The Intelligent Garden developed from our Organic Nursery at Fletching Glasshouses where we grow organic vegetables, sell plants as gifts on line and supply serious gardeners with organic pest controls and a few other items that we’ve found useful as growers and which will be useful for serious gardeners like yourelf.
If you want better vegetables, a natural environment or to learn to work with nature in a practical way – you’ve come home to the right place. You’ll discover how plants grow, what they need and how to make your garden into that vibrant outdoor space you want.
In The Intelligent Garden, Science works with Nature to create a space that gladdens the heart and lifts the soul.
You can enjoy some of our favourite gardens via pictures and videos with the odd recipe to delight the inner man. So join us on this exciting adventure. You can contact us on 0845 094 0407 or 01825 724282 – Dr Alan Rae – Fletching Glasshouses – 2014
Red Spider Mites
Amblyseius – spider mite predator
They are now the commonest glasshouse pest of all.
Spider Mites are less than 1mm in size and difficult to see without a lens or microscope unless you have very sharp eyes. They often live underneath leaves, and are only active when it is warm. In winter they hibernate either as eggs, or inactive newborns which you can often spot as tiny red or orange shiny dots.
Spider mites can be spotted more easily by looking for the damage . They pierce the leaf cells with their mouthparts and suck the plant juices resulting in discolouration of the leaves and sickly looking growth, and in worst cases the death of the plant. The leaf damage initially results in a fine speckling effect on leaves where the cells have died. The pattern of the mottling varies from plant to plant, so on strawberries you will see brown spots on the underside, and in citrus these develop into yellow patches throughout the leaf. On some plants with tougher leaves the spider mite eats young growth and flower buds and may be even more difficult to spot. Ultimately they may cover the plant in a fine cobweb – they ARE arachnids after all.
You can now see what they look like in action thanks to this video which we have taken in our own nursery. It shows them on a strawberry leaf, in close up at 3 different stages of their life cycle and finally an Aubergine covered in cobwebs.
The main predators for Red Spider mite are Phytoseiulus and Amblyseius. There’s also a predatory midge called feltiella.
Here’s a picture of an Amblyseius squaring up to a Red spider mite – the Amblyseius is on the left.
Amblyseius and Red spider mite
More information here http://ladybirdplantcare.co.uk/red_spider_mite.html
Amblyseius are also good against broad mites who normally go for strawberries and flowers but which have also made hay with our pepper crops over the last couple of years.
If you need any help or advice please just ask
One of the key principles of the Intelligent Garden is working with nature to control pests.
A good way of doing this is to use predators to bring the pests back into balance. For instance we might use nematodes to control slugs and vine weevils or ladybird larvae to eat aphids.
Our sister site, Ladybird Plant Care have a long and proven record of supplying gardeners and small growers with biological controls for their gardens, allotments, conservatories, greenhouses and polytunnels.
We ourselves grow 2 acres of organic vegetables under glass at Fletching Glasshouses in Sussex and our nursery is certified organic by The Soil Association.
Over the last few years we have seen more and more people to biological pest control as a way of protecting their plants and because it works they have continued to use this approach.
In a natural ecosystem nearly every creature is food for something else and biological pest control is the act of boosting the population of a a pest’s naturally occurring predators. Because these predators are already all around us they are completely safe to children, poets and native wild-life.
Many of these predators are invisible to the naked eye so not many people have seen them. However our support staff have made some videos so that you can see what they look like an how they act.
We will be showing you these over the next few posts.
One of the delights of social media is that it’s quite easy to incorporate information from one place into another. Our vegetable production arm has its own web site which is all about Organic Vegetables in East Sussex.
It has its own blog that updates the details of what’s available when with information about what else is going on at the nursery. So thanks to the wonders of the internet you don’t have to go looking for it – you can find it here.
This is a great recipe for beetroot. It goes really well with Curries – we used to used to serve it with Keema Korma.
Simply boil the beetroot in the usual way then let it cool. It’s probably best to use about 500g of medium sized beets.
Instead of just putting vinegar on it in the usual way you serve it with an oil and vinegar dressing – which contains the secret ingredient – cardamom. I generally take 2 or 3 pods and crush them in a pestle and mortar. Pick out the husks and add to the vinaigrette ( 1 part good vinegar and 3 parts olive oil)
Pour over the beetroot and serve.
Cosmic Beetroot – with Cardamom
The cardamom makes it taste wonderful.
Yesterday I visited Tablehurst farm near here as part of a group organised by the Food academics group at the local universities. This is a community supported agriculture scheme run by a co-op of around 600 local people.
The organiser is active on the management team but in his day job is prof of land economy at the University of Brighton.
The relevance to this thread is that they got some money to do a research project into the motivation Ot the group. They chose to do this by involving one of the activists in creating an oral history.
See on Scoop.it – Communication in Business AlanRae‘s insight:
Interesting set of research projects in UK via Soil Association
See on www.organicgrowersalliance.co.uk
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