lettuces, aphids and dandelions

Lettuces love the sunshine and, as the sun slips lower each day, they are starting to struggle in the damp, dull autumn days. They grow more slowly and the persistent damp conditions make them more susceptible to the ever-present mildew attacking the outer leaves. We were late planting the last of the crop with the result that there are still far more in the fields than we would like. I suspect we will end up cutting them immature and putting two in a bag.

A further problem is presented by cool nights, resulting in the normal autumnal boom in aphids. The predatory Lacewing and Hoverfly larvae, which have done such a fine job gobbling up aphids all summer, become dopey and less voracious in their appetites and the balance is tipped in favour of their more fecund and cold-tolerant prey. When we supplied Sainsbury