Thursday 29 June 2023

What's in Multi Purpose Compost

Dean Mears over on the Friendly Gardeners Facebook Group posted a brief and not exclusive list about potting compost and various additives. Those more experienced will have their own views, but there may be some information of interest to some and to newbies.

Dean posts a lot of interesting information and is well worth following.

Most potting soils are made up largely of peat moss, bark, and perlite. (Perlite looks like tiny white pellets; it's actually heat-puffed volcanic glass, included to keep the mixture from being too dense.) The best potting compost for your plants is the one you have researched and contains the correct mix and amount of ingredients and drainage materials.
Breakdown by component:
Peat — the basis of most mixes and used in high proportions. Spongy and holds water. It is no longer acceptable to use this so add coconut coir instead.
Perlite — white, light, pebbles formed from superheated volcanic glass. Aids in aeration and water control.
Sand — silicon dioxide. Aids in water drainage. Horticultural sand is the right structure to drain water, contains the correct minerals and should have been washed. If you are on a budget use builders or sharp sand and try to wash it, out of caution.
Vermiculite — helps hold water and provides a slow leak of micronutrients and places for fungi/microbes to aid the plants growth.
Wood chips/Bark — decaying organic matter that provides a slow release of macronutrients and is a “denser sponge” than peat. If cut coarse, can aid in drainage.
Compost — nutrient-rich and microbe rich matter that aids in plant growth. Smells earthy. Well rotted horse manure is a good additive to this.
Glass/Rocks — cheap filler found in not-so-great mixes. Although the rocks could provide a trickle of micronutrients, their weight is enough to make them a lousy ingredient.
Coconut Coir
Retains moisture, creates air pockets for excess moisture to drain away and provides a good environment: Coco coir is one of the most effective growing media for water retention out there. It can absorb up to 10x its weight in water, meaning the roots of your plants will never get dehydrated.
Leaf Mulch - Called 'gardeners gold' it is free, full of nutrients and good fungus and micriorganisms and adds great drainage.
Manures - are strictly speaking derived from animal faeces, urine and bedding, typically straw but sometimes wood chips or hemp fibre. Manure can retain residual weedkiller so the source should be considered.
Mushroom Compost - Is so high in organic matter. It can be used as a soil conditioner and as a mulch. Using mushroom compost will improve your soil's structure and water retention and add nutrients.
Worm castings - The humus in earthworm castings is promoted as helping increase soil's water retention, improve soil aeration and anchor plant nutrients that would otherwise leach away with water. Also, feed beneficial soil microorganisms that produce, store and slowly release plant nutrients into your soil to feed plants.
Virtually no nutritious value and unlikely to be significantly more beneficial, pound for pound, than an organically rich compost or manure mixed with coconut coir.
Garden Soil - Ordinary garden soil is not recommended as a potting mix. It’s usually too heavy and may contain weed seeds, diseases, and insect pests.

Sunday 25 June 2023

Morning Raid

Daughter Emma did an early morning weeding raid on my allotment for me and weeded around the paths and the square foot garden beds again this morning bless her. She did help herself to some raspberries for breakfast.

Urban Jungle at home

Tomatoes at home in Flower Buckets

I got the excess tomatoes brought back from the allotment into flower buckets and the urban jungle in the back garden whilst it was in the shade this morning.

Visited the allotment plot between 6:00 - 7:30pm to water inside and out and whilst there took a series of photos of the Westland Horticulture V Dalefoot Composts tomatoes and I have to say with two of the Dalefoot Compost tomatoes curling up their toes and the huge difference in the growth of the pairs of tomatoes Westland has won hands down so far, I really can't see the Dalefoot tomatoes catching up.

Update At the end of the challenge Westland won hands down for the size, amount of fruit and the general well being and healthy plants it produced. I will be using their tomato compost and feed again in 2024.

Westland V Dalefoot Tomato Compost Challenge.

Saturday 24 June 2023

Another 22 Paving Slabs

A big thank you to my daughter Emma and her husband Andy for helping me to collect and lay 22 more 450x450mm paving slabs from Freecycle in the form of 4 new paved paths on my allotment this morning, and for watering my plot and potting shed following my surgery on Tuesday.

After lunch with Emma & Andy I popped back to the allotment in the afternoon with composting materials from Andy's gardening clean up and topped up two active Daleks up to the top again.

Thursday 22 June 2023

Swollen Face

Two days after the surgery and the swelling is subsiding but the bruising is coming out plus having had surgery three times in my mouth it feels somewhat different, tender and very sore in there at the moment. This then gets one thinking about how it's going to feel after the reconstructive surgery.

I've definitely feel like I've had enough pulling about and I'm obviously concerned about what they are going to find and how that will effect the amount of reconstruction they will need to do, and how it will effect my life expectancy.  

