Gardening tips can make gardening easier, save you money and time as well as obtaining better results. You may like to cut out this article for future use.
Experienced gardeners, learning from each other, find methods that are an advantage in their gardening endeavours. Most of the following tips came originally from experienced gardeners given to me over the years.
First, you need to realise that there is a lot of misinformation bandied about, some of which is taken as gospel by novice gardeners, to their disadvantage.
Take, for instance, adding dishwashing liquid to a garden spray - it will help spread some types of sprays better over the foliage but it will also make the spray wash off faster in rain or overhead watering.
Dishwashing liquid added to water, on the other hand, is good for dry soils or mediums where water will not penetrate to break the surface tension.
Garlic sprays favoured by organic people do not kill insect pests. Garlic sprays will, however, disguise the natural smell of a plant, making it difficult for a pest to locate, if the pest is one which finds its host plant by smell. Problem is, the smell washes off with rain or wears off quickly, leaving the plants vulnerable.
Pyrethrum, which is often used with garlic sprays for the killing action, is a very good natural insecticide which is a quick kill for the insects it comes into contact with.
The problem is that pyrethrum is very quickly broken down by UV (sunlight) and may only be effective for a couple of hours when sprayed during the day (even on a cloudy day). If, on the other hand, you spray pyrethrum at dusk, it will remain effective till sunlight destroys its active ingredients the next day.
Copper sprays are a good protection against diseases such as blight, downy mildew, brown rot, curly leaf, bacterial diseases and citrus diseases. If you add a spraying oil to the copper spray it reduces the effectiveness of the copper, so you waste your time and money. You often hear advisers advocating mixing copper and oil together to save you time. If the two were truly compatible then someone would have introduced a product that already combined the two elements. The only reason to use a spraying oil is to smother scale insects in the winter/spring period. If you don't have scale why use the oil?
If you do have scale insects then do a separate oil spray when the copper protection is not needed. Copper sprays do not protect your plants from diseases such as black spot, powdery mildew, botrytis, rusts, leaf spots and leaf moulds. You need a liquid sulphur spray for these which will also control spider mites.
Use the right protection for each disease. Often copper is recommended for rust and black spot but it does not do much for the disease.
I had a call from a gardener years ago who told me that when she lived on the farm, she fed her roses cow manure and had wonderful, healthy roses that never needed spraying. When she moved to town and started to use water-soluble fertilisers and Nitrophoska, her roses started having trouble. To overcome these problems she was told to use Shield. The roses never improved. These chemical sprays and fertilisers harm the soil life and as a result affect the natural health of the roses or other plants.
The simple answer is to go back to the natural foods like animal manures, sheep pellets, Yates Dynamic lifter (chicken manure based) Bio Boost, blood and bone, etc, then watch your roses' health recover.
You may need to use some natural remedies in the meantime while the soil life and worm populations are allowed to build up again.
Herbicides used for weed killing also harm soil life but busy people that do not have the time to weed opt for these quick solutions. Environment-friendly weed killers such as Yates Greenscape are a better option.
If you opt to use the conventional chemical herbicides then you can offset the damage by adding either Thatch Busta or Mycorrcin to the spray. The weed killer will work better and the dying weeds will disappear faster as the products speed up the decay time and feed the soil life.
Raingard has been proven to increase the weed kill by about 50 per cent if added to the herbicide spray.
If you use glyphosate weed killers such as Roundup, and add Raingard plus Thatch Busta you can halve the amount of glyphosate used. Example, instead of 10ml of glyphosate use 5ml. In fact for many weeds you can come down as low as 2.5ml. The less chemical used the better off everything is.
Club root is a bad disease that affects brassicas (cabbages etc) by distorting the root system. It is a soil-borne disease that is often introduced into gardens with seedlings and plants grown in contaminated soil. Once you have it you have a problem growing cabbages, etc.
The control is Condy's crystals (potassium permanganate) A small amount of the crystals are dissolved in water with salt and then added to more water to drench the planting hole. Potassium permanganate is available from many garden centres and the jar has the recipe on the label.
A quarter of a teaspoon of Condy's crystals added to a litre of water is an excellent spray to control numerous diseases such as rust, rots and fungus diseases.
Baking soda is ideal to control powdery mildew and black spot. Use a tablespoon to a litre of water.
If possible only use warm water when mixing any sprays, as they mix into warm water better than into cold.
Problems? Phone me on 0800 466 464 or email email@example.com
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