From the nursery

Green compost: Applying PAS 100 green compost as a mulch or incorporating it into the soil is having multiple benefits across the horticultural sector. Disease suppression, slow release of nutrients and moisture retention are some of the advantages of using this UK-based recycled product.

Asbestos: You need to remember to update your register of buildings that contain asbestos, revise the nursery plan and produce a policy statement on an action plan outlining what to do during maintenance or in the event of an accident. This law also affects the buying, renting and selling of buildings that contain asbestos.

Water abstraction records: Some of these have to be in as soon as possible after the end of October. Fill in the details and post them to your local Environment Agency Office now. Check to see if your licence for spray irrigation stops on 31 October, so that you do not abstract water beyond your licensed period.

Frost damage: Prepare for winter protection of all your equipment that has used water during the season. Sprayers should be drained down after use now and the antifreeze level in tractors checked. Potting machine compressors collect water every day they are running, and particularly at this time of year, so make sure they are drained down. Solenoid valve tops should be loosened and lever valves set to half open. Irrigators, too, are vulnerable to sharp frosts if the draining down programme has not started yet. Remember filters that are exposed on beds and make sure they are drained.

Soil sterilisation: The recent spell of warm weather means Basamid is still effective at this time of year.

Residual pests: The following pests are still active in tunnels and glasshouses; whitefly, Western flower thrip, aphid, two-spotted spider mite, leaf hopper, leaf miner, mealy bug, vine weevil larvae and slugs/snails.

Horti Fair: A few interesting pieces of equipment were being demonstrated at Horti Fair this year. The Minicut 3000, a smaller version of the earlier model, trims smaller lines of crops and single trays and still collects the plant debris. There was a new Dosatron (liquid dispenser) made from polypropylene with improved seals to last longer when used with acid-injection systems, and Genap was showing a fully sealed floating tank cover that moves up and down with water levels and prevents the formation of algal growth.

John Adlam is managing director of Dove Associates.

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