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Slugs and Snails are coming 31 May 2011
Tonight they're out in force. I spotted one on the wall near my Hostas, so I nipped in to get my camera. When I got back there was three of them. Here's two that are thinking about having a beer whilst the other one was watching from the wall. There was a lot of wild life out tonight including a massive Stag Beetle, but it was these littler blighters that were of most interest. I have been using a cheap beer from Sainsbury's but I am convinced that they are more attracted to the stronger beers (this one was only 2.1%) so I am going to do some more experimenting. I believe the stronger the beer the further away the slugs will come to have a taste. There was a about another 5 slugs on the patio so it will be interesting to see in the morning how many end up in the trap.

Next Day 1st June... That's interesting - There were only three slugs in the trap and I have to assume these were the three that I saw last night. It does seem odd that there were so many about around the garden when I checked but only three in this particular trap. My Hostas are still free from holes, so I am guessing that this is because the "smell" coming from the cheap beer is not powerful enough to attract slugs from a distance and/or there is not enough alcohol in the beer to kill every one.

It won't be a conclusive test but I'm going to try a stronger, richer beer this time and I will put a second trap in the same area with a strong Lager in it . Having two traps close together won't tell me which one attracts slugs and snails from a distance best but it should tell me which one has the most pulling power close to the plants I'm trying to protect. I'll keep you posted.

Tomato Leaf Curl 19 May 2011
Leaf Curl! I've just had a question from one of our customers asking why the leaves of the tomato plants in one of their grow bags have curled up into little balls. Basically they were over feeding them and looking at the picture probably started feeding too soon.

Grow Bags are full of nutrients anyway but you wouldn't expect to start feeding until you see the first tomatoes forming.

A quote from a website specialising in tomato growing at an industrial level says:

"New leaves twist and curl downward into a ball-like growth, stems and internodes between leaves very short
- nitrogen too high with low boron.  Increasing boron to roots may not help but boron sprays at top of plant helpful.  Decrease nitrogen or restrict water which in effect decreases nitrogen availability".

That's the technical way of saying you've use too much Tomorite and might be over watering them as well. I've been looking for a Boron spray but without luck so far. I've identified products like BFS LiquiTec Boron, or Calibor or HORTI-CHEL Calcium+Boron but can't find out where to get them from so I asked at a local Hillier's Garden Centre. The very helpful lady there said they haven't stocked such a product for years but recommended cutting back foliage. If you cut back some of the lower branches the leaves above, that aren't growing correctly, will have to start to grow out instead of curling up. We'll see what happens

Beer or Lager? 15 May 2011
There's been quite a bit of "research" into what slugs and snails prefer. Whether they go for beer or lager and do they like strong flavours. One thing for sure is that it is the yeast they are attracted to. I found some work that an agrucultural student had done where he tested many different types of beer and lager (very suspicious) but the conclusion he came to was that Tescos cheapest beer worked the best. I have been using beer from the One Stop shop accross the road but I spotted Sainsbury's Basic Bitter whilst shopping today, at 98p for a pack of four. It's only 2.1% but at that price it's worth a try. I'll monitor it over the next few days and let you know what happens.

R & D - Uni-Grow 15 May 2011
New Product Developments : Uni-Grow Oak. We've just been experimenting with a composite version of the Uni-Grow. The picture here shows a prototype that uses wooden "planks" instead of plastic. Plastic gives us a product that is light weight so product costs as well as packaging and shipping costs can be kept to a minimum, it's easy to clean and can withstand all kinds of weather. The Uni-Grow, after all, was designed to be a functional and practical gardening aid. However we have been looking into what our customers want and we have had feedback suggesting that some customers would be prepared to spend more on a version of the Uni-Grow that had a quality look. What we are hoping to have available towards the end of this season is a grow bag holder that includes some of the components of the existing Uni-Grow but the plastic planks are replaced by Oak. This version may appeal to gardeners that want to concentrate on more aesthetic planting than edible produce but it can of course be used for anything where you want to exploit the benefits of the Grow Bag.

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A bit of rain 09 May 2011
Rain is always good news for some and bad for others. The rain this weekend was great for the garden and lawns should be looking a little better this week. So for the keen gardener and the allotment owner the odd shower of rain will be good news but may also waking up all those pesky slugs and snails, especially when things are looking a lot greener. I have been checking my slug traps over the last few days and particularly this morning and seen quite an increase in numbers. It's been over two weeks since I last topped them up so it's time to replace the beer I think. I've also noticed an increase in growth in my tomatoes and have been pinching out the side shoots. I can also see that flowers are beginning to appear so I have started feeding them with Tomorite!

GYO Show - Loseley Park 02 May 2011
A hot but windy bank holiday weekend. Apparently not as busy as other shows which was probably because we have just had four bank holidays in the space of eleven days. However the show was great for us because business was pretty good. Not just because of sales but because of the fantastic feedback we had about our new products. Uni-Grow, the growbag holder that holds the grow bag on its side for better root growth, seems to have attracted a great deal of attention. The general view was that it is a clever product and it's great to hear that most people instantly recognise the fantastic benefits of our grow bag system. We are still developing new additions to the system so your comments will help us focus on what really matters and hopefully we can supply British designed and manufactured gardening aids that really meet the needs of our customers. Add our website to your favourites so you can come back in the future and see what we've been up to. Bookmark this page!

Blog for Kakoi 29 April 2011
Kakoi now has a blog. Over the coming months we will be keeping our visitors up to date with new and existing products and about any developments we are undertaking to improve how we are working towards a better service. We welcome any comments, good or bad as we strive to provide you with what you want and need.

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