Gardener's World - December 2020

7 things I discovered in December’s Gardeners’ World

As wonderful as the Internet is, just flicking through a magazine is often a far more useful way of finding out stuff when something just catches your eye.  So here are 7 things I came across in the December 2020 issue of Gardener’s World.

1. Peat-based Composts are being phased out

OK, this I kind of knew already but it is one of those topics that should really get a bit more attention to ensure people better informed when buying compost.  Peat has been an essential compost ingredient since the year dot but it just isn’t sustainable and so you can expect in the next few years to see less and less peat-based composts available.  More importantly now is a good time to be investigating the alternatives as not only will it bring this change closer but also get you ahead for when the day finally comes.

2. Petrol tools are more polluting than cars

A study sponsored by a battery powered tool manufacturer demonstrated that petrol powered tools can produce more pollution than a small car with leaf-blowers being the worst culprit. The article did however note that batteries and their disposal come with their own problems and so perhaps we should just not use any of these tools as much and it follows perhaps try some manual tools for the short jobs instead.

3. Don’t turn your pile of leafmould

Unlike compost, which benefits from turning, leafmould should just be left unturned as it relies funghi to break down the leaves and turning it disrupts that process.

4. Mix sharp sand with salt to make your salt gritting go further

It is so easy to inadvertently throw a large scoop of salt on an icy path and then watch the blob slowly disappear over many days whilst the ice around it remains.  Improve things and make your salt go further by mixing some gritty sharp sand with the salt and not only should this improve the spreading but also get you more to go around.

5. Don’t bother with some fancy cover to keep your outdoor tap protected – just use some bubble wrap.

Given Christmas has just been and gone you should have plenty of bubble-wrap around so why not use that instead of an expensive cover (that usual breaks after a couple of years) for your outdoor tap.  Just wrap some around the tap, fasten with a bit of string or tape and your tap is safely protected – simple!

6. If you have honey fungus all is not lost

Honey fungus is indeed a serious problem however if your plants are unlucky enough to be affected it isn’t the end of the world or your garden.  Before the good news though some bad news, don’t think that honey fungus only affects woody plants – it also affects herbaceous ones as well.  Ok so now the good news, if you have an area affected with honey fungus clear away all the plants and leave the area unused for at least a year – the fungus can only survive if there are plants for it to live off.  Finally there are plenty of plants that are resistant that you can plant in their place.  A quick search for Gardeners’ World and Honey Fungus Resistant plants should get you a few to start with.

7. Disinfect lifted Chrysanthemum roots using Jeyes Fluid

This wasn’t actually in Gardener’s World but I saw an advert for Chrysanthemums Direct and had a quick look at their website.  It makes for very interesting reading and is definitely for the pro growers. I did however come away with a piece of advice that after lifting and removing the soil from a Chrysanthemum root ball for over-wintering you can use Jeyes Fluid to clean the roots.  Is there nothing you can’t use Jeyes Fluid for?

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