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by FloBear 18th August 2019, 8:12 pm

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» Already April in the garden !
by Chilli-head 1st May 2019, 12:40 pm

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default Already April in the garden !

Post by Ploshkin on 9th April 2019, 9:39 am

A few days ago I potted up my sweet pepper and melon seedlings.  They are now sitting on a heated mat under lights.
I moved the bag of compost out of the way this morning and realised that I had inadvertently used ericaceous compost.  Is that going to affect the growth?

I don't know whether to repot them, dig out some of the compost and replace it or feed them with something  to counteract the ericaceousness.
..... or am I worrying needlessly.

My peppers are late enough already after my initial failed germination.  They could really do without any obstacles to their progress.
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default Re: Already April in the garden !

Post by Chilli-head on 9th April 2019, 11:05 am

Oops - quick teleport of Ploshkin's post - we are in April !

According to a quick Google, ericaceous has typically ~pH 5.  And from here:

Very Acid to Alkaline Soil Tolerant Plants: The following crops have the greatest tolerance for a wide range of soil acidity or alkalinity, from about 5.0 to 7.0:

   Alpine strawberry (5.0-7.5)
   Carrot (5.5-7.0)
   Cauliflower (5.5-7.5)
   Corn (5.5-7.5)
   Cucumber (5.5-7.0)
   Dill (5.5-6.7)
   Endive/Escarole (5.8-7.0)
   Garlic (5.5-7.5)
   Parsley (5.0-7.0)
   Parsnip (5.5-7.5)
   Peanut (5.0-6.5)
   Pepper (5.5-7.0)
   Rutabaga (5.5-7.0)
   Squash, winter (5.5-7.0)
   Tomato (5.5-7.5)
   Turnip (5.5-7.0)


No melons, but other squash vegetables are listed, so I would guess they would be fairly tolerant to pH, but might like it a smidgin higher.  I'd probably just cross my fingers !  Around here, the tap water is so hard watering with that rather than rainwater would raise the pH a bit.
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default Re: Already April in the garden !

Post by Ploshkin on 9th April 2019, 11:21 am

Thanks CH, I knew you'd come to the rescue with some scientific data. Unfortunately, any water round here will be of the acid variety.
I have a bucket of limey granules from when we were liming fields. Perhaps I could poke one or two in the pots. I'll see how they go first.
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default Re: Already April in the garden !

Post by Chilli-head on 9th April 2019, 12:13 pm

How about dropping some in the watering can and letting it sit a while ? The trouble is knowing how far to go. You are probably fairly safe with the sort of lime that is crushed limestone (calcium carbonate) as it's not soluble enough to make the water very alkaline, but will neutralise the acidity. Lime of the more caustic kind - calcium oxide / hydroxide makes overdoing it more of a worry.

I like to use my woodburner ash where the garden books say lime. Got to do something with it !
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default Re: Already April in the garden !

Post by Chilli-head on 15th April 2019, 5:39 pm

It is getting to the busy season. I spent much of the weekend at the allotment or in the greenhouse. new posts for the espalier fruit trees at the allotment and weeding. Tomatoes in their final positions in the greenhouse - which means the greenhouse is at bursting point and I'm shuffling stuff to the cold frame.

While re-using Mrs-C-H's pruning pile to make pea sticks, I noticed where I had mulched with the not so great compost under the apple trees. Two obvious things - monkey nut outer shells compost very slowly. And we eat rather a lot of them ! It looks like the floor of a USA bar room Embarassed
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default Re: Already April in the garden !

Post by freebird on 15th April 2019, 10:02 pm

I've spent this afternoon dismantling the automatic watering system that was only put in last spring. Feel a bit sad about it, but hopefully it will get used again once we have a new home.
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default Re: Already April in the garden !

Post by Chilli-head on 19th April 2019, 6:18 pm

Having delivered my spare tomatoes to Dad, who seemed pretty happy to have them, I now have greenhouse space again, so I've sown butternut squash, courgettes, sweetcorn and outdoor tomatoes. And some lettuce in modules in the cold frame - this is Real Seeds very mixed lettuce, which is every bit what the name implies and rather vigorous.

Very hot out there. Too hot for mid spring Neutral
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default Re: Already April in the garden !

