Natural pesticides: Pyrethrum

August 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

Pyrethrum and permethrin are broad range insecticides which control aphids, whitefly, beetles, caterpillars, leaf hoppers and other insects.

We sell pyrethrum plug plants in our online shop.

Pyrethrum is an insecticidal compound which naturally occurs in some chrysanthemum flowers. The variety Tanacetum cinerariifolium can be grown in the home garden and then dried and powdered with care and dusted on plants and on the soil around plants.

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Pyrethrum is unstable in sunlight, lasting only about 12 hours, so must be applied daily with great care to avoid inhalation.

Permethrin is a man-made insecticide whose chemistry is based on natural pyrethrum. It was developed to be stable in sunlight for up to 30 days. Permethrin is used in head lice shampoos, flea, tick and mosquito control on dogs and mosquito control on outdoor clothing and camping gear. It is highly toxic to cats, bees, fish and a small number of beneficial insects.

Synergised pyrethrums use the naturally occurring pyrethrum compound but it is bonded to piperonyl butoxide to stabilise it.

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Edible hanging baskets

August 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

I have been experimenting with edible hanging baskets. The plugs we grow make poking them through the moss walls so easy I really enjoy making them.

Here are the first two attempts:

This one has Red Russian kale, Salad Bowl lettuce, Flame lettuce, lobelia and some pink things from M&S. It looked very pretty for about two months but it had to be fed daily and watered twice a day on the hottest days.

This one was planted with just Dwarf Fernleaf dill and Red Russian kale. It didnt look as pretty and ‘full’ but the harvests were bigger:

Note the hanging basket liner- fronds from any pine/conifer type tree. When picked fresh they are nice and bendy and smell good. After three odd weeks the fronds will dry out and turn a coppery brown colour. When the baskets are finished the whole lot liner and all can be put on the compost.

RHS AGM Awards 2008 winners

August 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

The RHS’s AGM awards are a good guide as to which cultivars are reliable and worth growing.

Click here for the 2008 list.

Poppies as ground cover

August 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

We grew some stunning poppies this year, and noticed that whilst they only flower for short periods of time, the foliage which preceeds flowering makes excellent weed suppressing ground cover.

We planted them between rows of corn (or rather, put rows of corn seed between young poppy plants as the poppies were sown in early spring) and come July the poppy flowers looked delightful beneath the vigorous corn.

This year we grew Real Seed Catalogue’s Double Standard, Lark and Kite sweetcorn and the poppies were Flemish Antique and White Cloud.

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