Eats shoots and leaves: the problems with pests

<span>Beginning to burst: the first of the poppies</span><span>Photograph: Allan Jenkins</span>
Beginning to burst: the first of the poppiesPhotograph: Allan Jenkins

Gardening ups and downs! One warmer May morning I arrive with seeds for sowing but find something’s eaten all but one of the baby pea plants. I feel almost tearful, and fear for the survivor.

I sow more seed and scatter the soil with organic slug pellets, guilt fighting anger. The climbing French beans haven’t yet raised their heads. Does everything seem a bit slower this year? Too wet too early perhaps. Though it might more easily be my impatience.

I add a couple of short additions to the crimson broad bean rows. The first two are showing well. Along with peas, these are maybe my favourite vegetable garden thing, best eaten on the day of picking. A true grower’s summer treat.

There is not yet much else for the snails to eat and young shoots are irresistible

All the small sunflower Titans have also been razed to the ground. I try not to take it to heart and sow more. Wispy baby beetroot shoots have broken through. The carrots and chards should come soon. There is a light scattering of self-sown crimson orache. I add a red amaranth from the Seed Library. They are sort-of companion cousins, I tell myself.

The birds have been battering the small nasturtiums. I guess, the same as with the snails, there is not yet much else for them to eat and young shoots are irresistible.

The surrounding trees have greened, beds of forget-me-nots are scattered around the site, and the pond flag irises will soon be ready to open. There’ll be frogs soon, too, spreading out, looking for food.

Before I leave, I take a quiet wander round. You can more easily see when other allotmenteers have been. Vegetable beds thrum with young potatoes, leeks, shallots and the first strawberry flowers. Next-door’s tall scarlet poppies are beginning to burst. I stop and count my lucky stars. There is so much here to love.

Now, time for news of your May days. Tell us, how’s it all growing?

Allan Jenkins’s Plot 29 (4th Estate, £9.99) is out now. Order it for £8.49 from