Many times I have written these words, Garden Hygiene, as part of gardening activities, but what does it mean?
It is really quite simple; it's a bit like housework in the garden.
Where there is some form of infestation by insects, fungi or bacteria remove infested material, leaves, spent flowers and prunings and dispose of them through the rubbish or if allowed by burning. Only put in the compost if you have a very hot compost heap with temperatures up to 70C.
Ensure weeds, which harbour breeding colonies of insects, are removed and replaced with ornamental or edible plants.
Clean all garden tools straight after handling infested material to stop infection spreading around the garden.
Do not shift infected soil around the garden or transplant infected plants from one part of the garden to another. If plants are suffering from infestations of pests and diseases maybe the plant should be shifted to a new position better suited to the plant and less suited to the pest or disease but care is suggested and the plant treated to rid the problem.
Give plants a little air by pruning them back and thinning out dense plants. It is in these dense conditions pest and diseases flourish as they find a nice cozy little home to live and multiply in. One example often given is that camellias should be pruned and thinned so that a blackbird can fly through it.
Stop overcrowding of vegetable plants and ornamentals. Experiment with the best distance to plant vegetable plants apart to give the best crop as possible.
Keep this up regularly throughout the year.
Good garden hygiene is the basis of a healthy garden which in turn leads to lower maintenance and more enjoyment of the garden.