‘Honeybees get all the good publicity and hog the headlines’

We would love you to join us at our next meeting on Monday 19 March at Growing Together Westcliff at 20:00:


‘Honeybees get all the good publicity and hog the headlines’ by Roger Payne, President of Essex Field Club


Growing Together Westcliff, 47 Fairfax Drive (corner of Fairfax Drive and Prittlewell Chase), Westcliff-on-Sea, SS0 9AG


Please use the entrance in Prittlewell Chase.


Non-members £2.00 – you are most welcome!


Ryton Organic Gardens, Coventry

We formed South East Essex Organic Gardeners (SEEOG) in 1994 to promote the principles of organic gardening, which include the composting of organic waste, the protection of wildlife, the reduction of pollution and the encouragement of species diversity.   ‘Your garden is your own little patch of the world to look after. Most gardens are quite small, but there are 15 million of them in the UK. If all of these gardens were cared for organically, it would create a much better environment – for our families, plants and wildlife.’ Credit: Garden Organic’s website.   We are affiliated to Garden Organic, ‘the national charity for organic growing, we provide a range of programmes to enhance individuals, communities and the environment through organic growing.’   But are you aware of what’s going on now at Ryton? Lawrence Hills established Ryton Gardens in 1985 as home for the charity he founded, the Henry Doubleday Research Association, later to become Garden Organic. But the Board of Trustees has asked Garden Organic’s management team to look at the options. https://www.facebook.com/groups/146330316031153/ … [Read more…]

Save Ryton Organic Gardens

Lawrence Hills established Ryton Gardens in 1985 as home for the charity he founded, the Henry Doubleday Research Association, later to become Garden Organic. A year later, the gardens opened to the public to promote organic gardening. Upon his death in 1990 his ashes were scatted around the gardens and its future now lies in the hands of the Trustees of the charity. This year (January 2018), to the surprise of many members, the gardens were placed for sale with an estate agent as investment/redevelopment opportunity. Discussions had taken place with the Local Planning Authority that indicated that they would not oppose residential redevelopment provided “the openness of the green belt” in which the gardens are situated. The aim of this post is to bring to the attention of the current Trustees the strength of feeling that opposes this sale. They are: Miss Elaine Margaret Shaw Mrs Gail Coleshill Dr Margaret Lynn Eyre – Vice-Chair Mr Martin Stott – Chair Ms Judith Wayne Ms Phillipa Lyons Mrs Naomi L’Estrange Mr Andrew Collins Mr Steve Howell – Treasurer Mr Adam Alexander Mr Kevin James Wissett-Warner Dr Tania Elizabeth Sayer Mrs Marjan Bartlett-Freriks Courtesy of Save Ryton Organic Gardens: https://www.facebook.com/groups/146330316031153/ Ryton Gardens update January 2018: https://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/news/ryton-gardens-update-january-2017   … [Read more…]

Potato pests and diseases

Potatoes can suffer from a range of pests and diseases – ranging from scab, which causes superficial damage, to blight, which can destroy a whole crop. The best strategy is to take the following steps to prevent problems arising. Pest and disease prevention Variety choice: Varieties are available with resistance to blight, blackleg, scab, potato cyst eelworm and other problems. Seed potatoes: Use certified seed potatoes to avoid introducing pests and diseases. Home saved seed from healthy crops can be used for a year or two, but virus levels may build up quickly. Never save seed from a diseased crop. Crop rotation: Grow potatoes on a 3 or 4 year rotation to help avoid build-up of soil-borne pests and diseases, such as potato eelworm and scab. See factsheet GG19, Crop rotation, for more information. Soil improvement: Compost and other rotted organic materials help keep soil borne pests and diseases under control. They also help the soil to retain moisture, encouraging strong growth. Compost fed plants are less attractive to pests than those given artificial fertilisers.   … [Read more…]

Potato blight

Potato late blight is caused by the fungus Phytophthora infestans. It infects potato leaves, stems and tubers and can cause devastating crop losses. Tomato blight is also caused by the same fungus (see factsheet DC20 – Tomato Blight). Typical symptoms Leaves and stems: Dark brown/ blackish round patches, often surrounded by a pale halo. In warm, damp weather the patches quickly spread to rot the whole leaf. Stems can also be infected. The underside of the infected leaf develops a downy white coating of spores in moist conditions, particularly noticeable early in the morning. If weather remains warm and damp, the disease spreads rapidly, reducing the foliage to a rotting mass within a few days. Tubers: Dark, sunken areas on the surface, which may extend to cover the whole potato, giving a dry firm rot. Cutting the potato in half will show patches of chestnut-coloured rot starting just under the skin. Other fungi and bacteria may follow, invading the tuber to produce a wet, foul smelling soft-rot. Seemingly healthy tubers may rot later when in store. Another blight: Potato early blight (Target spot) symptoms may be mistaken for late blight. Early blight, Alternaria solani, however generally occurs earlier in the season (July) and spreads under warmer and drier conditions than late blight. The distinctive smaller dark brown spots, somewhat angular with concentric rings, are bounded by the leaf veins. Early blight rarely causes significant loss of yield and no treatment is necessary. … [Read more…]