Tuesday, 6 April 2010

A garden surprise

The predicted sunshine never came so we did some gardening with dark clouds looming above. I planted a few strawberries and a Helleborus which looks lovely under the lilac. I thought I prepare a few pots for planting vegetables. But I got a rather nasty surprise: Chafer grubs. Yuck. Look! The one on the left tries to get away. The others were too stunned to be out and didn't move but that one was really fast. It rolled around and crept along and rolled around and crept some more. All rather quickly. I wonder whether it would have tried to get into the lawn? Can't imagine it getting there, what with our hard baked soil... Those little leggies aren't very useful for crawling when you're that fat...
Chafer grubs are the larvae of the Welsh chafer beetle that comes out of the lawn in May or June to have a big party. Then they lay the eggs in the lawn again where the grubs hatch and chomp away on the roots of the grass leaving it looking nasty and bald with brown batches. Now, we have a few bare batches but I did find all of these grubs in a pot. 20 actually! In one not terribly big pot! I sure hope that isn't a sign of things to come and how it looks under the grass. Because the way to get rid off those nasties is with nematodes. Unfortunately they need a certain temperature of the soil to live and work. Which is only reached in September. Ah, the joy of leaving in such a hot climate as the UK!
Here you can see their size a bit better, those chafer grubs are enormous. That little black thing is the lens cap of my camera. Apparently much bigger than the beetle they turn into. I don't really want them to hang around for that long, I take the natural gardener's word for that!

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