Got a gardening query? Ask our Director of Horticulture Peter Clark!
Peter has been involved in the growing industry from a very young age, beginning with helping his father during weekends and school holidays before attending Writtle Agricultural College. He will be pleased to offer any help or advice that you may need regarding the growing of your plants and will include as many of the most popular queries in this column. Jersey Choice Director of Horticulture Peter Clark answers a selection of your questions…
My father, a dedicated Plants man all his life, taught me well, he instilled into me how important watering is and to look at the plants and they will tell you what’s wrong. Air, water, temp are the three key things we need to control to get the best from plants. No amount of technology as yet can replace this fully;
Watering. I can’t emphasise enough the importance of this.
Avoid watering in hot sun thereby scorching the plants, and ideally water in the mornings so the plants won’t stay wet through the night. Water when plants show sign of wilting. Test this on a few plants as it can be a bit scary, you will build your confidence into how dry you can allow them to go. You will get a better root system and healthier plant if you make them look for water. Overwatering kills and leads to soft plants. The same as if we eat too much, only give them what they require.
Good Hygiene. Again prevention is better than cure and costs little and I can’t emphasise again how important this is. It’s good to use old pots and save money but not if you don’t clean and sterilise them before planting. Diseases are experts at surviving low temperatures and long periods of inactivity and will find always find ways to spread.
Don’t forget to…
- Grow plants where there is some air movement as still damp air leads to more disease problems. Not in a windy area though.
- If using oil burners to heat a greenhouse make sure the flame has no yellow in it as this gives off sulphur which can scorch the leaves.
- Handle plants by the roots if possible to avoid damaging them and allow disease to occur. (Similar to when we cut ourselves and get an infection.)
- On windowsills it’s best to move plants at night as once the curtains are drawn the cold air trapped can cause them damage.
- If warm outdoors place plants outside as this will acclimatise them quicker for planting out.
Should you wish to contact Peter with your gardening queries please either write to Peter’s Posers, PO Box 91, Jersey JE4 9PX or email petersposers@jersey plantsdirect.com.
Please comment below if any of you have helpful hints and growing tips that we could pass on to our other customers!