Joe Maiden writes for Gardenworld

We are delighted to have Joe Maiden, lifetime horticulturist, garden writer, broadcaster, journalist, Chairman of the West Yorkshire branch of the National Vegetable Society, President of Adel Horticultural Society, President of the British Isle Rose Society, life member of the Leeds Horticultural Society and garden consultant writing for our website.

 

Joe has been using wool fibre sheep pellets for about 30 years. These pellets are now of course sold by Vitax under the name of Slug Gone, but Joe explained that the pellets have gone through several changes of name starting with Dags, and progressing to Dalesman, Blooming Marvellous, Sheepit, and finally Slug Gone.

Joe has found this product to be invaluable to him, using it on flowers, fruit, vegetables and cut flowers with great success.  Slug Gone is mainly known as a slug and snail repellent, but Joe has unique ways of using it, for instance as a total organic long-lasting feed for things like hanging baskets and all his exhibition vegetables, as well as being a good repellent against the dreaded slugs and snails. He says he wouldn’t be without this product.

Joe has also been known to use Slug Gone as a liquid feed by putting one 10 litre tub of the pellets into a hessian sack and dunking it for three weeks in about 25 gallons of water in a dolly tub or dustbin. One jamjar full of this concentrated liquid to two gallons of water makes a very cheap and tremendous liquid feed for use in the summertime.  When finished with the sackfull, he takes the remnants out of the sack and throws them around the garden for slug control.

 

We’re so pleased to hear that Joe is such a devoted fan of Slug Gone, and in particular to find that he uses it for its naturally occurring slow release nutrients just as much as its slug and snail repellent properties. We can also add that it helps to improve moisture retention, is suitable for organic gardens, and is safe to use around children and pets – a truly multipurpose product.

Fleas, bedbugs, ants & flies?

At this time of year there may be crawling insects and pests in a spare room, shed or garage which need eradicating. This can easily be done with a Nippon Pest Smoke, an effective smoke generator which kills a wide range of flying and crawling insects such as houseflies, mosquitoes, wasps, moths, fleas, bedbugs, ants and cockroaches.

 

Odourless and easy to use, simply activate and leave the room for two hours, or for the best results fumigate in the late afternoon and leave the room closed overnight. For severe infestations it may be necessary to fumigate three times at 5 to 7 day intervals. Nippon Pest Smokes retail at about £8.99 for a pack of two smokes.

 

The smokes can be used in domestic situations, public hygiene areas, industrial and municipal buildings, pet shops, kennels and veterinary practices.

 

Contains permethrin

Riverside Garden Centre

Riverside Garden Centre in Bristol have an organic approach to all things gardening, and are currently promoting a novel and unique “Hug a Slug” scheme! They don’t sell metaldehyde slug pellets, but prefer organic products like Vitax Slug Rid pellets which are based on ferric phosphate, and therefore don’t pose a risk to children and pets when used as directed.

Slug Gone is a very popular product at Riverside, where they are seeing a massive increase in sales this year with customers returning for larger pack sizes.

Compost Awareness Week

Compost Awareness Week is an ideal time to start using Vitax Compost Maker, a specially formulated compost accelerator. Vitax Compost Maker contains organic nutrients which might otherwise degrade very slowly. It speeds up the breakdown of organic garden and kitchen waste, and can be used to recycle grass cuttings, leaves, egg shells, shredded woody materials etc.

While open heaps will compost successfully, Vitax Compost Maker works best if the heap is kept warm and moist by covering the top with a polythene sheet. In summer the decomposition process may take as little as 6 weeks. With tougher plant material or in winter, the process may take 6 months or more.

 

Compost Maker is available in 2.5kg cartons and 10kg tubs.

Weedy, mossy lawns

Do you have a large lawn with weeds and moss, but find that the smaller size of our Green Up products aren’t enough to treat it? Then we have the product for you – Green Up Feed & Weed plus Mosskiller in a 25kg bag which will treat up to 400 sq.m. http://www.vitax.co.uk/home-garden/green-up-granular-feed-weed-plus-mosskiller/  However, we are aware that the 25kg size isn’t stocked by all garden centres, so you may be interested to know that you can buy it online from http://www.ironmongeryonline.com/vitax-green-up-granular-feed-weed-plus-mosskiller-25kg where they currently have it on offer at a special price of £48.50.

 

Green Up Feed & Weed plus Mosskiller is a triple action product which will control common lawn weeds and eradicate moss, at the same time as feeding the lawn to give a lush green turf. It can be used from April to September.

 

Contains: 2,4-D, mecoprop-p and ferrous sulphate

Vitax at the National Forest Wood Fair

Vitax sign Wood Fair sponsorship deal

Vitax – one of the UK’s leading specialists in the manufacture of garden and horticulture products – has signed a two year deal to sponsor The National Forest’s Wood Fair. Celebrating its tenth year this August, The National Forest Wood Fair attracts over 5,000 visitors from across the UK every August Bank Holiday Monday.

This will be the fourth year Vitax has supported The National Forest, working in partnership with the company for the past three years to help create three hectares of woodland at Normanton le Heath by planting 6,000 trees.

 

“Vitax already has strong links with The National Forest and we wanted to extend that support by sponsoring the Wood Fair,” says Paul Gooding, Vitax’s chairman. “The event raises awareness not just about the need to protect and cherish the environment but increases visibility of how wood is used and can be used.

Covering 200 square miles in the heart of England, The National Forest is maturing as the boldest environmentally-led regeneration project undertaken in the UK.

