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eileen
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Recent Entries to this Blog Why I love Holland so much.
Posted: 19 May 2006
All change.
Posted: 24 Sep 2007
The bit I enjoy.
Posted: 22 Sep 2007
Almost there now.
Posted: 21 Sep 2007
Starting from scratch.
Posted: 06 Sep 2007

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eileen's Blog




Vine weevils.

Category: Gardening tips. | Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:48 am

Many gardeners here in the UK are already beginning to find their plants under attack from these nasties so I thought I'd write a bit about them which may help you recognise the damage they do and how best to deal with them.

The grubs of the VW will attack the roots of almost any young plant in a container so beware!! They are especially fond of primulas and cyclamen for some reason. Plants in the soil are less at risk but are by no means safe from them.

How do you know you have a VW problem?

Your plants will be stunted and will quickly turn yellow and wilt. Unfortunately, at this stage it's usually too late to save them. For an advance warning that vine weevils are about, look for notches bitten out of the sides of leaves by the adult beetles.

What does a vine weevil look like?

The adult weevil is a dark, oval-shaped insect approximately half an inch in length with a blunt snout and long, distinct antennae. In North America, all of the adults are females so every insect has the ability to cause and infestation. Feeding occurs at night; the adults do not fly but instead need to crawl up plants. The larvae are off-white in color with dark heads and can also do extensive damage as they feed on plant roots.

When to look out for them.

The adult weevils emerge from the soil in late May or early June through to mid-July. These adults feed for 4-5 weeks in order to produce the 300+ eggs that are dropped into the ground under the plant. The eggs hatch within 2 weeks and the larvae then tunnel into the soil where they feed on plant roots. They then tunnel deeper into the soil to protect themselves from frost and pupate in the spring.

Understanding the lifecycle and feeding practices of the weevil is the key to keeping the pest under control. Since adult weevils feed on leaves during the night and look for dark, moist spots during the day to rest, trapping them in these areas can be quite effective.

Some tips on how to control vine weevils.

Simply place a white drop cloth under your plant in the evening or early morning and shake the leaves this will help to catch many of the adults.

During the day, place a board under the plant. Check the board for hiding adults and scrape them off into a bucket of soapy water.

The eggs and larvae of the black vine weevil require moisture to survive. If your plants are heavily mulched, pull back this mulch to allow the surface of the soil to dry out and do not water plants unless necessary.

Using Nematodes to conttrol vine weevils.

Rather than attacking the adults, beneficial nematodes go after the larvae in the soil and are a safe and natural method of controlling vine weevils. Follow the instructions to the letter and you should find they really help to reduce or eradicate the weevils from your garden.

Simply type 'Nemasys Vine Weevil Killer' into your search engine to find suppliers.



This blog entry has been viewed 2464 times


Soapy fingernails.

Category: Gardening tips. | Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:43 am

If you are, like me, one of those gardeners who doesn't like to wear gloves when gardening then you'll be able to relate to, what I call, 'grubby nail syndrome'.

After a day in the garden I can spend an eternity scrubbing the embedded soil from deep under my nails. However, nowadays what I do is: - before going out into the garden I run my nails firmly over the surface of a cheap bar of soap. When I come in to wash my hands at the end of the day the soap under my nails is easily removed and along with it all the dirt!!!



This blog entry has been viewed 834 times


Another use for egg boxes.

Category: Gardening tips. | Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:35 am

As you are no doubt aware ladybirds are one of the most useful predatory insects you can have in your garden. They'll happily feed for hours on those troublesome aphids.

To ensure that ladybirds will be resident in your garden from early spring you'll need to provide them with a safe haven in which they can overwinter.

The best 'ladybird hotel' is an old egg box, opened out and pushed, upside down, into a hedge, under a shed or somewhere else that it will be relatively dry and undisturbed through the winter months. The ladybirds will find the egg compartments warm, dry and safe as a refuge from predators.

This blog entry has been viewed 1050 times


Rose mildew recipe.

Category: Gardening tips. | Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:27 am

Mix 1 tablespoonful of baking powder with 1/4 of a pint of milk and add a teaspoonful of cooking oil. Stir well and pour into a hand sprayer.
Liberally coat both sides of the leaves of any affected roses.
The baking powder and the milk are the affective ingredients and the oil helps the mixture stick to the leaves.

