Monday, May 10, 2010

Leatherjackets, peas and old wives tales,

This blogspot started from another blog I saw today,  leatherjackets,  no not Hells angels we are talking wildlife  no not hells angels, lets call it   worms,
As a child being  brought up on a farm in the 1940s/ 50s  one of my jobs was to clean the  bottom of the garden toilet, as was my Sunday morning chore before chapel my job to cut the weekly paper into 6” squares to wipe the bottom with  after doing ones business in said Toilet, we called it :- Ty bach, :- little house.
And this is where My knowledge of the leather jacket stems from,   my job in the spring was to dig the pea and potato rows, once the row for the peas was ready I had to put the waste from ty bach  in a thin layer to the bottom of the row then a thin layer of soil before planting the seed peas in a  row,  like so  :-:-:-: . ptotoes had manure from the cow sheds  again a thin layer soil and the seed potatoes put in a row 1ft apart, both would be then made into a mound  the peas with a flat top and spuds would be left in a spire.  Then Electric and mains water was brought to the farm in 1951 , and the ty bach  was transformed into a  ty Yr ardd :- garden house, or shed as the English would call it, gone was the days of traipsing down the garden path.  To have a crap.  And so too was the excuse to be by oneself for one reason or another.
 That year of no human manure to put under the peas I had to put  cow manure, at first the peas seemed ok then some  would start  dying off before the pea flowers had formed. As a  child I was quite inquisitive so up came one of the dying plants  and it had club roots. Nothing in them days to find out what caused club roots,  but me I put it down to cow manure. Not the usual thing kids do,  but I found out over that summer what was in cow manure.  And it came about during conker season,     explain:- Horse chestnut put on a string to play the game of conker’s .
And where does cow manure come into it?  My theory was,  find a new cow pat and put the conker in to harden  leave for a few days before making the string hole,  one year I had a tenner, that means I smashed ten other opponents conker’s.     now while sifting through the manure to recover my conker /conker’s. I saw a pile of  white tiny eggs.  And took them to school for the biology teacher  to view,  Ah”  he  said these are moths larvae. Will turn into leatherjackets in the soil and then back into a moth. Not sure if he knew exactly what he was talking about  but the teacher should know,   and soon after my farming days was over.     In the early seventies  we had our first council house and it had a huge plot of land . First we made a flower garden with a huge lawn for the kids to play on.  My eldest then 7 the same age as I was on the farm.  Took a pack of dried peas from the cupboard and soaked them over night ready for cooking into mushy peas, but he emptied the whole packet into a saucepan  during the  night they expanded and over flowing the pan  had to be picked up off the floor.  He then threw them in the garden for the birds, some took root  and some had club root  and my son found out the cause was leatherjackets.
 So I bought a gardening book on fruit and vegetables. And sure enough the cause for club root is Leather jackets eating the new forming roots  leaving the plants stumped, and eventually die off.   That same year we had lots of starlings in our new garden digging into the new laid lawn.  no not shovels!  beaks,  They were after the leatherjackets. The black bird would do a rain dance and up came the worms, thinking it was raining. Then  I phoned the guy who brought our soil the year before we laid the lawn,    where did it come from?           an old farm yard manure pile,  
and that was my  conclusion to club root,       and how old wives tales begin. 

Club root,  what is it,
Clubroot is a common disease of cabbages, radishes, turnips and other plants belonging to the family Cruciferae (mustard family). It is caused by Plasmodiophora brassicae, which was once considered a slime mold but is now put in the group Phytomyxea. It has as many as nine races. Gall formation or distortion takes place on latent roots and gives the shape of a club or spindle. In the cabbage such attacks on the roots cause undeveloped heads or a failure to head at all, followed often by decline in vigor or by death. It is an important disease, affecting an estimated 10% of the total cultured area worldwide.
 and from that my theory could have  been right  about the pea,   but then I read this                       
 Do not accept soil from another plot unless it is certified club root disease free
 And read  books properly like,                           leather jackets eat the roots of succulent plants,
The cause of the pea club root  was because farm produce should be rotated , do not grow the same produce in the same plot year after year , 


Jeff Smith said...

nice post love reading it.
Leather Jackets

Courtney zyla said...

Such amazing post..! love to read this lovely information about leather jackets