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Article: New Year's Resolutions for Gardeners: I wish others would!

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NEILMUIR1
London
United Kingdom

December 31, 2009
8:30 AM

Post #7412544

Dear Marie, let me first say I hate chemicals, I do use the old fashioned green ones that were taught to me by my Granddad and the tricks he taught me.
I use companion planting in and around my vegetables; for I do not mind losing a few marigolds if it keeps the pests away from my vegetables, or the dual use of Horseradish as a fantastic deterrent to pests, and its remarkable taste as a sauce. Bunches of summer savoury growing amongst the broad beans and cabbage, cut a cabbage and add a sprinkle of summer savoury, two jobs in one, chases the pests away and makes your cabbage into a sublime taste! The list is endless, as to what Nature can do if we let it!
For a lot of people do not realise that herbs are something we love; their taste and aromas are fantastic to us, but to many pests they are a thing to avoid, the aromatic oil is a keep away from me signal to many common pests.
So put them in your Herbaceous borders; swathes of lavender, the odd rosemary, bronze fennel, different coloured sages, coloured thyme's, golden pyretheum, it is your choice but the benefits will be obvious!
We had a program in England to stop the demise of Bumblebees; you could get a free hive and full instructions, so the bees could survive over the winter, as their natural habitat has been lost!
So I duly got one and was delighted by the results, we had loads of bees everywhere, then disaster struck for my neighbour sprayed his fruit trees, goodbye bees, goodbye fruit!
My other next door neighbour we never saw very much of, and she was cultivating a weed, the dreaded Convolvulus major (Bindweed), a climbing and much hated plant. I could not believe she was eating it, as she wrongly thought that it was a vegetable from her homeland.
So I rang our Council\environmental and they came round as this horrid plant gets everywhere; into our beloved compost bins, as it grows underground as well, it was everywhere, so much to my disbelief they sprayed it with paraquat.
That has no affect on it as it just grows back; so they sprayed it with glyphosphate (Roundup), but you need a lot of that to kill this plant and it wiped out a lot of my plants with "spray drift!"
Then suddenly the Police came round as there were 17 people in the one bedroom flat, and they were illegal immigrants, so were removed, I hasten to add nothing to do with me!
Now we have a new neighbour who adores my garden, and wishes to learn. As a seven year apprentice gardener, and then went a lot higher, she is eager to learn from me.
So why you may ask did I write this?
The reason is simple my New Years Resolution is; to show both neighbours, you do not need expensive and environmentally damaging chemicals, you can do things by Nature alone, so I have a garden that is admired without a chemical!
For my Foreman used to tell me, the right plants, put in the right place should be treated with G.H.N. which is General Horticultural Neglect!
This might sound strange, but it is not for; do not plant a rhododendron in a small space in an alkaline soil, or an oak tree three feet from your back door, or a weeping willow next to your ten foot pond!
My bees came back and here is a picture of one, although there were hundreds on my Callistemon citrinus 'Splendens' or the Australian Bottle brush!
Regards from a very cold England, and indeed a Happy New Year!
Neil.








This message was edited Dec 31, 2009 4:36 AM

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greenbrain

greenbrain
Madison, IL
(Zone 6b)

December 31, 2009
12:27 PM

Post #7412686

My fav & only gardening mag that I subscribe to & have for 15 years now is Organic Gardening. I've kept all the back issues because they're like my gardening bible. I've learned to re-think the way I garden. My gardening methods 20 years ago are so different from the methods I use now. It's been a gradual change and for the better. I hope that 2010 is a good gardening year for you Marie. May you find the time and energy to keep your resolutions.

Neil, I'm glad to hear that you are promoting OG in England. Here's a link to the OG mag website; if you're interested. Maybe you've already been there?
http://www.organicgardening.com/
bsavage
Dolores, CO
(Zone 5b)

December 31, 2009
8:13 PM

Post #7413818

Excellent advice! My gardening habits have changed over the past couple of years as well... I don't use chemicals much (if at all) anymore. I do try to attract the good bugs and critters, and in doing so you can see that they are effective. This year, more companion planting in the veggie garden... and the compost bin IS going to get built! Happy New Year!
can2grow
Valparaiso, FL
(Zone 8b)

January 4, 2010
1:58 AM

Post #7424957

Thanks to all who take the time to learn to garden in an environmentally sensitive way.
NeilMuir, keep up the good work. Maybe your neighbors will learn from your example.
Happy New Year to all.

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