Be Aware of Blight

July 24, 2023
Late July/August is the time to be extra vigilant, especially when checking potatoes and tomatoes.
If the weather's mild, wet and humid, these are ideal conditions for a deadly attack of phytophthora infestans (late blight) for which there is no chemical cure.

The pathogen's carried on the wind and first indications that your plants have been attacked are dark patches on leaves with a white powdery mould - particularly underneath.

If left unchecked, the plant will be turned into a rotting mess and within a day or two it will have spread through the crop.

Once spotted on potatoes, the remedy is to cut all top growth to ground level (do not compost) and dispose of in the Council waste bin to prevent the spores being washed into the crop, which if caught quickly will still be edible.

For indoor tomatoes good ventilation is essential. Affected plant leaves must be disposed of as with potato tops.

At the end of the season it should be safe to add old stems and fruit to the compost as the blight will only survive on living material.


Summer How To: Lavender Cuttings

July 24, 2023
  • To propagate Lavender from soft wood cuttings, take non flowering shoots about 3 inches long from the main plant and remove all lower foliage so there is about 2.5 inches of bare stem.
  • Dip in rooting powder if available or push in a pot of fairly coarse compost.
  • Water well and cover with plastic bag.
  • Place in warm shady spot out of direct sunlight; in about 3 weeks cuttings should have signs of roots and can be potted on.

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Gardeners' To Dos: Late Winter (& Early Spring)

January 25, 2023
  • Prune shrub roses, clematis, apple & pear trees before end of April. 
  • Wisteria can be pruned back during January & March (and again during July & August). 
  • Buddleia should be cut back to almost ground level during February or March to encourage new flowering growth.
  • Autumn fruiting raspberries should be cut back to almost ground level February or March; summer fruiting types should be left.

  • For the flower garden, hardy annuals can be sown indoors and planted out when large enough and conditions f...

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Gardeners' To Dos: Autumn (& Early Winter)

September 27, 2022

  • Collect fallen leaves for composting - but always wear gloves.

  • Harvest parsnips and leeks

  • Keep on top of weeds.

  • After harvesting, any bare earth should be covered with either cardboard, manure, compost or quick growing green manure (mustard seed) to prevent new weed growth and conserve nutrients.

  • Old tomato stems and fruit can be added to the compost heap, even if they have been hit by blight as the blight pathogen can only exist on growing material and the pathogen will not carry over to the n...

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Gardeners' To Dos: Late Spring/Early Summer

May 2, 2022
  • With it having been such a dry April, chances of lots of rain to come could mean the slugs and snails will appear in their masses. Now is the time to encourage hedgehogs, frogs, toads etc. Remember that slug and snail killer based on metaldehyde is now banned due to the effect on other wildlife. 

  • Time to sow dwarf and climbing French beans and runner beans, keeping a watch for frosts.

  • Onions, shallots and leeks can be planted.

  • Successional showings of salad crops can be made plus carrots and pea...

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Gardeners' To Dos: Spring

March 7, 2022
  • Prune shrub and climbing roses

  • Prune buddleias hard back

  • Prune cornus stems for colourful stems next winter

  • Plant shallots, onion sets, leeks and early potatoes in the ground or containers provided the ground is not waterlogged or frozen.

  • Sow various veg seeds outside; provided ground is in suitable condition.

  • Sow hardy annuals in pots or modules sow sweet pea seed outside in flowering position. 

  • Plant out autumn sown sweet peas.

  • Divide any clumps of snowdrops or winter aconites and hellebores.

  • Propa...

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