Category Archives: Spring Sowing

An Blog about using Coir for sowing seeds

The ultimate Vertical Gardening guide


Source: The ultimate Vertical Gardening guide


A for Aeration

A for Aeration

Why aeration is important 

  • Aeration  is  important cause  it  allows  air  and  water  to  circulate  through  roots  sward  and  encourages  the  grass  to  root  better.
  • It  also  relieves  compaction  of  the  soil  
  • Improves  drainage  

Methods  of  aeration  

How to Aerate, Spike & Hollow Tine a Lawn – YouTube – Some handy tips on aerating your lawn using a hollow tine fork, spiking aerator and aeration shoes or sandals
My  own  personal  view  these  spikers  just  do  what  they  say  they  spike &  do  nothing  more  than  that. And  from  what  i  can  see they  are  hard  work  especially  if  you  have  heavy  clay  or  stoney  soil.

For  better  pernertration  you  are  better  off  with  a  fork 

Aeration with solid spikes using equipment such as the garden fork, aerator sandals or shoes, rolling lawn aerators or powered machinery is generally done to a depth between 1 and 6 inches with the top two inches being the most important. There are also star like slitters that can be inserted as a cassette into turf machinery or towed behind ride-on mowers or lawn tractors. On sports turf, spiking is done as often as possible; every other week being quite normal. This is because the effect is q…

Apart from the annoying worm cast that block up your mower or make a mess on your lawn with heavy rainfall worms actually help your lawn by making holes in your lawn naturally as they tunnel down into the subsoil plus they are apart of the food chain

What to do about worm Cast in the lawn Great article about the benefits of worm cast – now you can optimize it by buying or making your own biochar I would buy it first and mix in with with the worm casting and leave for a day so it would absorb the nutriments first then apply it to the beds Never leave warm cast on the grass ~ wait till it hard then useing a swish broom brush them into the flowerbeds as worm cast contain bacteria that would determental to grass but beneficial to the flowers ~ after all why worry about them they help aerate our soil ~ break down organic matter and feed the birds by putting chemicals down will only alter the food chainThorny problems: what can I do about worm casts…www.scoop.itOur green-fingered guru solves your gardening problems. This week: a closer look at worms and the official start of spring
To  encourage  worms  there  is  one  simple  thing  to  and  that   finely  chop all  your  leaves  from  the  trees  in  Autumn   to  a  fine  manageable  pieces  with a  lawn  mower   with  no  bucket  attached   and  scatter  the  leaves  on  ground thinly  and  wait  till  the  worms  come  up  to  collect  it  and  bring  it  down  to  their  burrows.

Another way you can aerate the lawn is by a mechanical hollow tine aerator

A hollow tine aerator

As you can see they come in all shape and sizes depending on how large your garden is ~ The only set back is that you have to hire these out as no garden store sells these as they are either too expensive or not called for.
And with that the cost of hiring is pretty expensive so the best thing to with any expensive machinery is to have a joint share

Picture of large hollow tine aerator

Hollow  tines


There  are  two  manual  tines   on  the  market  today  and  both  can  be  bought  from  any  good  garden  store.

The  only  thing  that  is  wrong  with  these  is  that  are  ideal  only  for  small  lawns  and  do  take  up  a  lot  time  &  energy   

The Yard Butler Store provides the best in lawn and garden tools direct from the manufacturer, Lewis Tools
Autumn Feeding.For Autumn the care regime is basically promoting healthy root growth. This achieved by firstly feeding the grass with a propriety lawn food and spreading the fertilizer by the use a hooper as in the Spring and Summer regime. But this time the fertilizer contains a high percentage of phosphate…

Here we have an example of forking the ground to aerate it this to me is rather hard work and time consuming. and like the solid tine roller above is fine wether you are relieving compaction on the grass

