I left them for three days. Just three days. They'd not been doing well. Every time I lifted the leaves hordes of whiteflies would swarm around. They're not a pest that I've ever had before, but then I've never tried growing vegetables either. I didn't want to spray things that I was going to be eating, and found out too late that planting marigolds or nasturtiums with the plants would have helped. But they were bearing up, and I hoped that they might last long enough to give me at least a few courgettes.
And then for three days I couldn't get to my office, where I have my vegetable balcony. The containers are tucked out of sight of the clients. From the office window all you see is some pretty flowers trailing over the balcony railings. but stick your head around the French doors and there they are. Or were.
Just three days. And they hit. Maybe they'd been there before and I'd not noticed, but I went away leaving two relatively healthy looking plants and came back to this.
No, it wasn't just the whitefly, though they clearly weakened the plant. The webbing gives it away.
Red spider mite.
OK, OK we all know I'm obsessed by them. But looking at this, do you really think I'm exaggerating?