Each year the Wildlife Trust’s 30 Day's Wild challenge gains in popularity. Thousands of people take part, celebrating and sharing the ways they have engaged with nature, and their observations about our natural world. But, how have Hampshire & Isle of Wight staff been spending 30 Day's Wild? Company Secretary, Clive Chatters, shares with us his second wild week. Read about Clive's first week here and second here.
Day 15: Speedy Salad
According to the plant label I sowed the tray of speedy salad on the 19th March, which seems a lifetime ago. The mixture turned out to be of varied Brassicaceae (cabbage family) which come from all over the world and gave us some interesting ‘cut and come again’ greens at a time when shopping became tricky.
Yesterday I went to re-use the tray and took a few minutes to enjoy the flowers on the bolted crop. Some tiny ichneumon wasps, barely 2mm long, were patrolling the aging salad which was punctured by the grazing of Pollen and Flea Beetles. On closer inspection there were dense masses of grey mealy aphids and the empty egg cases of a Large White butterfly that had been working the garden over the last few days.
Now that first early potatoes are being lifted there is enough bare ground to allow me to sow a succession of greens without having to destroy the community of insects that have taken advantage of my inefficiency. As the caterpillars grow they will probably eat themselves out their home but I hope that they’ll pupate before moving onto the fresher leaves of the salads that I’m now sowing.