Charlotte and Desiree potato identification

July 30, 2008
Charlotte and Desiree potato identification.
Charlotte and Desiree potato identification.

Our first crop of early potatoes have been harvested and taste delicious.

Charlotte potato. Second early variety

Charlotte potato. Second early variety

 Carlotte (Second Early)

Charlotte potato, Excellent with salads hot or cold

Charlotte potato, Excellent with salads hot or cold

 A very popular salad variety producing yellow skinned, waxy tubers and creamy yellow flesh. Lovely  flavour and excellent either hot or cold.

They can be baked or boiled

Prone to slugs and foliage blight.

Desiree potato. Early maincrop variety

Desiree potato. Early maincrop variety

 Desiree (Early maincrop)

Desiree potato. Versalite for cooking

Desiree potato. Versalite for cooking

 A very popular red potato. Pale yellow, firm waxy flesh. Versatile for cooking.

Good drought resistance

Good for roasting, baked, boiled, mashed, with salads hot or cold or as chips.

Potato Slug damage

Potato Slug damage

 Not that prone to slugs but some had a bite out of mine, Disease Powdery scab.

Good for growing in poor heavy soils

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Tomato splitting and tomato blight identification

July 29, 2008
Tomato splitting due to irregular watering

Tomato splitting due to irregular watering

Growing healthy tomatoes

Growing healthy tomatoes

It’s important to keep your tomatoes continuously watered otherwise when the soil dries up, the tomato skins harden.

When the plant is watered again the tomato fruits can no longer swell properly due to the hardened skin and so the fruit splits. Fungal spores can then enter the wound and ruin the fruit.

Tomato blight

Tomato blight

 Tomato blight identification on tomato fruit

The tomatoes ripen in sunlight so it’s a good tip to cut away some of the leaves to allow the sunlight to reach the fruit. Removing some of the leaves will allow air to circulate and reduce the risk of fungal attack.

Tomato care. Picking off side shoots

Tomato care. Picking off side shoots

 Remove any shoots as they will be taking nutrients away from the ripening fuits.

Mulch around the base of the plant to help reduce water loss.

It’s the end of July and the first few of my tomatoes in the greenhouse have ripened.

For plant care advice see the Complete Garden software for PC & MAC


Saving Britain’s magical butterflies

July 28, 2008
Find the right plants for British butterflies

Find the right plants for British butterflies

I was delighted to see an article in The Mail on Sunday July 27th ‘My battle to rescue Britain’s magical butterflies’ by Emilia Fox, who is very concerned about decline in British butterflies. The number of butterfly species on the priority endangered list has more than doubled in 12 years, rising from 11 butterflies and 53 moths in 2005 to 24 butterflies and more than 150 moths in 2007.

By chance Emilia met lepidopterist Clive Farrell who also happens to be a good friend of mine and is an inspirational man dedicated to helping our British butterflies, moths and wild meadows.

Emilia, like many of us is concerned about the decline of butterflies but didn’t know  what to do to help.  Clive suggested:-

Buddleja are nectar plants for butterflies

Buddleja are nectar plants for butterflies

 Buddleja,

Michaelmus Daisy are nectar plants for butterflies

Michaelmus Daisy are nectar plants for butterflies

 Michaelmus daisies plus

Lavendar are nectar plants for butterflies lavender

Holly is a food plant for caterpillars and birds

Holly is a food plant for caterpillars and birds

 and keep existing holly,

Ivy are food plants for butterflies

Ivy are food plants for butterflies

 and ivy

Stinging nettles are food plants for Peacock butterfly larvae

Stinging nettles are food plants for Peacock butterfly larvae

 and to grow stinging nettles because butterflies love all of these as a food resource and some lay their eggs in the hairs of the stinging-nettle leaves.

Clive’s latest project is a 300ft-diameter glass biodome in St Albans which will be home for 10,000 tropical butterflies covering 250 different species, where visitors will be able to walk through reproduction Mayan ruins and  waterfalls to experience the sights and atmosphere of a tropical-rainforest.

On completion in 2011 the Mayan Butterfly dome is expecting to receive one million visitors a year. The biodome will be a fantastic experience as well as inspirational and educational.

We need more people like Clive to encourage and inform us how we can help our British wildlife. Planting the right plants is easy if you know which plant to use.

Clive’s advice is simple, inexpensive and attractive.  We all benefit so why not help the British Butterflies before it’s too late as well as brighten up your garden.

Photographs Neil Bromhall – www.complete-gardens.co.uk The interactive Plant advice CD-ROM has hundreds of plant suggestions to help gardening for butterflies.


RHS Wisley stock the latest Complete Gardens multi list Plant Finder & Pruning guide CD-ROM.

