Friday, January 9, 2009

cucurbits and calcium

oh, so like remember when I whinged that the slaters were eating all my zucchini and cucumber and pumpkin seedlings? Well, after a work trip to Townsville to spend some time with a very clever person who knows more about soil biology and fungi and yeasts and little tiny fellas than anyone rightly should, I found a SOLUTION

Apparently my problem is a lack of CALCIUM in the soil. My little seedlings were all super sweet and delicious to bitie things. But worst of all, the lack of calcium was letting a fungus attack the seedlings and the slaters were eating the fungus. Anyway, the solution has been a top dressing of dolomite with the new seedlings and voila, I picked our first cucumber today and the zucs are not far behind.

The moral to the story is slaters are not eating healthy seedlings, their job is to help with decomposition. The lovely thing is that the slaters are still there, zillions of them under the mulch, but they are ignoring my little seedlings.

So slaters are in, but there is still no room in my heart for earwigs. Although I must admit, I havnt had any problems with them this year - quite a few are floating disgustingly between the oil and water levels in my gruesome earwig traps in the glass house - but the living are leaving my babies alone and for that I am truly grateful.

So, note to self: curcurbits need calcium - especially to get them past the 2 leaf stage.


Killi said...

Posted duck pictures on my WP blog ~ I think of you every night when I round up the ducks & "herd" them back into their shed :)

Anonymous said...

I forgot the link, whoops:

The Duck Herder said...

Hi Killi
Thanks for the link - how lovely are your little ducks and I LOVE your pony!

Killi said...

I told Snegi & now she's intolerable! I gave Rawnie Spangle an extra cuddle & told her that she's MY favourite, so she's happy, too

CeeCee said...

I've come over from Katie's site, Garden Punks.
I will wander around in your blog in a bit, but noticed the picture of the bug that we call pillbug, sowbug or roly poly. I was absolutely delighted to find the subject matter to be about why they eat seedlings! I've mentioned the very same subject on several gardening sites, only to be asked, "Are you sure it's them eating the seedlings, pillbugs don't eat seedlings. Maybe it's slugs or snails". Well, I was darn sure, because I'd watched the little buggers enjoy a plant or two.
And here, years and years later, I discover the reason. I'm forever grateful, as are all the little things I'll be planting in the next month or two.