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Roger Brook


Latest posts by Roger Brook

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Whitefly on my mint plant

Posted: 19/10/2014 at 17:27

It does look like whitefly when you click on first picture on the shrub and I think I can see some more adults and young stationary scale-like nymphs on the mint. 

I am not a believer in seaweed for effective control and would be inclined to wait for the frost to kill them. Cutting back might help but will deprive you of your mint.

What is essential is not to take them into a greenhouse where it might infect other susceptible plants and cause problems for the future.

The whitefly will not seriously harm your mint at this time of year. Do cut it back in a few weeks time as whitefly has been known to overwinter outside in very mild winters

Overwintering cacti seedlings

Posted: 15/10/2014 at 12:12

Thanks soul boy for your explanation. I never avoid direct sunshine even for most - but not all -normal seedlings. I had better read your link belatedly! Thanks

Overwintering cacti seedlings

Posted: 15/10/2014 at 10:49

I don't understand about keeping them out of the light? Surely cacti, other than the Christmas cactus type, need as much light as possible especially at this time of the year when they are not quite dormant yet.

My own cacti are the more hardy types and are in a cold greenhouse with no artificial heat what so ever, but like soulboy I will cease watering completely for from about now for the next four months.

I am not sure whether such extreme drought is suitable for small seedlings which have less water reserves and would suggest that on complete drying out they are given a watering, perhaps every month or so overwinter.

As long as your greenhouse is capable of maintaining 2 or 3 degrees c on the very coldest nights I would forget about the heating pad.

Flowering currant hedge

Posted: 11/10/2014 at 16:43

I would not be too keen digging near cables!

If the rest of the hedge is ok, why not prune in such a way that the flowering currents on either side grow to fill the space.

You could have another go planting for free by sticking in some hardwood cuttings in the space, they root like weeds

unknown plant 2nd attempt

Posted: 09/10/2014 at 22:34

I am pretty sure it is lemon balm.

It looks if the tired top need cutting back but there looks to be some basal shoots that will give you the lovely lemon smell, perhaps even through the winter . It will make strong new growth in  Spring.

Its a bit of a thug but if there is a demand from the kitchen….

Transplanting raspberry bushes

Posted: 09/10/2014 at 22:25

Take a good spade full when you move them as you have existing plants.  New ones from a nurseryman will be much more flimsy!

The only reservation is that if they are very old  they might have virus and it would be better to buy fresh ones.

If your rasps are cropping well go ahead and move them.

An expert friend recently  said that although he knew he perhaps should not, he was transplanting as he was redesigning his garden. I know he will take strong plants.

Keeping wind off a windy allotment

Posted: 11/05/2014 at 07:36

You have got lucky with the excellent advice above, Gardener 164. ( I wonder who the other 163 are?)

Although a permeable artificial windbreak might be best I would not trust myself to construct it well enough to stand Beachy Head!

I like the suggestions for hedges including sea buckthorn - but don't let it run!

I wonder about escallonia as a nice hedge. The difficulty in suggesting plants is to know ones that grow well on your site and my suggestion is a little frost tender. It sometimes helps to walk around and find out what plants grow well in your area.

Removing Horsetail

Posted: 21/04/2014 at 22:45

It's all been said, it is a very difficult weed. I have successfully controlled it with glyphosate but it has taken three years and that has been tackling intact plantings (rather than chopped up pieces that grow erratically) and starting with large horsetails with lots of receptive leaves. Their are lots of wrinkles to enhance absorption of glyphosate as other comments indicate. It is impossible  to eliminate if it is growing amongst established herbaceous plants. Under a higher canopy of shrubs it will still take three or more years but at least you can enjoy the shrubs.

On allotments some gardeners just regularly hoe it and think of all those lovely nutrients the horsetail is mining from seven foot down. It will keep coming from the roots but the hoed off tops will not grow!

I wonder if the lawn is mown often enough that you can live with this dreadful weed.

Add Ash to Soil ??

Posted: 26/03/2014 at 14:37

Of course you can use it after it has burnt, what is the world coming to when people imagine a burnt fence will be toxic! Mind you the ashes will be next to useless as timber has very little nutrient content as compared to for example burning smaller branches and twigs.

I burn quite a few fires and extinguish them with water not letting the the fire 'burn through'. That way I get lovely black charcoal which will improve the physical structure of the soil- as well as retaining the potash and lime that wood ash contains. Google biochar to find out more

The Mystery of NPK

Posted: 15/03/2014 at 17:28

I used to collect seaweed down on the beach at Seaton Carew when I was a kid sixty years ago. Excellent stuff.

Calcified sea weed is a superb product but It's not right to scrape up the ocean floor causing untold damage just for the garden!

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