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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Top Tips For Reducing #Pest and Diseases and encoraging #benificial Predators this March

Thank you Corrine we were plied with a wealth of brilliant information. It was an informative Pest and Disease Workshop.

Now is certainly the time to act. Catch problems early so they don't multiply. Problems with weeds lead to problems with pests, they weaken and damage the plant leading to disease. Its a little more complex but basically it tells us to act immediately to prevent problem escalating.

Insect Hotels benificial predators
An Insect Hotel For Beneficial Predators

Weeds are emerging now. Groundsel I have discovered is my most hated as this encourages the spread of rust, so we must eradicate it quickly. Weed and if you have to spay off broad leaved weeds then do carefully. Remember check the active ingredient the harvest interval varies and this is very relevant with veg and fruit growers. Some edible plants are safe to eat the next day and some require a weeks rest. All chemicals whether they be herbicide, fungicide to insecticide work differently.

Vine Weavel.Many creepy crawlies are hatching larvae at we approach spring. Catch it quick before it does damage. Check your heucheras for the dreaded Vine Weavel. If you find the maggot like pest make sure you kill all the grubs. They have probably dug well into the root.  Nematodes and chemicals are available.Apparently they can't swim so a boundary or standing plants in a dish of water always stops them.

Slugs are our worst enemy. Remember they like moisture. They will be out now  chewing things as they emerge. They dislike crunchy ground so we have old remedies like crushed egg shells and modern ones like bark chippings. I am not sure how successfully they are.It certainly will not be as lovely for slimeing along. Beer traps that is dishes with a bit of beer in attract them and they drown but they also kill beetles and we like them. Copper bands are handy, they don't like to cross the copper. You can also choose to plant in pots so they have a climb and put a ring or collar of copper tape or one of the slimy greasy solutions around the rim. I have notice large plant growers coat the leaves of plants with calcium this perhaps reduces their juicy flavour.
  If you are not going out with a torch at night or investing in chickens or try any of the above there's pellets. The best advice was only sprinkle a few pellets in the danger spots and kill the local slugs do not sprinkle them like talk every where as the also attract slugs from elsewhere to them. We also have concentrated garlic to prevent them, if you have the time to boil some up. Garlic Wash recipe >>  Similarly on the subject of natural remedies we have 1 park to 10 milk to prevent powdery mildew.

Aphids can have a soapy squirt or a blast with a hose pipe, which will destroy their moth parts so they can do no more damage. Basically get them off the plant.There are  lots of sprays. They suck the sap of the plant and this excreted sweet honey dew will build up a damaging fungle growth. Seen sometimes as black mould. Encourage lacewings, ladybirds and predators that will eat them. Watch out for the ants farming them in huge colonies. They appear like a grey down covering the stem, horrid.
Black Spot.Get some bagged rotted manure under your roses to suppress any of the fungal black spot in the ground in old foliage. The rich feed will also give them a healthy boost as they are invigorated to grow. Healthy plants are always less susceptible to problem just as were stronger when we are healthy. The perfect gardener would have been spraying every 2 weeks since boxing day, oh dear!Do cut off ant black stems if you spot them, there not good.

Insect Hotels

Attract Beneficial Predators
One of the very best things anyone can do for their garden is to encourage natural predators as I have mentioned. Ladybirds, lacewings and even wasps eat aphids and they have to be doing a good job if you consider how fast aphids actually reproduce and that in the warmer months they are all female reproduce from their own body without a male. My chickens are brilliant with slugs but unfortunately they can dig things up that much prefer being planted in the ground. Water is very beneficial it encourages toads and frogs amongst other beneficial friends to the garden. Even if its a small area in a barrel perhaps planted with a water lilly it will help bring the predators that will reduces pest and diseases naturally. Hedgehogs are a fabulous natural predator to encourage into your garden and eat all the things you do not want. Its well worth creating a nice spot for them to hibernate or building a hedgehog house. Remember not to light your bonfire piles when they are hibernating, many make homes in wood piles waiting to be burnt.
Lastly the latest trend is insect hotels where you build log piles, stack cardboard canes and al sorts of simple everyday bits and bobs that provide habitat for beneficial bugs and this includes things like sweet little solitary bees and those wonderful bug munching hedgehogs.

Planting for Pollinators:Bees>>

Save the Bee in March ;Thing to plant>>

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