My allotment today: crime investigation – who did behead my courgettes’flowers?

After 3 days wondering when the rain would stop I went to my allotment for an hour between 9pm and 10pm. Although there had been some showers today , it was mainly dry.
As always, when I am not visiting my garden for a bit I get worried about in what state I am going to find it.
My main concern was about the courgette. I have to tell you that I have never been successful with courgettes. It seems that my method of gardening does favor these mollusks very well. It is quite common to hear that the first few years of mulching can be tough, time to for the soil and the area to get balanced. Well I am aware of that and I paid the full price of not taking care of slugs at a crucial moment last

By observing these salad leaves, I suspect the holes are done by some tiny black bugs.

year, I had very low yields mostly due to slugs, snails an pigeons…
This year I am determined to interact and pro-actively help my allotment to balance itself quickly. In other words, tracking slugs and snails.
I was right to be concerned about the courgettes, they are under attack again. Although every gardener that I know have every year a huge surplus of courgettes, I usually have next to nothing… Which often means that my friends give me courgettes. But I would like to have courgettes from my garden! Me and my wife them so much.
That is why this year I grew them until nearly in flower, in pot in the greenhouse, before order planting outside. I do have some still in pot waiting to be planted in the unfinished raised bed. I may keep one or two plants for my zone 1 in our backyard.
Anyway, I realised quickly today that they have been targeted indeed! A few plants had their flowers literally beheaded. After a quick investigation it was clear that the offenders were these creatures with a soft body. And with no shell, only the slugs seemed to be responsible to the chopping spree of about 1 flower per plant in average. But still I found weird the way some flowers are really cut from the stem so neatly while some others have had their stem obviously chewed resulting in the flower not been enough fed from the plant…
So I pushed my investigations a bit further by carefully checking the remaining of the flowers. So after opening petals one by one, there it was! Inside a flower that had been cut out from its plant, was a small but fat slug nibbling happily, sheltered and hidden, in the perfect cozy, humid flower den full of sweet food. I immediately checked another fallen flower, and it was also used as a comfortable luxury restaurant by a similar medium fatty slug. And it seems that when the flower is eaten from inside, it looses its connection at a soft spot between itself and the stem, and fall…
The big lesson of the day is, always check inside the dead flowers! there could be some creature inside ready to suck the life out of the next flower. Also check carefully flowers still alive and attached to their plant, who knows you could still save
So I hope that I will be able to avoid too much loss this year.
Apart from my crime investigations I did some grape vine pruning again. And then harvesting, hopefully I don’t need much to be happy, and harvesting berries and current does lift my mood up very quickly!


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