by E. J. KING
THERE seems to be a lot of soft fruit of all kinds coming this year. Some of it will certainly
need protection from birds. One or two points about this matter will be useful. Thc first is that 'normally speaking it is unnecessary (and sometimes harmful) to swathe the trees in netting before the fruit • becomes coloured or likely to attract the birds. Allow the tree or bush to grow naturally as long as possible in order not to interfere with a good shape for next year.
The next point is that while goose'berries, and usually blackcurrants, are to a large degree left alone by the birds, cherries, strawberries, raspberries and red and white currants will draw birds for miles. In the big orchards of Kent and elsewhere they have extensive cultures big enough to provide birds with a surfeit first, and a modicum for human beings afterwaids, Those fruits which entice birds need more or less complete enclosure. Many people actually grow them in wire-netting cages. Smaller jots can be protected either by netfing leaving admission at no point, or by the various proprietary methods of multiple strands of cotton. Bear in mind, however, that not all the fruit ripens at once and that the nets will have to be lifted several times. Straw will have to be provided for the strawberries about now. Nets for these and other fruits will have to be raised so that the birds can't peck the outside fruits, and securely pegged all round to prevent birds getting underneath. Birds more readily go up through a hole than down through a hole.
Spraying may have'to be done against aphis and gooseberry mildew, so bear this in mind white arranging the nets.
DEBIT AND CREDIT
No year is quite right for any purpose, of course, and in peace time it is an easy matter to Niel to present weather vagaries and suggest a remedy. Now, hOwever, we can only learn by experience and make up our minds to counter future difficulties in the light of past worries. The lush growth of last autumn and the unusual dryness of the spring of this year combined to make autumn-sown onions grow too much in the first case hnti then bolt in the fine sunshine of spring There is little we can do atkut this. Cutting off the heads only delays a further attack; the best thing to do is to plant more seedlings in the place of the bolters.
Similarly, Brassies (i.e.,. Cabbagetribe) seedlings have this year shown heavy infestations of the flea-beetlelittle blue-black jumping tiny creatures which in their myriads make the seedlings look as though they were pep
pered with shot. This dwarfs them. Water very well indeed. In severe oases dust with derris after watering. Encourage growth by a little stimulant between the seedling rows, and don't allow overcrowding.
Blackfly has kept off beans very well this year. Try to keep the first attack in check with an insecticide; but when it finally seems to be gaining ground, first pinch out the tops of the plants, and then spray again once more. After that, you'll probably be free. •