Here is an excellent guide to what to do in the garden this February.
But things have changed whether it the fault of the climate or new ideas and advancements on technology
One thing that has changed is Lawn care. The old school training that I had been taught has to be retaught.
For example, when I was doing a day release course in groundsman ship for a local borough I was taught that spiking was the ideal way to aerate your lawn.
Now it seems that hollow tining is the proper way to go now, Also another thing that has changed is the method. Instead of putting tons of lawn top dressing down its best to use a solid tine method as well.
When applying fertilizer its best to get the Autumn weed and feed to strengthen the roots & Apply the moss killer as a separate application.But make sure to rake or scarify the lawn first to remove the bulk of the moss then apply the chemical afterwards – This ensures that chemical go down to the whole plant
As for digging, I usually do that in the Autumn to allow the soil to be weathered down
Connect to a branch: 08457 28 28 28 Online enquiries: 08456 02 19 61 Home  ›  Gardening  ›  Lawn care  ›  Powered Lawn Aerator Aeration is the key to achieving a fine turfed finish. This self-propelled aerator is available with solid tynes. It relieves compaction, improves drainage and reduces surface thatch by penetrating the soil. To view these files you will need to have Adobe Reader installed on your computer Prices (E and OE) are exclusive of VAT and are in UK Sterling Go to HSS LiveHire (Account Customers only)

To top dress or not to top dress
Not long ago everyone in the industry was told to apply top dressing to the lawn .
But now there a second line of thought that you can either leave it open or solid tine it in the opposite direction.
This will :-
(a) close up the holes as it compresses ~ thus leaving a level finish .
As many greenkeepers will vouch that by hollow tining you are removing cores from the soil and then adding fresh material back
(b) You can either just leave it
(c) Go over with a scarifier and break up the pivots of soil and break them in
If you just got a normal lawn then top dressing with soil is not really needed only for cricket pitches and bowling greens who need a smooth a surface

However if you do find that you are left with bare patches you are left with two choices
(a) to reseed
(b) to turf
Depending on size of the lawn and what effect you want either then your best choices are to lay turf down ~ But it doesn’t come cheap now days best of turf come in at £4 per metre thats roughly $8 in the USA currency
Your other option is to wait for the two to three weeks before the seeds start sprouting

In the 21st century lawns may be going out of fashion. They are seen as high maintenance and environmentally unfriendly because of their need for preciouses irrigation water. However the advantage of making a new lawn from seed is, that you can choose any type of grass seed you want. Drought resistant, low maintenance slow growing, fine or course.


Spring Lawn care. Feeding Now that the warm weather is here it time to look after your lawn and put back what this wet few months have taken away from it all. The signs to look out are as follows :- Is your grass getting a bit anaemic  …

The 6 main pest and diseases of rose & how to treat them.

Pest  and  Disease  Control  of  Roses  

Introduction  – What  is  IPC  and  its  Methods

For  those  that  have  followed  My  blog on

general  pest  &  disease  control   Will   remember  that    I  use  the  IPC  method  on  all  plants  especially  roses. So  you    will  just  need  to  skip  this  paragraph   until  you  get  to  the  one  you  that  you  know. For  those  that  are new .  I  will  briefly  explain  what  IPC  is  before  going  on to  the  Pest  and  Disease  section .

Briefly  I  P C  stands  for  :-

  • Identify  –  By  Identifying  the  pest  or  disease  you can  then  isolate  it  and   treat  it  without  harming  any  other  insects  or  predators  that  are  beneficial  to  the  plant
  • Prevention  –

Prevention  is  better  than  cure

If  you  followed  the  guide  lines  that  i  told you. You are   less  more  than  likely  to  get    infected by  a  blight  or  pest  but   like  the  common  cold  no  matter  how  much  we  keep  healthy  we  still  get  it.  so  is  very  much  like plants

in  their  case  they  will  become  less  sickly  if  we  observed  their  requirement  from  the  off  set  as  I   have  pin  pointed  in  the  first  blog  

Control   or  Monitor   methods –   And  finally  Control    With  the  pest  or  Disease on  rose    isolated  we  can  begin  the  applying  the  safe  practise  of  control   whether its  Chemical  or  Organic  or  mechanical

The 6 main pest  &  Diseases 

& How  to  treat them

The  main  6   pest  &  Diseases  of  roses  are :-

  1. Aphids  
  2. Black Fly
  3. White  Fly
  4. Mildew
  5. Rust
  6. Black Spot

There  are  others  pest  like  the  leaf  cutting  bee   thrips &saw flies   but  those  are  the  main  six

Saw  Flies

These are caterpillar-like larvae, which feed on the leaves of your roses in the spring. They are about 1 ¼ inch long and are light green, some with black spots. If you get on top of this pest right away, you should be able to control them by simply hand-picking them. Look for them on the undersides of the leaves.

