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Good for the soul

Courtesy of Yates

According to the garden centres, everyone went nuts over buying seeds and plants before the lockdown. Many were veteran gardeners making sure they had enough supplies to keep them happy for the next month but some were newbies who will soon discover the joys of growing their own fruit and vegetables. Getting your hands in the soil is good for the soul . . .

Beautiful bulbs

During autumn there are lots of beautiful plants to enjoy now and also start sowing and growing so they will be flowering beautifully in the months ahead.

Spring flowering bulbs like daffodils, jonquils, freesias and anemones are available for planting during autumn. Planted in clumps or drifts in cool and temperate gardens, they can create a traffic-stopping display. Or a few pots full of colourful and fragrant bulbs can brighten a sunny courtyard or veranda.

Wherever you have room for bulbs, soil preparation will make all the difference, giving the bulbs the best possible start. Mixing some Yates Thrive Natural Blood & Bone into the soil not only improves and enriches the soil or potting mix, but also will provide bulbs with organic, slow-release nutrients as they send out their new roots.

And think about planting some flower seedlings amongst your bulbs. Flowers such as pansies, violas and alyssum are low-growing and will help to fill in the gaps between bulbs and provide continuing colour as the bulb flowers eventually fade. Imagine yellow pansies with yellow daffodils for an explosion of sunshine or pink English Daisies with pastel ranunculi and anemones for a beautiful cottage look.

Here are the easy steps to plant up a container with spring flowering bulbs:

1. Fill a well-drained container with a quality potting mix like Yates Premium Potting Mix.

2. For small pots, choose petite varieties like spring stars (tritelia), mini daffodils and babiana. If you have a large container, you can grow larger bulbs like giant freesias and Dutch iris.

3. Plant bulbs with the pointy end up (except for anemones and ranunculus) and around twice their height deep. For example, for a bulb that is 5cm from top to bottom, dig a hole that's 10cm deep. You can plant bulbs quite close together (so they are almost touching).

4. Place the container in a sunny spot, keep it moist and watch for the first shoots to poke through the potting mix.

5. Apply Yates Thrive Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food each week to keep the bulbs well-nourished.

Supercharge your salad

Rocket (Eruca sativa), sometimes called arugula, makes a vibrant and peppery addition to salads, pasta, pizza and pesto. Rocket leaves also contain vitamins and minerals, are low in calories and carbohydrates and being in the same plant family as broccoli, kale and cauliflower, provide a valuable source of antioxidants.

It's easy and quick to grow your own rocket at home, so you can regularly add healthy handfuls of leaves to lots of different dishes. Here's how to start a pot or patch of Yates Large Leaf Rocket:

• In a sunny or partly-shaded spot in the garden, enrich the soil by mixing in some Yates Thrive Natural Blood & Bone. If you're growing rocket in a pot, choose a pot with good drainage holes and fill with a quality potting mix like Yates Premium Potting Mix.

• Sow seed direct where they are to grow and rake lightly into the soil or potting mix, so the seed are around 3mm deep.

• Keep the soil or potting mix moist and seedlings will emerge in 10 ñ 14 days.

• Apply Yates Thrive Natural Fish & Seaweed around the root zone. This will provide the rocket with fast-acting nutrients to promote lots of tasty leaves and organic ingredients that provide gentle slow-release feeding and help to improve the quality of the soil.

• Start harvesting tender young leaves 7-8 weeks after sowing. Regularly picking leaves will help encourage fresh new tangy foliage.

• For a constant supply of delicious rocket, sow more seed every few weeks.

Keeping insect pests under control

Flushes of fresh new leaf growth and flowers during autumn can attract a multitude of sucking and chewing insect pests, that will enjoy feasting on your garden.

Insect pests such as aphids, thrips and whiteflies feed on sweet and sugary plant sap. This not only depletes the plants of important nutrients, but can cause leaves to permanently discolour and distort and sap sucking insects can also transmit plant viruses.

If that wasn't enough, these insects excrete a substance called honeydew, which the disease sooty mould can then grow on (which appears as a dark grey or black ash like covering over leaves and stems). Honeydew will also attract ants, which you can see travelling up and down plant stems.

In addition to causing mottled leaves and poor plant health, sap sucking pests like mites can also cause spider like webbing as populations increase.

Chewing insects like caterpillars can rapidly eat through lots of foliage, stems, buds and flowers.

Ornamental shrubs and trees like camellias, azaleas, gardenias, hibiscus, fuchsias and roses as well as annual flowers like petunias, violas, marigolds and calendulas can be susceptible to a range of damaging sucking and chewing insects pests.

Sometimes it's hard to know which insect pest is causing the damage so it's handy to have a spray which will control a range of both chewing and sucking insect pests.

Yates Mavrik Gun is a simple-ready-to-use spray that will control many of the most common garden insect pests on ornamental plants, including aphids, caterpillars, thrips, whitefly, two-spotted mite and European red mite. Spray foliage thoroughly when pests are seen, including underneath the leaves where insects often hide. Yates Mavrik Gun does not interfere with honey bees once spray has dried.

For larger gardens: Yates Mavrik is also available in a concentrated 200ml pack that makes up to 20 litres of spray.

Courtesy of Yates

Spring flowering bulbs like daffodils, jonquils, freesias and anemones are available for planting during autumn.
Yellow ranunculi make a cheerful display in pots.