CUTTINGS

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The Independent Online
"I don't know if your gardening correspondent is aware of companion planting," writes K Smith of Clapham, London. "A perfectly good method of keeping aphids from your roses is to plant garlic round them and, if they are particularly bad, then a tea or chilli solution can be sprayed on to them.

"This in no way affects the plants or the environment or the soil. Another benefit is it doesn't cost."

The answer, K Smith, is that, yes, I am aware of companion planting, but have had no success with it. I would be delighted to hear from other gardeners who have proven recipes for companion planting.

Please send your suggestions to me at the Independent.

Anyone who grows begonias or cyclamen, primulas or fuchsias has probably had cause to curse the black vine weevil. Irritating in its adult form, when it nibbles notches in leaves, it is much more harmful as a juvenile grub when it lives just under the surface of soil and compost and gnaws away at roots.

Commercial growers started to use biological controls against vine weevils some time ago. They are now available to amateur gardeners in the form of nematodes which you water on to pots that you suspect might be harbouring the pests.

A packet of Biosafe WDG costs pounds 9.99 and is also effective against cabbage root fly.

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