Garden activity

Food, Nutrition and Agriculture
British Red
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Re: Garden activity

Post by British Red »

Honestly some of this "peat free" compost is total rubbish. I make far better "peat free" compost in the garden. A lot of the commercial stuff is really coarse - rubbish for fine seeds :evil:
GillyBee
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Re: Garden activity

Post by GillyBee »

I agree with you about the peat free compost but some of the peat based stuff is pretty awful too. I have been using the branded peat free and thought it was a bit "meh" so when the local discount garden centre had some peat based I grabbed a bag. Yes it is very fine but it is also bone dry and wil NOT rewet without a fight and a half. On top of that it sems to compact easily leading to a sodden mess once you do manage to water it.
I think I may try sieving some of my home made and sterilising it (I know it is full of weed seeds as it was a cold slow heap) At least it is free. That or I am going to have to start blending my own mix.
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jennyjj01
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Re: Garden activity

Post by jennyjj01 »

British Red wrote: Thu May 12, 2022 8:41 pm Honestly some of this "peat free" compost is total rubbish. I make far better "peat free" compost in the garden. A lot of the commercial stuff is really coarse - rubbish for fine seeds :evil:
I've had to buy loads of compost recently to fill planters. I've tried budget stuff, named brands, peat free and not peat free. I was tight fisted trying to get max volume for my £££! So much of it was rubbish in different ways, often with hard woody bits anywhere from brown bark to black hard (almost) charcoal. You can almost tell with some of the cheap stuff where it feels like a bundle of blankets and feels just too easy to lift. Tried some of it for seeds and it just wouldn't stay damp. Like waterproofed shredded wheat!
I mix those different types of rubbish up into my planters and they do remain quite soft and fluffy. Seems good enough for beds. At least it's weed free.

I no longer try using anything for seed pots except for explicitly stated compost for seed sowing. Most of my seed failures were probably down to using crap compost which i then watered wrongly. Most of my seed successes used expensive proper seed compost.

As for home made compost. My god that is a science. When I briefly got the mix right, in my plastic 300l tubs, the temperature soared to 65C (Yes. I'm that sad :P) and it actually smoked. But adding some grass cuttings sort of 'put out the fire' Much as I want to make great compost, I can't see myself daring to use it this year, especially for seeds.
Graceful Degradation! Prepping's objective summed up in two words. Turning Disaster into Mild Inconvenience by the power of fore-thought

Not Feeling Optimistic. Let me be wrong
British Red
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Re: Garden activity

Post by British Red »

GillyBee wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 7:48 am I agree with you about the peat free compost but some of the peat based stuff is pretty awful too. I have been using the branded peat free and thought it was a bit "meh" so when the local discount garden centre had some peat based I grabbed a bag. Yes it is very fine but it is also bone dry and wil NOT rewet without a fight and a half. On top of that it sems to compact easily leading to a sodden mess once you do manage to water it.
I think I may try sieving some of my home made and sterilising it (I know it is full of weed seeds as it was a cold slow heap) At least it is free. That or I am going to have to start blending my own mix.
I recall watching Harry Dodson sterilising potting mix on a big metal sheet over a fire - get it hot enough and it kills all seeds - how do you do it?
mbbaltic
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Re: Garden activity

Post by mbbaltic »

I quite like looking through old books on gardening, sewing, cooking etc. I remember one book where he said he used his wife's best roasting tin to fill with soil for sterilising and put it in the oven where it stank the kitchen out apparently. To say his wife was not a happy bunny would be an understatement!
British Red
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Re: Garden activity

Post by British Red »

jennyjj01 wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 9:07 am
As for home made compost. My god that is a science. When I briefly got the mix right, in my plastic 300l tubs, the temperature soared to 65C (Yes. I'm that sad :P) and it actually smoked. But adding some grass cuttings sort of 'put out the fire' Much as I want to make great compost, I can't see myself daring to use it this year, especially for seeds.
It's not really difficult - just put a good mix of "green" and "brown" material, nothing too coarse or tough ( like cabbage stalks)

This is straight from the composter - it would want sieving before being used for seeds, but this is destined for earthing up potato sacks and it's fine as is

ImageHome made compost by English Countrylife, on Flickr
GillyBee
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Re: Garden activity

Post by GillyBee »

Sterilising soil is not something I have really done before. I would start with some research in my oldest gardening books but would probably be thinking of something along the idea of steam/hot water type sterilisation for small quantities at a time. And definitely outdoors - I do not imagine boiled woodlouse or earthworm smells very good - even though I would remove as many as i could by sieving before starting to sterilise.
British Red
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Re: Garden activity

Post by British Red »

Let us know how you get on?

The Victorian kitchen garden TV series showed it IIRC
British Red
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The Hungry Gap is over

Post by British Red »

I thought a little demonstration of our potato approach might be interesting. We sack grow our potatoes in feed sacks - its something we've had great interest in on the channel. We do this by cutting holes in old feed sacks and rolling them down. Chitted seed potatoes are planted in 6" of home made compost.

ImagePotatoes in sack by English Countrylife, on Flickr

Because we do this early we can start the potatoes in the greenhouses before moving the sacks outside when we need greenhouse space for other crops. Its perfectly possible to start again in Autumn harvesting fresh potatoes in December

ImageFirst early potatoes by English Countrylife, on Flickr

Our " First Early" variety (Sharpes Express) is very large nor - maybe 30" tall and the sacks are fully unrolled

ImageFirst early potatoes by English Countrylife, on Flickr

What is interesting to note is that they are now about to flower - which means that New Potatoes can be harvested (by emptying the sack into a wheelbarrow)

ImagePotato flower by English Countrylife, on Flickr

Later varieties are growing on - but by working greenhouses and varieties, its perfectly feasible to harvest spuds for at least 6 months

ImageMain crop potatoes by English Countrylife, on Flickr
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jennyjj01
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Re: Garden activity

Post by jennyjj01 »

British Red wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 11:46 am
jennyjj01 wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 9:07 am
As for home made compost. My god that is a science. When I briefly got the mix right, in my plastic 300l tubs, the temperature soared to 65C (Yes. I'm that sad :P) and it actually smoked. But adding some grass cuttings sort of 'put out the fire' Much as I want to make great compost, I can't see myself daring to use it this year, especially for seeds.
It's not really difficult - just put a good mix of "green" and "brown" material, nothing too coarse or tough ( like cabbage stalks)
Hmmmm. Even your good stuff has chunky bits in, which makes me feel better. I transferred mine from composter 1 to composter 2, effectively turning it upside down. The best stuff that was at the bottom probably looked more soil like than yours but still had a bit of greenness in it. I was chuffed that the load of corrugated cardboard and egg boxes that went in had completely disappeared. One or two long white roots were in there from surviving rejected spuds which I hadn't chopped up.
I've added some of last autumn's partly decomposed leaf mould to it and it seems to love that and roars into life. Don't know if leaves like that are maybe better just decomposed separately in bags, but I figured variety is the spice of life. I'm fortunate to live on a housing estate with ample groves of trees, and have been known to 'help tidy up' the piles of autumn leaves littering the footpaths. Golden goodness straight to the mix..
Graceful Degradation! Prepping's objective summed up in two words. Turning Disaster into Mild Inconvenience by the power of fore-thought

Not Feeling Optimistic. Let me be wrong