GARDENING ACTIVITIES:

 

Gardens Group:

 

GARDENING.

I've taken over this group from Tony Herring. Our first meeting of the autumn will take place on Saturday 16th September at 2.15pm in Falmouth. The focus will be on saving some seeds for next year as well planning future events. Please let me know if you are coming and I'll let you have directions.
Robin Waddling. robinwaddling@gmail.com ; 01326 318528

Swanpool Open Garden Thursday 20th July

Pennance Road Garden


The day began with intermittent showers and things did not look hopeful. The first visitors arrived at 1.30pm bringing with them blue skies that stayed with us for the rest of the afternoon. We had 38 visitors who enjoyed June's cakes and tea on the terrace while Robin conducted tours of the garden.  We cut over 30 bunches of sweet peas that were very much appreciated. The garden has shallow dry soil with the land dropping away towards Swanpool and towards the beach. There are mature shrubs and informal wild plantings along the drive with Euphorbias doing well, particularly the architectural honey-scented 'mellifera'. This theme continues into the back garden with palms, osteospermums, various agapanthus, foxgloves, cosmos and annuals planted randomly. Paths from the lawn lead down to the vegetable garden with raised beds, greenhouse and grapes and beyond a soft fruit garden. There is an on-going battle with oxalis in the vegetable garden and for the first time the tomato moth in the greenhouse has been a real problem. We really enjoyed hosting this event and the socialising continued until 5.30pm. At 7pm the heavens opened. We were incredibly lucky with the weather.
Robin Waddling and June Clouston 

Chemical Warfare in the Garden.

Plants use chemicals to defend themselves and we use chemicals to defend our plants. The familiar example of the stinging nettle uses neurotransmitters and the pain is extended by formic acid. The Gympie Gympie tree has a bicyclic octapeptide which is claimed has killed a number of animals and the pain is said to be so great that a man is reputed to have shot himself when using its leaves as toilet paper! The humble cabbage deters flea beetles by converting a thio-sugar into isocyanates.  Alleopathy is a negative version of companion planting with the black walnut and various eucalyptus species having been investigated. Sap and root exudates work to prevent competition from many encroaching plants. Julone is the active chemical in the case of walnuts and this was used by the ancient Greeks as a herbicide.  However, invasive plants to one person are colonisers to another. Wood Sorrel however is a growing problem on allotments in some people's gardens. Its tap root enables it to compete for water, it self-seeds, germination rate is high and it may have an alleopathic effect on beans and other crops- it's bad news. Sometimes spraying with a chemical is a necessary. Glyphosate – love it or hate it. It is a broad spectrum herbicide as it inhibits the enzyme 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase which all plants use to make vital amino acids for plant growth. There is growing opposition to its use although its LD50 is about twenty fives times greater than the alkaloids in comfrey. Even the diluted form of glyphosate can be hazardous to young children and great care must be exercised by those who purchase it. Alternatives are available based upon the naturally occurring pelargonic acid, which strips the leaf cuticles, with maleic hydrazide which is a germination inhibitor and used commercially to remove volunteer potatoes. People tend to over use slug pellets – it only needs a few and they might be best used before you plant out to clear the ground as they are 4% metaldehyde and a wheat bait to attract. Dehydration results. Coffee beans, whilst adding nitrogen to the soil and reducing its pH do not in trials deter slugs. Ferric phosphate is an inorganic option that disrupts the digestive system of the slug. There are lots of products to choose from but always read the label and act with



       
 Robin Waddling. robinwaddling@gmail.com ; 01326 318528



   


 

Allotment Group:

Now that Spring is here, what better time to take on an allotment? We have plots available and you can have as much or as little ground as you can handle,with lots of advise offered. Give me a call to discuss it.

I will also be seeking ideas for further garden visits, in the new year. 

Dave Crawford  (01872) 864874. Give me a call if you would like to talk about any of these!

 

 

 

For all activities, please check our Google Calendar to confirm dates, times and location

Richard Allen Groups coordinator