A frequent ‘pest’ to the Victoria plum in our garden smallholding is the plum moth, the larvae are quite partial to Victoria and Czar varieties. Brown poops (frass) are usually the first thing you’ll see when you slice open a plum troubled by plum moth, the adult moth lays eggs on the fruits in summer and the pink caterpillars burrow in and have a jolly good time eating, pooping and growing. The fruit drops to the floor earlier than usual and this is where the next cycle of life begins.
I’m an organic veg gardener. I don’t spray my fruit trees or anything else with nasty chemicals and I like to think I’m pretty tolerant with a live and let live attitude to most things, but let’s face it, nobody wants to munch on caterpillars (or their poops) so I hope my photos help with identification of a plum problem that may crop up from time to time.
To keep plum moth under some sort of control (organically) I collect fallen fruit regularly from directly under the tree and pile the fruit elsewhere in the garden, allowing the chickens to enjoy them as they free range. The local wood pigeon population enjoy a nibble, late butterflies and pollinators such as bees and wasps appreciate the sugary boost as the weather turns cooler. Pheromone traps are another way to control plum moth without the use of pesticides.
Our allotment site is fenced with chicken wire to prevent rabbits from entering from the railway and fields beyond. As predicted, rabbits are finding ways to get in, along with deer. It was soon obvious that all the plots would benefit from being fenced too, around half of the plots are now protected but those that aren’t are having problems with crops being eaten, including ours.
Last year the little fuzzy butts ate all the carrot tops (then dug some of them, up scattering them everywhere), dug a whacking great hole in the potato bed and pooped all over the plot. This year, rabbits or deer munched garlic tops down to the stalks and damaged fruit bushes. I’m all for wildlife but enough is enough!
Last weekend Rich and I put a fence around our plot using chicken wire and wooden posts, stapling the wire onto the edges of the raised beds and paths to stop anything from digging under. I’ve visited our plot everyday this week and cannot see any further damage. We covered the garlic over with wire frames about a month ago and it’s recovering nicely now. The funny thing is, I thought I’d hate having a fence around the plot, in actual fact I quite like it. It makes the plot feel more like our little place, without losing the feel of community gardening or shutting our neighbours out. And our crops are a little bit harder to get at.