BGs’ meeting on 7 February – Ray Broughton’s talk on pest and disease-free plants

Ray Broughton

The Beech Gardeners welcomed Ray who told us this was his 2000th talk – quite an achievement.  He started by telling us that the use of milk, salt and vinegar is banned in the EU.

He had some useful tips for us:-

1   Don’t overcrowd seeds and to help see dark seeds on dark compost dust them with cornflour.

2   If you sow them too thickly rub a pen to cause static and the seeds will stick to the pen.

3   Seedlings tend to get leggy, which makes them prone to disease, this is usually caused by lack of carbon dioxide, to prevent it fill a tub with FRESH lumpy manure, cover with cling film and tie it down, place several in the green house.

4   A more accurate way to measure the temperature than a max/min thermometer  is to fill a glass jar with water, cover the jar with foil, make a hole in a cork lid and fit a medical thermometer with the bulb in the water.

5   Onion root rot – plant Alyssum in pots near the onions and when it turns black remove it and replace.

6   White fly – Marigolds, or tagetes, attract them but it is the smell of the DEAD flowers they love – grow with tomatoes and scatter some of the dead heads in the greenhouse.

There is a tiny wasp predator for whitefly, only useful in a green house.

7   Some pots have inset holes which helps to NOT drown plants.

8   Tomato ketchup is good for cleaning tools, particularly secateurs and hedge trimmers, soak them for 3 days. Then oil with sewing machine oil, or WD40 but never engine oil.

9   Aphids – 2-spotted ladybirds are best for aphids, Harlequin ladybirds are not as bad as their press – their lava eat aphids.  Ordinary ladybirds bite the aphids heads and suck up their liquid.

You can get a fungus that grows on aphids, which suffocates them.

There is a new blackfly that lays eggs in aphids

10  Red spider mites only go red in August when they are ready to mate. The predator spears the mite to kill it.

11  Nematodes have a bacteria in their jaws that kill vine weevils. Always use warm water with nematodes.

12  Pea moth – the female lands on the leaves of peas and waits several days before the flowers are just right for her to lay her eggs, so peas are being developed with little or no leaf.  There is enough green in the stems and tendrils for photosynthesis, so the leaves can be picked off.

White flowered runner beans are better than red ones, particularly in a hot summer.

13  Slugs – to prevent them in potatoes put them 1″ deep in a bed of ORGANIC BARLEY STRAW.  Water the straw once a week with Tomatorite and they will come out clean and free of slug or eelworm holes.

14  Try growing leeks in 2” water pipes cut to 6” lengths.

15  To make a general feed – collect nettles in May & chop them up. Put circle of fleece in the bottom of a 10” pot, cover with a layer of aquatic stones, then nettles, layer of vermiculite with fleece on top. Water it for 2 days, collecting the liquid, this should be diluted 20:1 and can be used all summer.

16  “Smart seeds” are now being produced with 3 layers, nutrient, water and germination enhancer.

17  Pruning hedges – between 22 July and 23 August they will produce MUCH less regrowth than pruned at other times of the year.

18  Use SB Plant invigorator to give the plants the strength to protect themselves against all bugs.

19  Yellow Spanish Broom can be strimmed gently all over twice a year which will make it flower a second time.

20  Mice – hate the smell of MALT vinegar

21  Geranium Castriamcay is resistant to mildew but deer will eat it.

22  Water lily beetle – the pure white N. American water lily is resistant

Plants that are unattractive to DEER. 
Fabiana, flowers in March, slugs also hate it.
Echium waterii is totally hardy,
Bellis and Fore runner blue pansy.
Most grey or variegated plants.
Geranium Lancastriatum
Variegated ground elder, doesn’t have the genes to make rhizomes also a good plant for shade.
Phlomus Italian, likes hot dry sunny position.
Convolvulous Simosa for south facing areas.
Carex Siderosiiches has yellowy green striped leaves.
Cordeline – purple. 
Mother beech hedge, is less attractive to Deer. 
Butchers Broom (from Israel) survives any conditions and neglect. It is prickly, and only the female has red berries.
Vinca mimor is much better than vinca major.
Sea Holly.
Osteospermum is somewhat deer resistant.
Ponticum Rhododendron in a pot

Plants for Bees.  
Cornflower is the best also Gazania the S African daisy

How to make a nutribore.
Put 2 out sections of kitchen towel, in the middle put vermiculite then Q4 granules (50% organic) or Maxi crop granules (100% organic) make a parcel with elastic bands, and bury at the base of a hedge, it will all break down and release its contents slowly over 2 years.  Its very important to feed hedges.

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