Lynne Richards, head of fundraising for the National Forest Company, says: “Our partnership with Vitax helps our work significantly and this event will be a great opportunity to promote the importance of wood and the environmental and educational aspects of the work we do with visitors.

With a full programme in force, the fair will feature 100 exhibitors and live demonstrations of woodworking skills, craft displays and chainsaw sculpting.

 

The event will take place on Monday, 25 August from 9am-6pm at Beacon Hill Country Park, Leicestershire.

 

 

 

For more information, please visit www.nationalforestwoodfair.co.uk.

 

For more information about Vitax, please visit www.vitax.co.uk.

Images courtesy of The National Forest

Understanding fertilisers

If, like many amateur gardeners, you find the plethora of plant foods and fertilisers available at your local garden centre just a little bit confusing, you may find the following notes of help.

Vitax, as one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of products for plants and gardens, produces a wide range of traditional fertilisers and makes no outrageous claims about their benefits.  However, these fertilisers have been proven over many years and each offers specific benefits to your plants.

So, consider first, what your plants need….

  • Strong healthy roots?
  • Leafy growth?
  • A boost for flowering or ripening of fruit?
  • Better soil conditions for acid loving plants?
  • A cure for browning leaves (magnesium deficiency)?

And then select the Vitax fertiliser that will provide the answer:

VITAX SUPERPHOSPHATE, a quick acting fertiliser which will encourage strong root growth.  Superphosphate is one of the keys to success when planting out seedlings, rooted cuttings and transplants.  Used with fruit, root and seed crops, Superphosphate will produce higher yields and improve ripening.  Superphosphate can be used prior to planting, as a top dressing, and also as a liquid feed.

 

VITAX SULPHATE OF AMMONIA is a fast acting nitrogen fertiliser which will encourage leafy growth.  It will promote above-ground growth and help produce rich green foliage.  Because of this action it is especially beneficial for crops such as brassicas, lettuce, spinach, rhubarb, leeks and onions.   An early season feed gives flowering plants, shrubs and fruit a rapid boost.  Sulphate of Ammonia can even be used to quickly green up a tired lawn.

 

flower-being-plantedVITAX SULPHATE OF POTASH is a quick acting fertiliser which provides the essential nutrient potassium to boost flowering and ripening of fruit.  Sulphate of Potash encourages greater strength and vigour in plants, improving resistance to adverse weather conditions and disease. It also promotes stronger flower colour, higher quality blooms and increased yields of fruit.  It is particularly beneficial to tomatoes. Sulphate of Potash can be used prior to planting, as a top dressing, and also as a liquid feed.

 

RhododendronVITAX SULPHATE OF IRON (ferrous sulphate) improves soil conditions for acid loving plants.  It can be used to reduce the alkalinity of the soil, helping to make available the natural elements and nutrients essential to the healthy cultivation of plants which thrive in acid conditions.  All calcifuge (lime hating) plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, magnolias, conifers, ericas and alpines will benefit from a regular top dressing with Vitax Sulphate of Iron.  It can be used prior to planting and also as a top dressing.

 

VITAX EPSOM SALTS provide a rapid cure for magnesium deficiency in plants.  Magnesium is necessary for the production of chlorophyll, without which the foliage turns brown and withers.  Tomatoes and house plants are particularly susceptible to magnesium deficiency, where the early symptoms are yellowing between the veins of older leaves.  Epsom salts are best dissolved in water and applied with a sprayer or watering can.

 

For more information on all these products and other fertilisers from Vitax click here

Time to start weeding

Weedfree glyphosate weedkiller kills weeds and their roots.  Now is the time to start using it on annual and perennial weeds such as grasses, nettles, willowherb and dandelions as you will get the best results from March to October when the weeds are actively growing.  After application to weeds, it moves through the plant and down to the roots. Dandelions are a particular problem as their long roots make them very difficult to dig up, so Weedfree is the ideal solution.

Vitax Weedfree is biodegradable and breaks down in the soil to allow replanting.

However, Weedfree is non-selective and care should be taken to avoid spray drift onto lawns and other plants. Effects may be seen within a few days, but full control can take up to 4 weeks. Very persistent weeds may require repeat treatment once new growth appears.

Vitax Weedfree is available in a 1 litre concentrate, a convenient ready-to-use 750ml trigger spray, and in a pack of six 100ml sachets.

 

Biodegradables range

Environmentally-conscious gardeners can take advantage of Vitax’s biodegradables range, designed to help protect and nurture new plants and seedlings. The range includes Cabbage Collars which are used around newly planted brassicas – a non-chemical way of protecting against cabbage root fly – and Mulch Mats which are ideal for use around strawberry plants, lettuces and newly planted roses. Mulch mats help prevent rotting and protect plant roots from extreme temperatures, whilst also acting as a slug deterrent.

Vitax Sulphur Candles

If you’re thinking of starting off some seeds in your greenhouse now the weather’s improving, it’s a good idea to make sure you disinfect the greenhouse first to ensure the environment is clean and healthy, although you should also sweep and wash the greenhouse prior to disinfecting.

 

Before using the candle, remove all plants from the greenhouse (with the exception of dormant peach trees or vines).  Check all doors, windows and ventilation points are completely closed, place the candle on a brick in the middle of the greenhouse, and light the paper wick.  The sulphur around the wick should melt and then burn with a very pale blue, almost invisible flame. Leave the greenhouse completely closed and sealed.

 

After 12 hours open up the greenhouse and ventilate to remove fumes. One Vitax Sulphur Candle will disinfect an average 8ft x 10ft greenhouse, and for larger greenhouses you can use more candles simultaneously.