July 18, 2008
Multi list, plant Finder and pruning guide Encuclopaedia 3,500 plants, 9,000 images CD-ROM. PC & MAC compatible
Multi list, plant Finder and pruning guide Encuclopaedia 3,500 plants, 9,000 images CD-ROM. PC & MAC compatible
The latest Complete Gardens multi lists 3,500 plant 9,000 photographs garden software CD-ROM is aimed more for the professional gardener, Garden Designer, Garden Design Student or Landscaper who require the ability to produce multiple plant lists plus add individual notes which can be printed out with images and given out to staff or Clients.
 
The Plant Finder search function allows the user to select plants for every aspect of a garden and season need effortlessly.
Simply choose any combination of colour, height, soil type, aspect, month / season or name and the UK Plant Databse will select and display the plants to suit the search requirements within seconds.
Each plant is accompanied with in-depth plant care and illustraed pruning advice plus 9,000 high quality photographs to help plant identification and seasonal changes.
The Calendar Plant Lists shows which plants the Client / garden has, plus when and how to prune those individual plants.
The Multi plant finder and pruning guide is designed as a simple UK garden maintenance plant database and aid garden planning as well as Garden Design by finding the right plants for the right place and know how to look after the plants.
PC & MAC compatible.
Plant Finder and pruning guide CD-ROM 2,700 UK plant database. PC & MAC compatible

Plant Finder and pruning guide CD-ROM 2,700 UK plant database. PC & MAC compatible

Chris Beardshaw 2,700 UK garden plant selection.
7,200 photographs to help plant identification and seasonal changes
x2 plant lists. Plants I have and Plants I want
Add notes and print with images
See which plants you have in any month.
Reminder when and how to prune your plants
Intended for Home Use and a useful gift

Chris Beardshaw quotes This CD-ROM is the next best thing to having your own private gardener”
Bar Code number 5060110080014.

Complete Gardens Plant Selector & Pruning guide Encyclopaedia 3,500 plants with 9,000 images CD-ROM. PC & MAC compatible

Plant Finder and pruning guide encyclopaedia 3,500 UK garden plant CD-ROM. PC & MAC compatible

Plant Finder and pruning guide encyclopaedia 3,500 UK garden plant CD-ROM. PC & MAC compatible

Plant Selector & Pruning guide encyclopaedia 3,500 plants with 9,000 images CD-ROM. PC & MAC compatible
3,500 UK garden plant selection
9,000 photographs to help plant identification and seasonal changes
x2 plant lists. Plants I have and Plants I want
Add notes and print with images
See which plants you have in any month.
Reminder when and how to prune your plants
Intended for Home Use where the user wants maximum number of plants
Bar code 5060110080021

Complete Garden Multi list Plant Finder & Pruning Guide Encyclopaedia 3,500 plants 9,000 photographs CD-ROM

Complete Garden Multi list Plant Finder and pruning guide encyclopaedia CD-ROM. PC & MAC compatible

Complete Garden Multi list Plant Finder and pruning guide encyclopaedia CD-ROM. PC & MAC compatible

Multi list Plant Finder & Pruning Guide Encyclopaedia 3,500 plants 9,000 photographs CD-ROM.

PC & MAC compatible
3,500 UK garden plant selection
9,000 photographs to help plant identification and seasonal changes
Multi plant lists. Make multiple plant lists. Print lists with images and notes
Add individual notes to lists and print with images
Record Client’s individal plant list.
Reminder which plant to prune, when and advice.
Intended for Garden Designers, garden Design Students and Lanscapers wanting to make and print lists and notes for their staff and Clients.

All three Complete Gardens CD-ROm Titles are available in the RHS Wisley Shop or on the RHS website.

Produced by Complete Gardens CD-ROM Ltd.
Based in Oxford

01865 512561
www.complete-gardens.co.uk


Miniature Rose Pruning

July 17, 2008
Pruning miniature rose

Pruning miniature rose

 

Miniature roses need minimal pruning other than maintenance pruning.

Flowers are produced mainly on the current season’s growth, so our aim is to get a rose with healthy well-balanced new growth.

 

February – March. Cut out any weak and diseased wood.
Cut back strong stems to about 10 to 15 cm.

Any very vigorous shoots growing from the base can be removed completely.

 

June  and July, dead-head to encourage flower production.

 

 

Renewal / rejuvenation pruning.
February – March. Cut back 1/3 of old shoots almost to the base.

Repeat for rest of old shoots over next 2 or 3 years.

This method of removing old wood and encouraging new growth should gradually rejuvenate your rose and replace old unproductive wood with new healthy growth.

