The Society welcomed back Ray Broughton, who gave a talk on ‘Easier Gardening Techniques’. Ray has spent a lifetime in horticulture, he is ahead of Horticulture at Sparsholt and in 2000 was made a Fellow of the RHS. Ray informed members that this was his 2500th talk.
Ray’s tips are listed below:
He gave a helpful tip on coating medium-sized seeds with cornflour to make them visible and easier to sow.
The problem of leggy seedlings in the greenhouse is often due to lack of carbon dioxide. This can be remedied by putting fresh manure in a container, covering with cling film, secured around the edges and holes in the top. Wear gloves when handling manure.
Planting alyssum alongside growing vegetables and scattering marigold deadheads around will help combat vegetables being attacked by pests.
Time can be saved by cleaning secateurs and hedge trimmers with a good quality tomato sauce. Coat, leave for three days and the blade will be as good as new.
Purchasing two spot ladybirds is a good investment as they kill up to 200 per day.
The blister aphid attacks currant plants. There is a milk based product on the market (SB Plant Invigorator) which will address this but use it early.
Ray recommended planting potatoes 1 inch in the ground, covered with barley straw 18 inches deep will protect the potato from wireworm and slugs. Barley straw is sold as rabbit straw in pet shops. Barley straw tied in a bundle will also help clean a pond of algae.
The fungus that causes scab on potatoes, attacks the newly planted potatoes in 3 days so before planting, wrap the seed potato in a single sheet of newspaper. Use unwaxed newspaper such as the Sun or Mirror.
Hard wood cuttings can be grown in a Dutch roll. Take cuttings from the middle of the shrub as they grow better plants than cuttings from the top or bottom.
Ray also gave helpful tips on planting lettuces in a block to give a greater yield. Also growing gooseberry bushes against a fence to make them easier to pick.
After last summer hot weather most lawns suffered. Ray recommended putting an oscillating sprinkler on for 10 minutes every 4 days. This not only saves water but is more effective. To help keep moss at bay, Ray recommended using lawn seeds without rye seeds.
Ray recommended using watering can with a long spout and medium head as it is more effective and than a short spout.
Plant White flowered runner beans rather than red as they have a higher pollination of 100% compared to red flowering beans. Smart seeds give instant germination, 98% successful.
Soluble plant food is absorbed the same day whereas granules can take 10 days.
Rust on pears – collect leaves and use a fatty acid winter wash such as Vitax.
Everyone who attended went away with some tips on how to make gardening easier.