Professor Geoff Dixon
Professor Geoff Dixon is managing director of GreenGene International. He is a consultant and author and senior research fellow at the University of Reading’s Centre for Horticulture & Landscape.
Seaweed extracts are valuable promoters of biocontrol. They stimulate benign soil and foliar microbes, which help repel plant pathogenic bacteria and fungi.
Titles mean a lot. When Defra was formed in 2001, "agriculture" was deleted from its title. Environment, food and rural affairs were then fashionable terms. Agriculture, in the widest sense including horticulture, was politically very unfashionable. Hence Great Britain became one of very few countries where the essential rural industry and dominant formative landscape force was lost.
Our world is green. Coniferous forests, prairies, tropical rainforests and the smallest backyard gardens are all green because plants contain chlorophyll. This substance is the framework in leaves and stems where water and carbon dioxide are turned into life's building-blocks. It is outlined in school textbooks. Processes that construct natural materials require energy. Here it comes from sunlight in the process of photosynthesis.
Our world is green. Coniferous forests, prairies, tropical rainforests and the smallest backyard gardens are all green because plants contain chlorophyll.
Imagine the world before lightweight composts, plastic pots and garden centres. Plants were sold bare-rooted or in heavy clay pots filled with loam compost. Trading was slow, reliant on post, railways or collection.
Vegetable growers' returns are the same as 15 years ago. This resembles the predicament in the dairy industry.
"Why waste land on allotments? They are valuable brownfield sites for building, thereby easing the housing shortage. In any case, the supermarkets and others supply all the fresh food we need."
Biostimulants - a good idea when they work. That was an industrialist's view in the 1990s. Cynical maybe, but at the time their intricate modes of action were not understood. Consequently, guidance for use was very rudimentary and resultant efficacy was equally erratic.
Price deflation is a great idea for the retail consumer, at least in the short term. The supermarkets and other large retailers are scrambling over each other offering low prices right now.
Sustainability is a vitally important concept but it has been bandied about for so long that it is now clichéd.
The National Trust owns fantastic gardens. They chart English gardening's evolution from early enclosed knot gardens through parklands to the intimacies of suburban owner-occupied plots and all in-between.
Supermarkets sales account for more than 90 per cent of fruit and vegetable retail purchases.
Disease profile for field vegetable growers, by Professor Geoffrey Dixon.
Living and working with plants alleviates stress far more effectively than drugs. That was the message given by Reading GP William Bird to Brisbane's International Horticulture Congress.
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