The rough grass between my tunnels needed its’ annual strim this week and as ever large quantities of the macerated vegetation ended up in my hair. This probably exceeded the cleaning capabilities of my Aldi soap (four bars for 99 Cent – covers my annual personal hygiene requirements) so decided to use some of the shampoo acquired by my teenage children. I was presented with a bewildering selection of bottles, some labelled conditioner, that I’m aware from previous mistakes has very little cleaning power, and some labelled “Almond Milk shower cream” that I wasn’t sure whether I was supposed to put on my porridge or hair. Eventually I found a selection of shampoos, even these came with a usage recommendation- dry hair, normal etc.- none were specifically recommended for removal of macerated vegetation (which struck me as odd as it’s one of the few occasions I would use the stuff) I settled for “normal hair” which would definitely be the case for me now; mullets, Mohicans etc. being confined to “historical” photo albums.
Unfortunately, this consumerist nightmare seems to be infecting gardening now. The same bewildering selection of bottles and cartons appears in the gardening aisle of the hardware shops. Fertilisers for every occasion, poisons for every pest and accessories for purposes I didn’t know existed. Don’t be taken in, they are just after your money! I use a very limited range of products at GROWHQ and would imagine that at home you could probably manage with even less.
To keep the soil fertile, you can use a general fertiliser, use poultry manure pellets if you want to be organic, if you have a good supply of manure or compost then you can probably manage without any additional fertiliser at all. The biggest rip off, in my opinion, is tomato fertiliser, apparently you need to apply fertiliser weekly in order to get a good crop – this is a load of testicles- I harvest tomatoes from late June to early December and do nothing but dig a moderate amount of compost and add a few poultry manure pellets into the soil before planting- that’s it!
For pest and disease control I use lots of insect net, this keeps off everything from carrot fly to pigeons. It’s quite expensive initially but you can get ten years or more use out of it so the annual cost is very reasonable (unless you give up on growing – and I can’t imagine why anyone would do that). The only chemical control I use is iron phosphate slug pellets – that’s it!
So please walk along the gardening aisle with a haughty disdain and keep your money in your pocket. Imagine the horror of your garden shed being knee deep in plastic containers like my shower cubicle – the stuff of nightmares.