Like many others, we are continually trying to reduce our environmental impact. Our pot cleaning has moved on from hand washing; we now submerge the pots for 10 minutes in hot water (60°C) and this new method has not only resulted in a noticeable decline in weeds and pests but also allows us to re-use our pots.
Our tunnels have been recovered with Sterilite which reduces pests and diseases by altering the light wavelength. Our plants are drenched with helpful bacteria and silicon which increased their resistance to pests and diseases. Any Powdery Mildew is sprayed with Potassium bicarbonate (baking soda) which safely kills it.
With growing so many primulas, vine weevil could have been a real problem: “Vi-nil”, a very safe and effective material we added to our compost, was taken off the market. Early last season, a new product came onto the market – “Metarhizium anisopline”, better known as Met52. It is a naturally-occurring “good” fungus, containing an insect parasite and has been used in Europe for over 2 years. At last, this country’s bureaucrats have decided that we can use this safe, environmentally friendly product against vine weevil: let’s hope that it is soon available for amateur use as well.
We have increased the amount of bark we use in our compost and have reduced the amount of peat. We will change to a peat-free compost once there is one available that is reasonably priced and will give the constant results we get from our present compost mix.