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Looking after your lawn and your greenhouse

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In the weekly Out in the Garden column, Mark Cox of Baytree Garden Centre discusses greenhouses and lawns...

Things have moved at a pace this week within the walls of HMP Shawshank. I and the G-Team have settled back into prison routine and it would appear that we have been given celebrity status by the bigger boys for escaping.

Billy is talking with film producers to re-create our story under the working title of “The not so great escape”. I think it needs work but at least it is taking Billy’s mind off the withdrawal symptoms he is suffering in his attempt to get over his Pot Noodle addiction.

It's time to clean your greenhouse
It's time to clean your greenhouse

Mr McKay has told us that if we play our cards right he could put a good word in for us with the authorities, as long as he wins the coveted title of Best Onions at the Wardens National Gardening Show.

Mr McKay has reassigned the G-Team to work within his garden and allotment. At the beginning of the week we spent the day cleaning his three greenhouses.

Anyone who owns a greenhouse or who is thinking about buying one will know that it is really important to regularly clean and disinfect the space.

So between us we removed all of the plants and began scrubbing the glass panes, frame and plant staging with disinfectant. We kept the doors and vents open to allow a through draft before popping the plants back in when done.

It’s good practice as well to regularly open the doors to your greenhouse to encourage good airflow. Greenhouses by their very nature create a warm, humid environment in which plants thrive; conversely fungus will also thrive because of the closed eco system.

On Wednesday the team started work on Mr McKay’s lawn. Leather Jackets and Chafer Grubs will be becoming more active now and they’ll be causing damage to your lawn.

These pests eat the roots of your lawn. You can tell when you have problems because you will see yellow/brownish patches of lawn and large creamy white grubs in the soil.

Nematodes are a great way to treat these types of infestations. Essentially Nematodes are little microscopic creatures that feed on pests; best of all the solution is totally organic.

It’s best to apply the Nematodes to wet grass, so apply on a day after it has rained. Mix the Nematodes with water in a watering can and off you go. The treatment is pet and child friendly which means Mr McKay’s grandchildren can continue to play on the lawn on their next visit.

I had T-Dog check for possible blackspot and aphid damage to Mr McKay’s roses and had him treat them with Rose Clear Ultra. This is my opinion really is the best product out there on the market at the moment. It’s not organic but it is effective.

After lunch on Friday we started checking for Viburnum Beetle Larvae. They start nibbling in earnest this month and if left unchecked they can cause huge damage to you Viburnum plants.

The larvae are yellow in colour with small black spots and about 5mm long. You can either pick the larvae of the plant by hand or treat with a pesticide such as BugClear Ultra.

Though once the larvae start to pupate there is no point treating as the damage is already done.

Before we’d finished I told Mrs McKay that she could try hanging fat balls in and around the plant in the hope that the birds will eat the fat balls and maybe take a few larvae while there.

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