Extract taken from Complete garden plant advice and pruning guide CD-ROM


Scarlet Lily Beetle

July 10, 2008

Scarlet Lily Beetle

Scarlet Lily Beetle

It is an unfortunate twist that many pest are quite attractive and were they not pests they would be welcome and colourful additions to the life of the garden. The lily beetle is such a pest. It is bright red with a contrasting black head and if it were harmless would be a star performer in a line up of garden insects.

 

 

Scarlet Lily beetle larva Unfortunately the same cannot be said for its larval stage because though its grubs are an orange red they cover themselves with their own wet, black excrement.

The adults are 6-7mm long and the grubs 8-9mm long. Both do great damage to plants by eating flowers, leaves and seed pods.

Lily  Fritillaria Their main food sources are lilies and fritillaries and the adults will be seen from early spring onwards with the grubs appearing from midsummer.
To control the grubs you can pick them off and squash them. They are active over a long period which makes even chemical control a chore and not one hundred percent reliable.

Many garden chemicals have been withdrawn over the last few years and more are due to go, so for current suitable chemicals consult your garden centre.

Photography Neil Bromhall. Information taken from Complete Gardens CD-ROM.

Garden advice software


Great little Wormery. Turns kitchen waste into compost

July 10, 2008

Wormery kit I’ve had delivery of a Wormery with an army of Tiger worms. It’s great.

The kit is well designed and very easy to put together and get started.

Assembling a wormery:-

Setting up wormery  wormery bedding The bedding block is soaked in warm water and expands. The bedding is evenly distributed on the lower section.

Tiger worms for the wormery   The worms are placed on the bedding material and left to burrow in.

Tiger worm in wormery

Wormery. Tiger worms settle in  Once settled in, you can add your first waste, as the worms will start looking for food.

Some of the Tiger worms went walkabout but most have settled in and are munching away.

For convenience I keep my wormery close to the backdoor. It doesn’t give off any nasty odours.

Wormery treats  The kit comes with worm treats to keep the worms happy – Ah – very thoughtful. 

 

The nice things about a wormery:-

It’s a satisfying use of kitchen waste to make rich, clean weed-free compost for your garden plants.

Tiger worms eat kitchen waste that would otherwise attract rats

A wormery produces liquid fertiliser which you can feed to your plants though it needs to be diluted before putting around your plants

Kids and grown up love seeing what the worms are up to.

Not expensive, just a bit initial expensive buying the equipment which will last for years

Easy to set up

Rats can’t easily get into a wormery unlike a compost bin.

The wormery can be positioned at a convenient location near the back door. No bad odours

You reduce the amount of food waste going to landfill

Although smaller than a conventional compost bin used for garden waste, a wormery is good if you only have a small garden (as you can also add garden waste in the wormery – but in smaller quantities compared to a larger compost bin) and you’re limited on space.

 

For info call Wiggley Wigglers about Can-O-Worms

 

 

‘Yes’: items you can put in your wormery:

raw fruit (but not citrus) and vegetables

tea bags, coffee grounds and coffee filters

eggshells

plant remains (including cut flowers and house plants)

droppings from animals that eat plants (i.e. hamsters, rabbits, gerbil) and associated bedding

Horse & cow manure

egg boxes and cardboard e.g. cereal boxes and corrugated board (scrunched up) – avoid waxed cartons and sticky tape

paper – towels, napkins and bags (scrunched up)

Small amount of grass cuttings

weeds (annuals and perennials)

old flowers and bedding plants

Small quantities of young hedge clippings (Large amounts of leaves will heat up and kill the worms)

Small quanities of garden leaves (large quantities are best composted on their own in plastic sacks or wire mesh containers)

Old straw and hay

Woody prunings (small quantities)

Sawdust and wood shavings (small quantities).

Vacuum cleaner dust, hair, wool & cotton

 

‘No’: items which should not be put into a wormery:

Meat, fish and bones – although these can break down in the composter they can attract animals including rats or mice and they can also produce offensive smells as they break down

Citric Fruits (causes acidic conditions)

Large woody material such as branches, large prunings or pieces of processed wood

don’t add droppings from any meat eating animals (like cats or dogs) as these can pass on a number of diseases

Perennial weeds such as couch grass, ground elder, bindweed and oxalis – these might not die during composting and can re-sprout after the compost is harvested. To avoid this, put them in a black plastic bag and leave in the sun for several weeks – then chop them up and place them into the compost pile

Diseased plant material and plant seeds (not dead so the worms won’t eat them)

Poisonous plants such as oleander, hemlock and castor bean – these can harm soil life so only add these in small quantities – chop up ivy and succulents before composting, or they may sprout in the compost

Leaves from plants containing acids and resins toxic to other plants should only be used as mulch around the plants they came from – examples are eucalyptus, bay laurel, walnut, juniper, acacia, cypress and rhododendron

Nappies.