop and hang up

 

Trap for Frelon Asiatique

January 13th, 2013

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serre dome

June 7th, 2011

Notre serre que nous venons de construire

Nouveau portail_ New Gate

December 3rd, 2010

Bird Table

May 21st, 2010

This is a new design bird table with two storeys : one for the big birds and one for the small birds

Portail en bois- wooden gate

December 14th, 2009

newgate

Voici le nouveaux portail du jardin que Yves viens de finir. Construction artisanale en bois de châtaignier.  Yves peut construire sur mesure, selon vos besoins toute sorte de mobilier de jardin (bancs, portails, tables…) ou des structures en bois pour plantes grimpantes (obélisque, pergola, treillis…)