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I have been using slug banish for two years now and am delighted with the results. I also have used the bio-sterilant mustard and it appears to have have made an impact on the onion white rot which has ruined my onjon and garlic for the past two years. At the present time the onions and shallots are not showing any sign of disease, and the shallots will soon be ready to harvest. I wonder if anyone else has reported this?
G. Telfer, Swanley


Cropped enlargement from the old Kent Country Nursery sign.Are Victoriana Organic?

The simple answer to this question is 'yes', we always have been! The not so simple answer is what exactly does organic mean?

The picture on the right shows our old nursery premises and was taken in 1965. From the enlarged portion it can be seen that even back then we were extolling the fact that we grew organically.

In the late 1960's and early 1970's new pesticides and fungicides were being launched onto the market virtually monthly, and were seen as the way forward - the modern progressive way! But, despite being one for innovation - automated watering, automated ventilation, heated propagating beds and other such forward thinking technologies, chemical pesticides and fungicides were one 'advancement' that Jeremy and Joan Shirley didn't want to use. From his childhood onwards Jeremy had learnt the importance of growing things naturally - recognised by the fact he was appointed Seed Manager at Chase Protected Cultivation (now Chase Organics) at such a young age (and it was Jeremy who came up with the name 'Sea Magic' for their seaweed extract range currently sold as 'SM...')

And to this day we have continued with exactly the same ethos! We haven't only just jumped on the 'band wagon' for the sake of the current popularity of 'organic'!

This all adds up to the important fact that we can pick and eat anything edible on the nursery, whether it be vegetables on the vegetable garden or 'pinching' a strawberry from a plant being packed for dispatch to a customer - safe in the knowledge that it is entirely natural and safe to eat - and that of course means that when stuff arrives with our customers its similalry safe! So, whilst we do not hold any formal organic certification we ask you to draw your own conclusions.

So What Is Wrong With The Word 'Organic'

Try a search for DDT Organic Pesticide on a search engine such as Google (research last checked 02/03/2013) and you will discover that DDT is an organic pesticide - yes, one of the most dangerous and persistent pesticides known to man is organic! Our simple comment to this... is organic the correct word for produce grown or reared without the use of nasty chemicals or artificial fertilisers? We think not!

We do not in any way wish to upset the likes of The Soil Association, Garden Organic (formerly The Henry Doubleday Association (HDRA)) or any other similar organisation or publication - but this really does need thinking about!

  1. What we in the United Kingdom may consider to be the definition of 'organically produced' is not necessarily the same definition accepted by others around the world, perhaps even in some parts of Europe.
  2. Then one has to remember that the actual legislative requirements and definitions for growing organically differ greatly from Country to Country - something that should perhaps concern us all considering the amount of imported 'organic' produce.
  3. Worse still one has to think of what are known as 'midnight sprayers' - those who claim to grow organically yet avoid the prying eye of the inspectors by using things they shouldn't at times thy know they will get away with it.


So yes, we are 'organic', but we prefer to describe our plants as 'naturally grown' - who can argue with what that means?