- CHRISTMAS CACTUS
- PHALAENOPSIS ORCHID
- PAPERWHITE NARCISSUS
Do I need to clean my pruning shears? How do I prevent rust and bacteria from developing on my secateurs?
From cutting away branches and pruning shrubs to gently snipping a beautiful flower to display in a vase, your shears can be one of the most important tools in your garden.
The one thing you don’t want is to spread harmful diseases, eggs and bacteria from plant to plant.
The blades of your shears can easily start to rust, become dirty, become sticky with sap and develop bacteria that can infect your healthy plants, however this can be prevented with these simple and helpful tips.
Use a stiff brush with a bucket of warm soapy water. Washing-up liquid works best, it is easy to rinse off and doesn’t leave a harsh chemical residue on the blades.
Use steel wool If the blades have started to rust. Sandpaper can be used as well.
After washing and rinsing, soak your shears for a few minutes in a pail of water mixed with a spoonful of bleach to destroy bacteria, eggs and other harmful organisms on your blades.
After soaking, dry them well with a cloth or air dry them.
Once they are dried, spray lubricating oil on them to prevent them from rusting.
Make sure to keep your shears hung and out of the elements when not in use.
Follow these simple steps and you will find this valuable garden tool will provide you with many, many years of quality service.
Not all vegetables take from spring from fall to mature. If you’re getting a late start on your home garden or live in a region with a short growing season, fear not, there are many healthy, delicious vegetables that are quick to harvest.
Here are the 9 fastest growing vegetables to get your garden jumpstarted.
Garden Cress – 14 Days Ready to harvest in as little as 2-weeks, garden cress can be planted in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Also a garden space-saver, a small (1 or 2 feet square) patch of cress will supply you with an abundance of this tangy herb.
Radishes – 21 Days A cool season crop, spring radishes grow best in 50⁰F to 65⁰F weather. Once sown, you’ll see leafy green shoots above the soil in just three or four days. Keep planting seeds every week or two for a constant harvest through spring and autumn.
Green-Onions – 21 Days Also called scallions, green-onions are quick-growing plants that can be cut back to their base again and again throughout the season. Once their green shoots reach a height of 6-inches, they are ready for the first round of harvesting.
Tatsoi – 25 Days A low-growing mustard green, tatsoi is a wonderful addition to salads and soups. Baby tatsoi leaves can be harvested when they reach 4-inches in length, or you can wait the full 40-days for tatsoi to mature to full size.
Lettuce – 30 Days Another cool-weather vegetable that prefers temperatures between 60⁰F and 70⁰F, lettuce seeds should be sown in early spring and late-summer. Of the five types of lettuce – loose-leaf, cos, crisphead, butterhead, and stem. leaf lettuce varieties like green leaf and red leaf are among the easiest to cultivate and are more tolerant of hot weather. Planting new seeds every 14-days will provide a continuous harvest.
Spinach – 30 Days Able to survive in temperatures as low as 15⁰F, spinach is a cold hardy-vegetable that can be planted as soon as the ground-thaws. Pluck outer spinach leaves from the plant as it grows or re-sow seeds every 2-weeks for successive harvests. Don’t wait too long to gather spinach because its leaves will become bitter once the plant reaches maturity.
Arugula – 30 Days Since arugula seeds germinate well in cooler-soil, they can be planted as soon as the garden bed can be worked after the spring thaw. Sow seeds every two to three weeks for continuous-harvesting.
Kale – 30 Days A “cut-and-come-again” plant, kale’s young and tender leaves can be culled continually throughout the growing-season once the plant is about 2-inches tall. Avoid picking the central bud, since this keeps kale growing and productive.
Swiss-Chard – 45 Days A member of the beet family, Swiss-chard can be harvested throughout the season by cutting-off the outer leaves when they are about 3-inches long and are still young and tender. In addition to using the fresh-leaves in salads, you can cut Swiss-chard stems from the leaf and cook them like you would asparagus.
Naturalist Anneka Svenska investigates her local wild floral in rural Kent and also discovers a multitude of amazing badger sets in the process.
Some plants are high maintenance and even though they may be beautiful, they are not always worth the time and money you may need to spend on them.
There are many great plant choices for a low maintenance garden or patio.
Try to avoid plants which require stakes, netting, support strings, etc. Delphiniums are just one example of these high maintenance plants.
Hostas are just one of the many plants that rabbits and slugs love. Try to find plants that don’t taste delicious to pests and you will save yourself time and headache. Send us a message if you’d like advice on pest free plants.
Plants that climb can become very burdensome. Vine plants like ivy cling to walls and if not controlled, will take over walls, fences and other plants. Also clinging plants may need support which means lots of tying.
