The last 12 months have been rather complicated...!
I am currently half way through moving house; 'Minafon' has been sold, I'm in a rental house, still looking for the new home.
As a consequence, I am no longer selling plants, although in due course I hope to produce organic bulbs for sale each autumn. The supermarkets and large online nurseries have made small, specialised plant nurseries mostly obsolete...
I still source plants for the landscape design planting schemes, through a few excellent wholesale nurseries who grow in realistic conditions, and I can therefore obtain specific plants to order.
As so many of us are growing our own vegetables this year;
here's some ideas for companion planting, so that you can avoid nasty chemicals...
Alliums - grow with carrots, chards, leeks, peppers, tomatoes, rhubarb, strawberries
avoid beans, brassicas, sage
Beetroot - grow with alliums, brassicas and lettuce
avoid runner beans
Brassicas - grow with all herbs except rue, celery, rhubarb, calendula and tagetes
avoid allium, radish, strawberry, potato, rue, tomato
Carrots - grow with legumes, alliums, lettuce, parsley, sage, tomatoes
Cucumber - grow with dill, nasturtium, radish, tomato
avoid rue and sage
Parsnip = grow with alliums, radish
Peas and Beans - grow with anything other than alliums!
Potatoes - grow with beans, strawberries, coriander, calendula, tagetes
avoid other herbs, tomatoes
Tomatoes - mint, oregano, parsley, nasturtium, tagetes, peppers
avoid sweetcorn, brassicas, potatoes, dill
Plants for pest control
Ants - alliums, mint, tansy, artemesia (wormwood)
Aphids - alliums, calendula, tagetes, coriander, chervil, fennel, mint, nasturtium, rue, poppy, thyme
Cabbage moth - hyssop, mint, rosemary, sage
(Cabbage root fly - brassica collars, covering ground around base of plant which prevents eggs being laid)
Carrot fly - alliums, leeks, rosemary, sage
Caterpillars - oregano, thyme
Eelworm - tagetes
Flea beetle - alliums, artemesia, mint, rhubarb, rue, sage, tansy
Mice! - mint, tansy, artemesia
Nematodes - calendula, tagetes patula
Slugs and snails - allium, artemesia, fennel, rosemary, rue, sage
Spider mite - coriander, elder
Thrips - basil
Weevils and moths - bay
Whitefly - artemesia, peppermint, basil, calendula, nasturtium, oregano, tagetes, thyme
Wireworm - tagetes
As you can see, all the herbs, alliums, calendula and tagetes are particularly useful!
But also note that in some cases the control plant is sacrificial - in other words it collects all the pests. Remove this plant and you're controlling the pests!
ORGANIC PEAT-FREE COMPOST
To encourage the use of peat-free composts, and reduce plastic waste, I tried supplying 'Sylvamix Natural' (the commercial name for Sylvagrow Organic Growing Medium produced by Melcourt) . I ordered 2 huge bulk bags, filling one side of the large garage to the ceiling, and then laboriously bagged and weighed the compost in recycled feed bags.
Whilst some were delighted and very happy with their compost, it seems most people prefer to buy non-organic compost from the supermarket, despite the extremely favourable price!
As I make large amounts of compost on site for my own use, I do not need to buy in compost - nor give myself yet more hard work!
If there is ever a demand however, I will happily repeat this offer...
In the past, it was important to check that the bulbs came from cultivated stock, rather than hillsides in Turkey being dug up... or were grown in this country to reduce transport.
Nowadays, we are more aware of the damage we're doing to the environment; bees are suffering and if we lose them, we lose our pollinators - and that means no fruit. No fruits at all.
It seems that non-organic bulbs release any chemicals they have been treated with, into the pollen and nectar, which in turn affects the bees taking their first food in the Spring.
I have grown organically all my life - but bought in non-organic bulbs, to get the choice I wanted at the price others would pay.
Nothing is so uplifting as a sea of Spring bulbs, but without the accompaniment of buzzing bees, the joy and the benefits are gone....
The time has come to value the bees as much as we appreciate the flowers.
My plan is therefore to produce home-grown organic bulbs as soon as I find my next garden!