Chris’s allotment blog

Asparagus outrage!

I know I keep going on about my asparagus, but it’s all new and exciting as I’ve not grown it before…there I was, down at the allotment, doing a bit of general tidying, and I noticed the stalk of the asparagus nearest me was CRAWLING with little black caterpillars! The sauce!

They had striped the frondy leaves from the plant, which was looking pretty sad. Well, it would, wouldn’t it, being bereft of it’s frondy bits….I checked out all the other plants and they ALL had a posse of predatory munchers roaming about their foliage.

I spent quite a long time picking the pesky critters off, then Keith and Mo popped down to visit and Keith joined in the picking process too! It’s not a nice job, so thanks Keith. I Googled it when I got home and it seems it’s an Asparagus beetle larva.

There were also some adult beetles on the plants – I was hoping the beetle-y things would be eating the grubs, but no such luck! The web site said this about them:
Sanitation is one of the principal preventative strategies for suppressing these pests. This usually involves autumn/winter burning of dried fronds and other “trash” to eliminate sites where the beetles overwinter.
(2) However, this may be undesirable if it leaves the soil vulnerable to erosion. On small acreages, enclosing the asparagus beds and letting hens
(Hmm, lack of chickens for this method!) forage on the beetles is one possible strategy for control.
(3) Rotenone or rotenone-pyrethrum mixtures are an organic control measure for larger acreages. Natural predators include a chalcid wasp and lady beetle larvae

I’m a bit late for prevention, I think! I’ll have to keep an eye on the situation and see if it improves. Those greedy gobblers may have won the first skirmish but they haven’t won the war…