Visitors to the Polytunnel
As the weather was slightly cooler than recent days I decided to have a good tidy up and weed the Polytunnel. Some raspberry canes and bramble had crept in through the back door, attracting these Meadow Brown butterflies. Whilst harvesting some new potatoes I disturbed two toads. I knew there was at least one in there as I saw it peeping out from under a seed tray the other evening. Hopefully they are feasting on the slug and snails that I miss on my daily hunts.
It is very satisfying to find some wildlife in the polytunnel and reinforces the decision to avoid using slug pellets and other poisons. I renewed some of the wool surrounding my seed trays and find that it is more effective if the wool is underneath and the seed trays are separated slightly. These plastic trays and cells are ideal sheltering spots for slugs and snails, eventually I hope to replace them using pots that discourage them.
After clearing some space I planted some herbs to encourage bees and butterflies into the tunnel to help with pollination. I chose Sage near the strawberry patch, Basil near the Grapevine, Oregano near the doors and Borage near the tomatoes and legumes. As well as attracting bees, Borage is a good companion plant for tomatoes as it discourages the mother moths of tomato hornworms. There are claims that it improves the taste and growth of tomatoes and nurses spinach, legumes and strawberries. I dotted around some Yarrow as it is also a good companion plant that discourages pests (nematodes, aphids and bean beatles)and attracts predatory insects such as the Hover fly. It also enhances aromatic plants by increasing essential oil production.