Saw  Fly  symptoms

Saw fly larvae symptoms

These  you  just  simply  remove  and  incinerate as  the  caterpillar is  well  protected

Up  close  and  personal  these  critter  look  quite  menacing  a  little  like  caterpillars  but  in  a  large  abundance


Saw Fly  larvae  up  close  and  personal

Leaf  Cutting  bees


leaf  cutting  bee

Tel tail of leaf cutting bees





Thrips are tiny, slender, dark brown or black, sucking insects that damage and destroy opening rose buds turning them brown and leaving them only partially opened. They also feed on the upper surface of the leaf. They can be difficult to see outdoors. If you think that your rose may have thrips, take a cutting inside and shake it over white paper to see if any fall out. Look for a brownish black insect with a narrow body up to 1/16 inch long. They thrive in hot, dry conditions. Regularly watering your roses and spraying with an insecticide or simply cutting off the affected rose or leaf should do the job




I have   already  been  mentioned  in detail along  with  white  fly  in  the  following  blog




  1. 0258BlackFly  


Black  Fly

Black Fly

As  you  can  see  from  this  picture  these  pest  can  be  easily  Identified &  tend  to  swarm  in  colonies  attacking  anything  that  is  green  and  sappy  whether  it  your  green  beans or  bedding  plants  to  roses  that  have  been  over  feed  with  high  nitrogen  fertilizer  to  produce  sappy  growth .



The  best  way  to  prevent  your  roses  being  attacked  by  these  pest  is  to  carefully  check  your  feeding  of  roses.

As  I  said  above  these  and  other  pest  like  aphids  like  green  sappy  growth  for  their  piecing and  sucking  mouth  parts

Feeding this way causes problems for the plant: aphids can transmit plant viruses, and the sticky honeydew they exude can attract sooty moulds to grow

As  in the  case of  lime  trees  every    where

Good  hygiene  too   don’t  compost  any  infected  plants  in  winter  as  the  females  lays  its  eggs  in  the  autumn on  plants  to  feed  its  nurseries and  ounce  the  eggs  has  hatched  in  spring  they  fly  off   on to  much  better  food  supply  and the  circle  begins.

So by  either  bagging  up  infected  plants  or  burning  them  you  are  at  least  cutting  down  on  the  numbers  in  your  garden . But  since  they  can  fly  doesn’t  really  guarantee  you  that  you  are  free  them

So  we  go  to  the  next  Section

Control  or  Management 

There  are   3   methods  of  control

  1. Cultural  

By  this  mean   good  hygiene  and  feeding  regime  as  I  said  above  also  to  encourage  their  natural  predators  into  the  garden   like  Ladybirds lacewings   even  small  birds  feed  on  the  insects  now  and  again

Click to tweet   how   you  can  attract  more  predators into  your  garden  

Spraying  with  tar  oil  or  winter  washes   tends  to  work  well in  winter    when  the  female  lays  it  eggs

Click link to  learn  about  the Natural  Predators


2. Biological  Control  

is comparatively expensive, but effective – if you can create the right conditions. The main problem being that there will be a time lag between being able to source the biological control of Blackfly. Together with this, there will need to be enough Blackfly for the biological predators to act upon.

However  ongoing  research according  to  this  article  here  published  in  2005

This discovery has applications for pest management – the aphid sucrase enzyme could be a suitable target for specific inhibitors that would abolish its dual role in osmoregulation and carbon nutrition of the aphid.

that  these  pest  can  be  controlled  by  spraying  or  other  methods  not  yet  mentioned,

Current research is focussing on determining the mechanism – it’s possible that an anti-microbial with the symbiotic bacteria as the primary target may have evolved in certain plants.

As  I  already  have  gone  into  detail  about  the  use  of  chemical  as  a  method  of  culture  I  wont  go  into  detail  here  but  only  to  stress  the  dangers 

Disease  Control




The effect of Mildrew on roses

As you  can  see  from  the  picture  that  Mildew  can  be  easily  recognised  by  its  powdery  white  effect  on  leafs  and  stems .                        In  fact  Mildews  a  fungal  Disease  rather  like BlackSpot  but  cause  its  feeds  on  moisture  on  the  plant  leaves   it  easily  remedied  by  following  the  procedure


Cultural  control

If you  seen  any signs  on   your  roses  whether  on the  leaves  or  buds  its  best  to   prune  them  out  to  avoid  the  spores  from  spreading  any  further.

