A breakfast briefing with Diarmuid Gavin was one of the high points of Glee 2016 for Nathan James Dodd, when the discussion focussed on how to attract young people into the gardening industry.
Until recently commercially produced organic weedkillers have been thin on the ground. We all know that organic gardening has increased in popularity over recent years, moving from the preserve of idealists into mainstream gardening.
We all know that organic gardening has increased in popularity over recent years, moving from the preserve of idealists into mainstream gardening.
There are certainly DIY weedkillers that can work. Vinegar for example, although it won't have much effect until you distil it, increasing the amount of acetic acid from 5% to about 20%. You then have a non-selective contact herbicide that will kill small sized annual weeds and perennial seedlings.
Rock salt can be used to dehydrate the leaves and roots of a plant but it's residual i.e. will remain in the soil and this isn't a good idea if used where you intend to plant in the future. So it's best on paths, block paving or similar only.
Reliance on the hoe and fork, mulch and old carpet has remained undiminished. There are products such as Weed Control Fabric that suppresses weed growth but allows water and nutrients to pass through and we are now beginning to see new products on the market from well known companies that can be classed as organic.
Until recently commercially produced organic weedkillers have been thin on the ground. Taking vinegar as their inspiration, there are non-selective biodegradable weedkillers that contain acetic acid while others are based on pelargonic acid that is non-toxic, breaks down readily in the soil and occurs naturally in geraniums, apples and grapes.
Bayer has introduced a 'Natria' range that includes a Super Fast Weedkiller that uses fatty acids to disrupt the cellular structure of the plant, causing them to dehydrate and die. It's ideal for eradicating annual weeds and can be used around vegetables.
With multi-national companies now entering the market with their financial and research muscle, there's no doubt that better and more effective 'natural' weedkillers will be introduced. Time will tell whether they are proven to be effective and if the organic market is large enough to sustain a large range of such products.
With Christmas rapidly approaching, our New Oscott Garden Centre has just taken delivery of that most seasonal of plants – the Poinsettia. These are David Hall's tips on to how to keep these beautiful plants at their colourful best.
Our garden centre has been part of the local community for over 60 years, so when one of our partners, David Coton, received a request to donate a Christmas tree to a nearby hospice, he had no hesitation in helping them out.
Many people believe that Christmas would not have the same festive feel without the scent of a 'real' Christmas tree. They're naturally fresh, giving off a lovely aroma, and here Martyn Loach gives advice on which ones to buy..
There's a huge selection of Premier Christmas Lights, and it's no wonder why they are market leaders judging by the variety and innovation that's on offer. This is Andy Taylor's guide to their range of top quality lights and decorations.