If you've read any of my earlier blogs you may remember that I am aiming for the post-Brexit good life, digging for victory and "growing my own" here at the Sticks. You could say I'm putting down many more roots on my little spot in Staffordshire!
For patriotic reasons (haha) I am growing good old traditional British veg: parsnips (originally Eurasian), potatoes (Peru), carrots (Persian) and beans, broad (near East) and runner (Central America) - but I can't give up that bit of post 1973 "foreign fare" I discovered when I left the Staffordshire backwaters for the urban elite life of university in, well, Birmingham in 1975: aubergine, garlic and chillis.
You might not believe it now but in 1975 I'd not seen an aubergine before and due to the absence of vampires in Staffordshire we'd rarely had garlic in any of our meals. Curries came as boil in the bag sauce plus rice. This is the bit of the good old days I'm not looking forward to returning to so I am intending to defy it by growing my own aubergine, peppers, chillis and garlic (French beans too, but don't tell anyone).
So where was I? Oh yes, growing aubergines. I was watching them carefully because by the end of last season my lovely plants were covered in mealybugs which I battled daily with limited success as the leaves turned sticky and sooty and the fruits fell prematurely. This year I wanted to be ready to zap them when first spotted.
Mist with tepid water twice daily. Carefully check the leaves. Tend to them like my babies. Then one day I spotted clusters of little white insects on the leaf stalks of one and several others developing a fine white cobweb mesh. Got them. First line of defence, scrape them off and squash them but longer term strategy required: order bio-defences. Call in the troops. If we could win the two world wars I can win against the bugs. All it takes is belief and I'm motived to believe hard. I want my aubergines.
To reinforce my very strong belief that my plants will thrive, and to demonstrate clearly to the occupiers that I mean it, I order some enemy bugs. Mites and bugs that will attack and kill the mealybugs and the spidermites.
I keep up the vigilence, removing the enemy bugs, squish-squash. Eventually the saviour bugs arrive, ready to be released into battle.
Then I see the delivery note. Oh no! They've come from Belgium. My supplier has sent Belgian bugs to save my plants. I can't even prepare for my post-Brexit good life without assistance from the EU.
It's not looking good, but then again, it does seem to fit well with the style of Brexit.