Tuesday 1 March 2011

I've got Big Bud Mite.

Well, not me personally, obviously - that'd be daft! As far as I can tell I am not now, nor have ever been a blackcurrant bush ..........I've been called a bit of a nut and a complete fruitcake on more than one occasion, but never a blackcurrant bush!
Anyway, having cleared that up, I have to sadly report that all my blackcurrant bushes do indeed have Big Bud Mite. How do I know this? Thanks to the sharp eyed vigilance of Carah, aka Her On The Hill, at http://viewfromthehighpeak.blogspot.com/

She spotted the telltale round buds in a photo in my previous post and, bless her heart, took the time to write to me explaning it all and to give me a link to the appropriate site to check it out :- http://www.dgsgardening.btinternet.co.uk/bigbud.htm

Having BBM explains why for the past two or three years, my blackcurrant bushes have started off well, then many buds have just shrivelled up and died! I had no idea that the buds shouldn't be round and she has NO idea how grateful I am to her for spotting the problem and telling me about it! Thank you so much :)

Carah writes an excellent, amusing, newsy and informative blog that's well worth a visit if you've never been over there. She's also doing a 2 year City & Guilds course in Practical gardening, hence her knowledge of BBM. This does make me feel that I really ought to do some sort of 'proper' course instead of just making it up as I go along, like I do now!

This is what healthy blackcurrant buds should look like - nice rugby ball shaped buds. I struggled to find these few on my bushes.

This is what Big But Mite affected blackcurrant buds look like. Bigger, rounder, more like a beach ball . No problem finding a plethora of these to photograph! :(

Of course, having now read all about BBM, I know that I have to dig up all 8 - yes 8, of my beloved blackcurrant bushes and burn them to stop the mites spreading. I then have to get new bushes and put them in a different part of the garden. This will, of course, necessitate moving our large fruit cage .......however , I have a cunning plan!

There's a very nice patch of newly cleared ground where the conifers used to be - up behind the greenhouse at the opposite side of the garden - still sunny, still protected from the winds (in fact, better protected from the westerlies we get here!) and if I move the fruit cage, the redcurrant bushes, the gooseberry bushes and the 2 blackberry bushes that I planted the day before Carah spotted the BBM, then that leaves a large empty space topside of the tea house and japanese garden...Hmmmm!
Now what could I possibly do with a 20ftish x16ftish space so close to my tea house eh?! :D

Whilst you're pondering on that one, just to prove that spring is happening - albeit more slowly than usual, here are some snowdrops and a couple of crocus.

The flowering cherry by the vegetable garden is just coming into blossom.

and a few more snowdrops, because I love them and it's my blog so I can put as many snowdrop photos in as I want! :)

And just for The Gnome up in Glasgow on Down On The Allotment here are the home-made anti-squirrel devices I was telling you about! One or two one litre pop bottles with the bottoms cut off and some 'trician's tape on the pole to stop the bottles sliding down - job's a good 'un!

Have a good weekend.