Good  hygiene  again  is  important  –  keep  the  center  clear  of  branches  in  the  spring  to  allow  air  flow  through  and  around  the  plant

Try  avoid  watering  from  above  or  in  between  the    branches  water  from  the  bellow ,

Avoid  watering  in  them  evening   go  for   in  the  morning    where  if  you  have  splashed  the  leaves  the  water  has  a  chance  to  dry  off

Plant  rose  far  enough  part  so  they  can  spread  out


Rose Rust


As  you  can  see  from  these  two  examples  that  rose  rust  can  be  easily  recognised  by  its  orange  flex on leaves  and buds

Rose  Rust

Rose Rust on buds

Rose  Rust

Rose Rust on leaves

And  like  Powdery  Mildew  its  a  fungal  disease  on  the  roses  but  less  severe. That  occurs  from  the  beginning  of  spring  right  up  to  summer  should  the  environmental conditions  be  right  for  the  spores  to  spread


6  Cultural  Methods of  controlling  rust  

  • Good  Hygiene  as  always  –
  1.  remove  infected    leaves  and  incinerate  to  prevent  the  spores  from  spreading    like  Black Spot   spores lay  dormant  in  the  on  the  soil  surface  until  they  are  either  splashed  up  by  the  rain  or  watering  from  above   or  carried  up  by  insects  especially  ants . So  clearing  the  ground  of  debris  around  the  plant  is  a  must.
  2. Pruning –  By  leaving  the  center  clean  and  cutting  out  crossing  branches  improves  the  air  circulation  around  the  plant  thus  reducing  the  breeding  grounds  for  the  spores  to  live  by  drying  out  the  leaves  and  buds.
  3. Weeding  –  By  clearing  any  weeds  around  the  plant  esp  oxalis  that  get  infected  by  rust  you  are  reducing  the  risk  of  it  spreading  to  the  roses
  4. Improve  the  soil  structure  of  the  soil  by  forking  over  the  ground  in  spring  to  improve  drainage
  5. Avoid  watering    from  above   always  water  from  the  base  of  the  plant
  6. Avoid  working  on  rose  beds  when its  wet  as  you  can  spread  the  spores  by  simply  walking  around .


Chemical  Control  

When  you  see  the  first  signs  of  rust    spray   the  entire  rose  bush  with  a  copper formulated  compound   examples  can  be  found  here     until  the  bush  is  cleared  giving  it  a  good  drench.

Always    go  by  the  rules  i have mentioned   for  proper  chemical  Management

Organic  Control

There  are  many  new  ‘organic  formulations’  on  the  market  you  could  try if  you are  organically  minded  one  is  the

Disease  spray

Vitax organic spray for pest and disease

Vitax  2  in  1  pest  and  disease  control  spray    Yet I  haven’t  had  the chance  to test  it  out  yet.

But  Vitax  is  reputable  firm  that  specialize  in Rose  Care  products

Black Spot.


Black Spot  spores  on  roses

Black Spot spores on roses

Finally  I  come  to  most  dreaded  killer  of  all  roses,

Black Spot  –  as  You  can  see  by  this  image    this  too  easily  recognized  by  it  instinctive black splotches  that  are  actually   spores .  The  thin  white  threads  are  in  the  roses  stem. hence once  you  see it  its  pretty  much  that  there is  no  real  cure  for  it  except  to  either  live  with it  or  destroy  the  bush  all  together.

