Make the most of end of summer crops and make sure your garden is healthy next spring. Part of this is getting rid of unwanted bugs and diseases which can ruin your carefully tended plants before you get the chance to enjoy them!
Check your existing crops
- Pull out any weeds and any plants you no longer need.
- Slugs and snails will be about at this time of year. The nemesis of many a leafy crop such as lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower and spinach as well as our much loved garden plants such as hostas, renga renga, agapanthus and begonias. Go on a snail hunt from time to time to pull them out of the garden - a good time to do this is in the evening with a torch, and apply Tui Quash slug and snail control to help stop them munching on your plants.
- Give your plants an application of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic, when applied regularly this helps strengthen plants against extremes in temperatures.
- Its also a good idea to add a layer of Tui Pea Straw Mulch around your veges as this will help retain moisture, stop weeds popping up, and keep the roots protected from extremes in temperature. Add mulch before the ground freezes as otherwise the mulch will insulate the frost.
Common insect pests and diseases
Aphids and whitefly
These sap suckers simply suck the life out of plants, as they survive on a diet of chlorophyll and sap.
Aphids - small pear-shaped soft body sap sucking insects that are often found on the underside of leaves. They can be green, black, yellow or grey. Whitefly - tiny white sap sucking insects that fly when leaves are brushed, often found on the underside of leaves.
- Solve it: Blast most of them off with the hose to limit the number immediately and then spray with warm soapy water. If the infestation is large you can spray with an insect spray registered to control aphids and whitefly.
These dome shaped sap sucking insects are so tiny and have the ability to evade you for quite some time because the damage is hard to spot, by the time you do notice it the problem its generally wide spread.
- Solve it: If you manage to catch it early on, you can scrape away scale with your fingernail.
Black spots appear on leaves, surrounded by a yellow border and especially common in warm wet weather.
- Solve it: Limit the risk by clearing away pruning’s of diseased leaves and plant material straight away. If required, sprays are available from your local garden centre.
Tui Tips for a Healthy Garden
Prevention is the best cure, and this is true in your garden too. A healthy garden is less likely to be plagued by insect pests and diseases.
- Take care to choose the right plant for the right position in your garden, and plant seasonally appropriate varieties. See the Tui Planting Calendar for more information.
- Add generous amounts of organic matter like sheep pellets and compost to replenish soil nutrients before planting.
- Rotate crops - don't plant the same crops in the same place each year, as diseases can be harboured in the soil.
- Plant a variety of crops together rather than bulk planting a single variety - see the Tui Companion Planting Guide for more information.
- Replenish nutrients used by plants during the growing season. Keep adding organic matter like sheep pellets and compost to your soil, and feed your plants with a general fertiliser or one specially blended for your plant or crop.
- Keep your garden well-watered. Regular deep soakings are better than shallow watering. Water early in the day or later in the evening, taking care to water the soil not the foliage where possible, to limit encouraging disease.
- Remove any diseased plant material, and either burn or bin – don’t compost to avoid spreading disease.
- Clean and disinfect all gardening tools, especially cutting tools, to prevent the spread of disease.