This week 3 Nov 2006

  • If you are planting hostas, try laying a circle of sand, sawdust or crushed egg shells around each plant. Slimy slugs and snails don’t like crawling over gritty material so it delays their forays for fresh foliage.
  • Slug bait is not pleasant material for the birds or for dogs. If you don’t like using it, you can try cheap bran flakes instead. Spread it liberally around plants which are getting attacked. Slugs and snails appear to find it irresistible and they can’t stop eating it. It doesn’t kill them but they lie there in an over stuffed and comatose state and the birds will pick them up in the morning and not be poisoned.
  • Early flowering narcissus can be trimmed or mown now. Apparently as long as they have had 65 days of growth, you can trim the leaves off. This gem came from a visiting commercial grower. Cutting off the leaves and laying mulch deters the dreaded narcissi fly which is starting to hatch now. These nasties lay their eggs in the crown and the larvae hatch and eat out the bulbs.
  • As far as we can tell, spring has been exceptionally cold and late this year and climatically this weekend is the equivalent of Labour Weekend so it is still all go for planting out in the vegetable garden. If you failed to plant out your corn last weekend as instructed, you can take some pride in getting it right and getting on to it this weekend. Of course it is not that you missed the recommended time. You knew that this was a particularly cold season. But be prepared for it to warm up quickly now.
  • The vegetable garden rakeover is really important at this time of the season. Mark is determinedly grabbing quiet time to rake the vegetable garden as weed seeds are determinedly germinating after the recent rain. Remember the creed: “one year’s seeding, seven years weeding”. Raking now minimises the amount of hoeing needed later.
  • If you are tempted to buy trees and shrubs in this week of garden visiting and plant buying, plant them as soon as possible. Summer may come soon (we hope). Alternatively, heel them in to your vegetable garden or similar well cultivated soil for autumn planting in to their permanent spot.