Post by freebird on 22nd April 2019, 3:55 pm

I thought I had talked about doing some experimental grafting, but don't know where now. Anyhow, about six weeks ago, I had a go at grafting some scions onto rootstocks - the scions being from my old Maidstone Favourite apple tree. I have done seven in total. And this is one is them:

Already April in the garden ! 20190410

It is the best, with little leaves about 15mm long surrounding clusters of blossom buds. I will allow the blossom to develop to a stage where it can be easily removed without damaging the growing shoots.

I have another three that may possibly be taking - they have breaking buds, but at the moment it is hard to tell if they are just developing on the residual sap in the scion. Time will tell.
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default Re: Already April in the garden !

Post by Dandelion on 22nd April 2019, 4:47 pm

Oh fantastic - you'll be able to take it with you!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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default Re: Already April in the garden !

Post by freebird on 22nd April 2019, 9:17 pm

Yes exactly Dandelion - that's why I have done them. I did seven, to give myself a fighting chance of success.
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default Re: Already April in the garden !

Post by Chilli-head on 23rd April 2019, 1:22 pm

Back to work today for a rest. Tired and aching from all the gardening !  I'm almost over the spring rush now, just the carrots left to sow.

I'm pleased by the sight of my attempt at espalier apples and pears at the lotty:
Already April in the garden ! Lotty_10

The chicken wire fence was originally to keep rabbits out, but the muntjac can jump it; one of the main ideas of the espaliers on wires was to give them a more challenging hurdle in a pretty and productive way.  These are all local varieties - Laxton's something or other ( Embarassed the label has faded) and Beurre Bedford pears, and a Laxton's Advance and Queenby's glory apple - the last one bred here at Wrest Park where I work. I got them a few years ago from the East of England Apples and Orchards Project. This year I've had to replace the posts (excuse the cardboard box of tools in the picture !). I was going to fit those metal spikes until I saw the price of them - so it will have to be wooden posts  replaced every 5-10 years. Once the bottom has rotted off due to ground contact, I can still find another use for the shorter top part !

The blue water butt is a new addition this winter - the council are trying to save water and urging us to do our bit.  It is a small shed, so only collects a modest amount - indeed, I ran out yesterday watering the seeds I've just planted.

I really need a neighbour who does something. That sea of weed next door has defeated a sequence of plot holders. I think they expect that when they've cleared it once, it will stay clear. Really a half day per week is the minimum to keep some sort of order. I don't know what they want; isn't part of the point of a hobby is you enjoy spending time doing it ? Ok it can be physically hard work, but so can going to the gym or running, and they don't produce an edible reward !
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default Re: Already April in the garden !

Post by FloBear on 24th April 2019, 11:18 am

Looking superb, CH. Isn't the fruit blossom glorious this year?
How galling to have a neighbouring weed patch, though.

We finally have rain this morning - worthwhile amounts so I anticipate full water butts again. A sunny BH weekend is all very well but I had to resort to watering pots and new stuff a few nights ago.
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default Re: Already April in the garden !

Post by Dandelion on 27th April 2019, 7:29 pm

Will your allotment commitee take action on the weeds? (Or rather the person who rents the weedy plot!)

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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default Re: Already April in the garden !

Post by Chilli-head on 30th April 2019, 1:05 pm

I have mentioned the weedy plot to the council before now, they said there would be a new tenant in place this spring - no sign so far. Not tried the allotment association, I don't think they are very active.

I will have to drop by and water I think. The forecasts keep promising rain, but out on the East side of the country we never get a lot ! Hopefully I will get some time this coming weekend to do a bit more outdoors. I have a few busy weekends doing other things after that.
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default Re: Already April in the garden !

Post by Ploshkin on 1st May 2019, 12:35 pm

I'm in a similar position to your weedy neighbouring plot in that all my growing spaces are surrounded by hedgerows and natural vegetation. I just have to continuously clear the sycamore, dandelion, rosebay willowherb, thistle and various other seedlings that land and germinate. I think creeping buttercup is one of the most invasive of the creeping things.
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default Re: Already April in the garden !

Post by Chilli-head on 1st May 2019, 12:40 pm

I have creeping buttercup too, but at least it seems to be safe to compost, it does not have those fleshy roots that burst into life no matter how small you chop them.

My biggest problem is horsetails, Equisetum Arvense. It is not controllable by any means (officially) available to the amateur gardener. Though I'm told Ammonium Sulphamate, sold as a compost activator, does kill it. But it is not approved as a herbicide.

Just noticed - we are still in the April garden, and it's May now !
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