Weekend Work: Time to protect your peaches
Saturday 29 January 2011
What to do
Peach leaf curlis on outdoor peaches is caused by an irritating fungus, Taphrina deformans. You can spray now with fungicide, before the leaves appear, but the best preventative is a rainproof cover. This is only practical with wall-trained specimens and air must circulate under the cover. If pollinating insects can't get in, you'll have to pollinate flowers by hand.
To build up a collection cheaply, take hardwood cuttings from specimens in friends' gardens. Buddleia, dogwood, mock orange can all be propagated this way. Choose strong, healthy stems as thick as a pencil. Cut them into lengths about 15-20cms. Mark the top with a slanting cut above a bud, so you know which way up to plant it. Remove all the leaves from the bottom half and cut the rest of them in half. Dip the bottoms in hormone rooting powder and push into the ground. They'll take a year to develop; then grow them on before setting them in their final positions.
What to buy
Garden Organic is holding a sale of potatoes today (members only) and tomorrow (open to all) where you can choose from 130 different varieties. If choosing is too hard, ask one of the experts on hand to pick some out for you. The sale is at Ryton, Coventry CV8 3LG and is open from 10am-4pm. Admission £6. Call 0247 630 3517 or go to gardenorganic.org.uk.
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