Shrubs, Daphne, Lavender, Holly and Euonymus are great choices for low maintenance plants and they alternate their colours throughout the seasons making your garden area beautiful and ever changing. You can also keep them in pots to easily transfer them inside when you like.
You can save yourself time and headache with a watering system. Whether you choose a top of the line automated system or a simple leaky hose setup which lets the water seep out along your plant beds you will find your plants are happy and you are happy.
Pergolas, arbours, arches, statues and fences can be relatively simple to install and may not be as expensive as you think. They can liven up a garden or patio dramatically and may even be used to block unsightly views like breaker boxes. They have the added bonus of not requiring extra maintenance on your part.
Have a bad back? Use long tables with potted plants or have raised beds for easy, bendless gardening.
Of course if you’re looking for one of the easiest and quickest ways to spruce up your garden you should consider getting plants that are already potted. Pick them up from your local garden centre, place in your garden, job done!
When you’re ready to update your garden, give us a call or send us a message, We’ll be glad to help.
That’s a great question. According to gardenorganic.org.uk, some diseased plants can be added to your compost, however, plant materials suffering from soil-borne diseases such as clubroot and white rot should not be added to a compost heap.
Anything else can be safely composted in a hot heap. Diseases that don’t need living matter to survive, such as grey mould, mildews, and wilts, may survive in a cold heap.
But heat is not the only factor that will kill diseases: the intense microbial activity in a compost heap also helps to dispose of them. Some diseases, such as tomato and potato blight need living plant tissue to survive and will not last long without it. It is fine to add foliage suffering from these diseases to your hot or cold compost heap. If in doubt, leave it out. Problem materials can be sent to your local council green waste recycling facility where the composting methods are hot enough to kill any problem organisms.
that don’t need living plants to survive – grey mould, mildews, wilts – may survive in a slow, cool heap. But heat is not the only factor that will kill diseases – the intense microbial activity will also help to dispose of them.
Have a gardening question? CONTACT US
Image courtesy of gardenseason.com
Conifers are a tree that bears cones and evergreen needlelike or scalelike leaves. If you have conifer trees you may have to worry about Adelgids, which are are aphid-like insects that suck the sap from conifers.
Adelgids can cause distortion of shoots, affecting the appearance of trees. Yellow, winged adults leave galls in late summer and lay eggs on host plants. The nymphs soon hatch and overwinter close to buds. In spring these nymphs feed on plant sap but do not cause galls, maturing into light green wingless females. These females lay eggs covered in white waxy threads. The nymphs hatching from these eggs induce the galls when they feed at the base of needles. The galls contain numerous chambers within which groups of pale orange nymphs develop.
Adelgids only lay eggs, and never give birth to live nymphs as aphids do. Adelgids are covered with dense woolly wax. A complete adelgid life cycle lasts two years.
Adelgid nymphs are known as sistentes, and the overwintering sistentes are called neosistens.
Rain can kill adelgids by dislodging eggs and sistentes from trees.
So now that you know a bit more about adelgids, let’s discuss the reason why you’re probably reading this:
How do I get rid of adelgids?
The damage adelgids cause is often minor and can usually be tolerated, however, if you wish to remove adelgids from your plants, here are a few suggestions.
Adelgids can be difficult to kill with insecticides as they’re protected by waxy secretions. In addition it’s only feasible to treat adelgids on trees that are small enough to be sprayed thoroughly. It’s quite difficult to deal with infestations on very tall trees.
The following insecticide information is from the RHS
- Organic sprays, such as natural pyrethrum (e.g. Bug Clear Gun for Fruit & Veg, Defenders Bug Killer, Ecofective Bug Killer (also contains fatty acids)), fatty acids (e.g. Solabiol Bug Free, Doff Greenfly & Blackfly Killer) or plant oils (e.g. Vitax Organic Pest & Disease Control, Origins Bug Control) can give some control of adelgids. These pesticides have a very short persistence and so may require reapplication to keep adelgid numbers in check
- More persistent insecticides include the synthetic pyrethroids lambda-cyhalothrin (e.g. Westland Resolva Pest Killer), deltamethrin (e.g. Ultimate Fruit & Vegetable Pest Killer) and cypermethrin (e.g. Py Bug Killer)
- The systemic neonicotinoid insecticide acetamiprid (e.g. Bug Clear Ultra) can also be used
The College of Agriculture, Food and Environment offers some clever ideas for controlling and eliminating adelgids including:
Spraying foliage with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil at the proper times during the HWA life cycle.
Using a systemic insecticide that moves with the tree sap and is consumed by the adelgids as they feed.
There are three main methods for introducing insecticides including trunk injection. soil injection and soil drenching.
Have a landscaping question? CONTACT US