Monthly Archives: January 2008

Talk on Welsh Woodland at the Centre for Alternative Technology

Richie Tassle from Coed Cymru will be giving an evening talk on the history of Welsh woodland at CAT on the 6th February. Come to the Straw Bale Theatre at 5.45. Admission £2.

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New Biological Pest Control

Following on from the blog below Garden News reported today that there are two new methods of biological pest control available to gardeners. One for dealing with codling moth and another for cabbage white butterflies. These will help organic gardeners looking for an alternative to Derris, which is to be banned. Biological controls are usually parasitic organisms that kill their specific host and nothing else, thus making them much more acceptable to organic gardeners. Pesticides are less useful because they do not discriminate between pest and predator, killing the predators that would naturally feed on the pests and quite often giving the pest the advantage. Find out more at www.just-green.com.

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RHS Top Ten Pests 2007

Each year thousands of people phone the RHS for advice about pest control. All the enquiries are recorded to compile a list of the nations favourite (if that’s the write word) pests. The list for 2007 was announced yesterday. Here it is: 1. Slugs and snails 2. Harlequin ladybird 3. Vine weevil =4. Cushion scale =4. Ants 6. Rosemary beetle 7. Berberis sawfly 8. Rabbits 9. Lily Beetle 10. Cypress aphid. To find out what all these pests are and how to control them visit www.rhs.org.uk and have a look at my books The Little Book of Slugs and The Little Book of Garden Villains. Both available from www.cat.org.uk/shopping. Click on the Bookshop area of the site.

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Noah’s Gardening

suc50916.jpgDuring a break in the rains last week I nipped out to take this shot of my garden, the roof tops and the floods beyond (normally this valley is pasture). At the front of the picture you can see my work in progress. It’s a tiny plot I’m working on (about 3.5m by 5m) but progress is slow because of big landscaping, rubble and access issues. Even to get this far I’ve had to demolish an old chicken shed, lift two trees, take down and move two compost heaps, build another and pick axe endless amounts of rubble out of the ground. This is hard work but its what transformational gardening is all about. Creating beautiful space out of failing landscapes.  Follow my story in Garden News magazine once every fortnight with additions on the blog and I’ll show you how to create beautiful garden spaces in a way which will help to prevent floods like the one you see here getting worse! 

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Green manures get research boost

Garden Organic – www.gardenorganic.org.uk – have completed another positive study on green manures – this time for the government agency responsible for agriculture – DEFRA. Green manures put nitrogen back into the soil if planted as part of normal crop rotations. The new study found that growing grazing rye over the winter reduced leaching of nitrogen by 97 per cent compared to leaving the soil bare. This is good news because it will reduce our reliance on synthetic nitrogen fertilisers, which are both bad for the environment and getting more expensive because of oil price rises. They have gone up by 15 per cent in the last three years. Although the study was on agricultural field trial level it is still relevant to gardeners, as we too want to keep as much nitrogen as possible in our soil.

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RSPB Garden Birdwatch

Remember to spend an hour counting the birds in your garden this weekend so you can take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. Register your results at www.rspb.org.uk. It’s a great excuse to just sit and do nothing but enjoy the birds. Count the maximum number of birds of each species you see at any one time. You’re not looking for anything particularly unusual; the RSPB want numbers of all birds – common or not. I saw robin, great and blue tit, blackbird, wren and nuthatch. It all helps to keep the RSPB informed about what’s happening with the nations’ birds. 

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Martin Fish and his home made compost bin

Making your own compost bin really is easy so don’t think you necessarily have to buy an expensive one to get started. Here Garden News writer Martin Fish shows off his bin made from recycled pallets. Looks good to me.

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