Ram­pant basil flavour of the month

Franklin County News - - GARDENING -

pro­lif­i­cally and are mag­nets for bees. Brush­ing against the leaves re­leases a won­der­ful scent too. line as well, but don’t mulch around the trunk of the tree to avoid col­lar rot.

If you’re grow­ing citrus in con­tain­ers, feed them now and in sum­mer with a slow-re­lease fer­tiliser, then give them an ex­tra boost of TLC by ap­ply­ing a liq­uid fer­tiliser once a month. Re­fresh the pot­ting mix in pot­ted citrus ev­ery two years.

If you’ve just planted a new citrus tree and it’s flow­er­ing, re­mem­ber that it’s a good idea – al­though re­quires an ad­mirable amount of willpower – to take off the de­vel­op­ing fruit in the tree’s first sea­son so that it can de­velop a strong root struc­ture. If you can’t bring your­self to do that, know­ing that means no citrus next win­ter, com­pro­mise by re­mov­ing at least half of the fruit. achieve great heights of 1.5m at least!

PRAC­TISE POP­U­LA­TION CON­TROL

The first blowfy buzzed by and re­minded me to re­fresh the fly traps. A fe­male blowfly can lay around 2,000 eggs in a life­time. Deal­ing to a few flies in early sum­mer will cut down the num­bers later. Use a com­mer­cial trap and bait or make your own. Cut across a plas­tic bot­tle about one third of the way down from the top. Put bait in the bot­tom sec­tion. I use a mix­ture of yeast, a lit­tle sugar and some warm wa­ter which builds up a stink af­ter a cou­ple of days. Or use a small piece of meat, rot­ting fruit or cat food. In­vert the top. Add a wire han­dle and hang where flies tend to con­gre­gate – usu­ally in sunny, shel­tered spots – but where the smell won’t bother you or the neigh­bours.

The flies can get in the hole at the top but can’t fly back out. They even­tu­ally die and fall into the liq­uid. The wa­ter level needs top­ping up now and then. Empty traps when they start to fill up. Warmer weather means other pests are gear­ing up for a breed­ing frenzy. Look out for fluffy bums (ju­ve­nile pas­sion­vine hop­pers), mos­quito wrig­glers, aphids, mealy bugs, green vege bugs and scale. Squash the early ar­rivals to slow the pop­u­la­tion ex­plo­sion. You won’t get them all – there’ll be some left to feed the preda­tory ben­e­fi­cial in­sects that will help main­tain a bal­ance.

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