Yet still with this going on all I want to do is get to my allotment for some allotment therapy and mental healing  

Tuesday 20 June 2023

Jaw Biopsy 4th try

So far I have had two teeth removed and two biopsies taken each time, they have also taken two biopsies via my neck into my mandible and a number into my lymph glands in my neck and still George's(The tumour) real name and identity is unknown, so now as I've been to the limit of what I can ensure using local anaesthetic the plan is to have me in and put me under a general and take samples and a section of jaw. 

Kelly came with me but was not allowed in the waiting room area so sat outside but kept a watchful eye on me. Then I was taken in to the prep area, got changed and then down to have the general anaesthetic.  

Photo I sent the girls as Emma was also now waiting to get her Dad back, once I had woke up and was in the recovery room 

Photo I sent the girls before going to bed, yep the face had swollen more and would continue to swell for the next couple of days making eating a real struggle.  

Monday 19 June 2023

More Ventilation


Using my new Ryobi Jig saw I cut the shed timber behind the weather louvers  

Using my new Ryobi Jig saw I cut the shed timber behind the weather louvers  

Sunday 18 June 2023

Comfrey Pipe

Picked up my most recent Freecycle Allotment related acquisition in a couple of new unused 100mm drainage pipes that one at least is going to become another Comfrey Pipe and as for the other perhaps some pipes for growing long bugs bunny type carrots.

I will find some use for the fitting I'm sure, it just has not occurred to me yet! Do you have any ideas?

Saturday 17 June 2023

Raspberry Harvest

Another warm sticky afternoon on the plot this afternoon.

I basically had to recover the Raspberries that had collapsed into the path between beds and pull them back up using elasticated bungie straps and then set about putting in some timber supports to hold the other 3 beds back such that I could pull the volunteers that have grown up in the paths and pull the Mares tail out of the paths.
The beds in the Greenhouse Climbing Frame were cleared of weeds and the cucumbers, Luffa and sweet peas were helped up the mesh walls.
I know we are supposed to have rain in the next few days, but I gave everything another good watering early evening tonight.

Friday 16 June 2023

Site Inspections

An early morning visit to the allotment as Jane came to do the plot inspections today.

With getting the tomatoes out and into the ground yesterday, I potted up a few more tomatoes and have taken the rest home to transplant in the back garden allowing me to organise the top level of the staging a little better, and have taken some photos of the eight pairs of tomatoes in the Westland Horticulture V Dalefoot Composts challenge or head to head, and I have to say the results so far are not what I was expecting.
In the past a couple of years ago when I did this head to head grow off, Dalefoot Compost produced much healthier looking plants than westland Compost and with the new Comfrey added to Dalefoots Tomato compost I was anticipating that once again Dalefoot would come out on top.
However I have to say that when I transplanted the seedlings into the two different composts they were more or less the same size, I selected plants from the various batches I grew that were as near the same size and shape to make the grow off as fair as possible.
As you will see the results so far is that not only are the westland plants more or less twice as large as the Dalefoot (Indeed one Dalefoot plant has curled up and died) but the westland plants now have flowers forming and I will start feeing with the westland BIG TOM feed.
Therein lies the problem, the Dalefoot is supposed to have enough feed in it that one should not need to feed the plants but if I don't feed them are they ever going to catch up with the westland plants?
So I have some seaweed feed, should I perhaps feed the Dalefoot with the sea weed or perhaps feed both sets of tomatoes with the westland BIG TOM Feed?
Please tell me what you think I should do to move this experiment forward?

Thursday 15 June 2023

Transplanting Tomatoes

Temperature was 44.8C in the potting shed when I arrived at 2:39pm and opened the door and windows, By 2:50pm it was down to 40C, At 3:23pm it was down to 35.7C, at 4:00pm it was down to 34.4C and finally when I left at 5:40 and the potting shed was finally in the shade it was 27.1C

The plot fox Basil found what looked like a bread roll on Paddy's plot

Making Planting Membrane last night and this morning and transplanting 6 Tomatoes into two half width beds out on the plot this afternoon.

Tuesday 13 June 2023

Improving Air Flow

When you visit the Forest Garden Potting shed on your plot and it's 40C inside and you need to do something, anything to improve the air flow when you can't get down there to open the door and the windows. Ryobi battery operated jig saw on its way I will cut the whole section out when it arrives to increase the volume.

Monday 12 June 2023

Rain Stops Play

 When you are half way through watering your plot and this happens. Each video it gets slightly worse.

We could have a little rain

I think I should have turned the hose off!

I've left it too late to close the door !!

WTF Hailstones!

Slush Puppy Time

I'm not going to need to top up the pebble pool for a while

Sunday 11 June 2023

Trimming Paths etc.

40C in the potting shed this afternoon when I visited to water before the thunder came but with very little rain to accompany it.

Trimmed the grass in front of the boundary bed and returning around the greenhouse climbing frame with the old strimmer as I had charged the battery and found a job lot of blades.

Filled 48 loo rolls with compost and sowed Beetroots to get them going and hopefully a little ahead of the slugs and snails.

The woodchip pile is all but gone now in the car park so we need to arrange for a fresh drop off.