This has worked for me on many occassions and it's totally organic!!

This blog entry has been viewed 1558 times


Green tomatoes.

Category: Gardening tips. | Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:23 am

All those green stains on your hands after removong side shoots from your tomato plants can be hard to remove. Here's an easy way of getting rid of them:

Before washing you hands with soap cut a green tomato in half. Vigorously rub the cut sides of the tomato over the stains. Now wash your hands in the normal way. The very plant that caused the problem has cured it too!!!





This blog entry has been viewed 512 times


Carrier bags.

Category: Gardening tips. | Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:15 am

Apart from their use of transporting cowpats plastic carriers can be used to save water too!!

Large terracotta post may look wonderful on the patio but, because the clay is porous, they tend to dry out rather quickly. Simply line your pots with carrier bags before putting in your compost. Ensure that the plastic is hidden under the soil before planting. Water loss from the pots will be considerably reduced.

This blog entry has been viewed 506 times


Broom handles.

Category: Gardening tips. | Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:08 am

No more wobbly lines of veggies for me!!

I have a very easy way of making a perfectly straight drill by using a 1" diameter broom handle.

First though you must remember to prepare the soil to a level surface, firm with your feet and finish by lightly raking the top 1" of soil to loosen it.
Gently lay your broom handle on to the soil and press down to the required depth. When you remove it you have the perfect seed drill!!!

This blog entry has been viewed 583 times


Cowpats.

Category: Gardening tips. | Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 1:01 am

If you happen to live in the countryside with dairy herds or beef stock cattle in the surrounding fields then here's what you do:

Secrete about your person a carrier bag - Farmfoods have nice strong ones. LOL Take a walk one week-end when the weather has been warm and dry for a while and walk to the fields where all those cows are grazing. Ensure that there isn't a bull in the field before nipping over the fence though.
Be on the lookout for some completely dry cowpats, about the size of dinner plates, as they are the ideal size for 14" hanging baskets or flower tubs. Pop the pats into you carrier bag and return home with them. Crumble the pats into your compost and mix in before adding your plants. Wear gloves, of course, while doing this but amazingly there's no smell!!
You'll be the envy of your friends and neighbours as your annuals will look better, and last longer, than theirs.





This blog entry has been viewed 570 times


Babies dummies and bottle tops.

Category: Gardening tips. | Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 4:21 pm

No, no I'm not asking you to have a baby just to help your garden along honestly!!!
However, you're bound to know of someone who has a new infant. A daughter, grandaughter, neighbour or friend or even a local mother and toddler group you could asK for help?
Collect as many old dummies and teats from feeding bottles as you can manage. Cut off the 'nipple' - they fit perfectly on to the tops of garden canes and will save you poking yourself in the eye when you bend down to weed.

This blog entry has been viewed 626 times


Ferret droppings.

Category: Gardening tips. | Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 3:59 pm

Now, as you know, there are very few garden pests that cause quite as much destruction and devastation to a well-kept lawn or border than the mole.

**Please, don't even consider killing him, as that is barbaric. After all he is just going about doing his normal daily business and doesn't realise the harm he's causing.

Did you know that the natural preditor of the mole is in fact the badger - bet you didn't! !!!
Now as it is notoriously difficult to lay your hands on badger poo I've come up with an easier solution. Now a ferret, is luckily, a close relative of the badger (boy am I full of amazing facts today LOL) and poor, old Mr. Mole can't tell the difference between one poo and the other. Members of your local ferret association are only too happy to part with the stuff!! Once you've got your smelly bagful mix it in an old container with a little water to make a paste.

**It's advisable to wear a face mask unless you have a strong stomoch while doing this.

Dig out the molehills and paint the ferret-poo paste around the rim of the entrance holes. Alternatively you could just pop a mound of it down into the hole itself. The wind will take the ferret smell down into the network of tunnels. Mr Mole ambles along, stops, sniffs, gets a whiff, thinks OMG BADGER...... and scarpers!!!!!! Hopefully never to darken your garden gate again.

This blog entry has been viewed 1664 times




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