THE first fortnight in May is I always a tricky time for the gardener. There are those timehonoured frosts to be reckoned with. and March having given us plenty of fog, we still have to expect the May frost. But by now it should be safe to sow runner and broad beans out of doors. for by the time they are up the frosts really should be over. Once the frost danger is past, that of the pests begins. All brassicas should be watched for club root: if some plants seem weakly, pull one up and if there are small white grubs feeding on the stems, water with corrosive sublimate (1 oz. to six gallons of water), but handle carefully as it is very poisonous.
Onion fly, too, has a nasty little trick of creeping into the soil disturbed by thinning, and laying its eggs round the young swelling onions. Sand mixed with paraffin and put along the rows will discourage these pests, and so should the smell of parsley. (It is quite a good plan to sow onions next to a row of last year's parsley if it is still in leaf.)
Once this fly has established itself in an onion bed there is nothing for it but to change the site, an annoying thing to have to do because onions are conservative about soil and if they happen to approve of a particular bed, like to occupy it again the following year. It is always a good plan to dig this bed over as soon as the crop has been lifted.J. H.