Last night I watched the awesome David Attenborough and the truly remarkable Frozen Planet. First there were the penguins standing in groups, in violent storms all winter. The males incubate the eggs whilst the females go fishing out on the seas alongside killer whales. Then there were the sea gooseberries, filmed under water and like nothing I have ever seen. And the arctic moths who spin a cocoon to protect themselves throughout the most unimaginable winters. Planet earth seen in all its extraordinary beauty, and not fully abused by humans (aside of course from global warming) simply because it’s too inhospitable for us to survive there. The camera crew deserve knighthoods -they risked their lives to bring us such remarkable images.
This morning I badly needed to get back to nature so I went down to the allotment to confront my sad looking leeks. My research tells me that the damage is most probably the caterpillar of the leek moth. The outer leaves have strip-shaped holes along the length of the sheath and growth is slow. Charles Dowding’s advice in How to Grow Winter Vegetables is to next year cover a whole bed of leeks with mesh as soon as planted. Keep them covered until the middle of September and plant pencil-sized leeks in late June so that they are large by the time the leek moths main season arrives.
Don’t they look awful? But 85 year old Alan on a plot near mine says he has the same problem but assures me they are fine to eat. I trust his wisdom and so I stripped them of all damage then sliced and cooked them. And although they took longer to cook they were pretty delicious.
Having seen the Arctic moth I have total respect for all moths and will forgive the leek moth even though I’ll take steps next year to restrict it’s routine.