In  cases  of  My  many  Clients  they  rather  live  with  it  until  it  dies  completely

So  what  can  be  done  to prevent  it


Cultural  Prevention

  • As  I  mentioned  at  the  very  start  of  the  Blogs  on  roses    That  when  planting  a  new  rows  always  make  sure  the  rose  gets  a  good  start
  • Mulching  around  the  roses  in  spring  with  sterilized compost  like  Cocopeat  or  peat based formulations     This  will  stop  any    fungal  spores  that  i  mentioned  above  from  splashing  up  and  infecting  younger  shoots
  • Pruning  out  any  dead  diseased  or  dying  branches  and  incinerating  it  (  Do  not  compost  them
  • Improve  the  air  circulation  around  &  inside  the  bush  by  cleaning  out  any  inward  pointing  branches
  • Don’t  plant  roses  close  together  as  one  rose  can  spread  the  disease  to  another  and  this  too  allows  air  to  circulate
  • Water  from  the  base  only

Chemical  Control  

Organic  Control

Water Conversation

Now  that the  Sun is  finally  out  We  must  think  of  trying  ways  to  converse  water.There  are  three  known  ways  that  do work  in  practise  that  I know  off.

  • Beds &  border
  1. mulching

This  can  be  done  about  now. But  always  weed  the  bed  first  with  a  hoe  do  not  dig  over  the  bed  otherwise  the  water  that  is  still  in  the  soil  would  evaporate. water  in  plants  with  rain  water –  rain  water  is  softer  and  there  fore  drains  easily  through  the  soil.- apply  the  mulch  on  the  bed  leaving  a  gap  around  the  plant    so  you  can  water  directly  onto  the  plant.

Do  not  use  fresh  tree  bark  although  this  looks  decorative   the  bark  contains  tanin  which  if  its  rotted  down  would  otherwise  kill  the  plant

If  using  Peat  or  other  compost  material  make  sure  it  properly  wetted  first  this  binds  the  compost  together  and  acts  as  barrier  against  the  heat  of  the  sun  as  well  as  keeping  the  plant  cool

  • Beds  and  borders should  be  basin  shaped  now  this  esures  that  any  rain  or  dew  fall  will accumalate  on  the  surface  and  water  the  plants
  • Watering
  1. The  best  practise is  not  water  dueing  the  day  but  early  morning  or  in  the  evening  other wise  the  water  will  lost  to  evaporation   this  applies  to  all  plants  in  the  greenhouse,pot plants  and  summer  bedding.
  2. In  cases  of  greenhouse  pot  plants  and  house  plants  there  is  a  wetting  agents  available  that  you  apply  to  the  compost  before  planting. Also  to  ensure  the  proper  humidity  you  can  apply  clay  pellets  to  trays  and  stand  pots  in  those and  water. The  excess  water  will  be  absorbed  by  the  clay  and  give  the  roots  the  moisture  they  need
  3. For  Outside  pots  esp  ornamental  one  best  to  read  up  water  techniques  for  them  as some  plants  can  be  die  from  being  over watered  in  the  case  of  oleanders   which  require  good  drainage  rule  of  thumb  if  the  plants origin  come  from  the  Mediterranean  follow  what  they  do  there
  • Use  a  water  but  to  catch  the  rain  water  and  if  that  runs  out  then  use  a  hose  as  the  last  measures

Autumn Lawn Care

Autumn  Feeding.

For  Autumn   the   care  regime  is  basically   promoting  healthy  root  growth. This  achieved  by  firstly   feeding  the  grass  with  a  propriety   lawn food  and  spreading  the  fertilizer  by  the  use   a  hooper  as  in  the  Spring and  Summer  regime.
But this time the fertilizer contains a high percentage of phosphate to encourage root growth. It also  contains   a  iron  oxide  which  is  moss  killer  so  it  best  to  wait  till  the  moss  turns  black  before   raking  it  a  final  time.

The  other  thing  to  do  now  is  to  encourage   air  and  good  drainage    around  the  roots.This  is  achieved  by   using  a   mechanical  hollow  tine   machine  on  large areas
Or  a  manual  method see pictures  below


iStock_000000584336XSmall 310



These  will  leave  a  rather  untidy  holes  in  the    ground  which  would  after   then  filled  with   lawn  top  dressing  and  worked  into  the  ground    using  a   lute  or  a   still  broom.

You  should  never  leave  the  holes  open   cause  if  you  walk  over  it  you  will  close  the  holes  and  thus  defeating  the  object.

Then the ground is best  left.To weather in the top soil over winter and come in the spring new shoots should  appear

I’m  recently  looking  into  other  ways  organically   using  worms  and  leaf  mulch  thus  saving  the  time  and  money  on  hiring  equipment  out