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Europe ... Jan 2014 happy New year

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Europe ... Jan 2014 happy New year

Post  plantoid on 1/1/2014, 5:26 pm



January 2014. In the UK  ( and it seems half of the rest of the world )

 

 OK OK who stole the sun and dry weather  Sad ? Who turned the taps on and forgot about them ? Laughing 

 

 The last months or so has seen extraordinary amounts of rain all over Europe , where I live it appears even wetter than usual in winter. No 

 

My builder who will be constructing our additional 36 inch high raised square foot beds has said whenever it’s fine he’ll come and start hand digging out the foundations for them.
If by Mid March there is no clear weather we may have to think about renting a construction cover over the whole20 x 35 feet area of the back garden to get it dried off a bit and allow the work to be done . What a Face 

 I can’t get the leeks and onions started in the glasshouse yet as the rain has caused the immediate hill side water table to rise so much that the floor of the glasshouse is permanently wet with about 3 mm of water. They would just end up rotting or getting hit by fungi .

It looks like I will have to try and dig a French drain around the glasshouse and run the water out via an existing land drain that exits down the hill into a field 15 feet lower than my garden …….  So much for living on a hill .


 If you are hoping to start dipping your feet into square foot gardening " Mel Bartholomew " style welcome to the site  you could do worse that look up the Berkley 18 day hot composting method and spend a few hours getting your head well educated with a very very good way of producing your own home made rich compost ready for when you take the plunge and make your " All New Square foot gardening "  ( ANSFG ) beds . The best compost makes for the best crops ,people on site will tell you that time and time again so will I.

 

 The seed catalogues are now coming in thick and fast …. go online and ask for them if you want to sit , ponder and compare things in readiness for spring plantings fro people like Suttons seeds , Fothergill , Thompson and Morgan , Harrod  Horticultural , Victorian Nursery  seeds to name but just a few that I use .

 You might also be interested in some of the ready sown plugs advertised in the catalogues for all manner of plants and veg they are sent out in good time for planting out.. they are usually better than the local garden centre stuff , it also appears to me that the varieties are from a much broader spectrum than usual  .

 

 Whilst you’re in free float so to speak consider the benefits of getting some sort of insect netting for your veg.   This wet,  warmish  winter will see an explosion of butterflies & other garden pests in early  spring  all eager to lay they caterpillar eggs on you fruit and veg.

 I found a UK company called “ Harrod Horticultural “ that sold me some very fine insect netting … it is long lasting nylon netting ( around 10 years life )  of less than 1/ 20 th of an inch per square ( 1 mm ) . I’ve not been able to source this small a mesh before.

The bog standard fleece covering is OK but it does tend to flap around and fly off in anything but a very gentle breeze.



 There is also the angle of controlling the creepies and crawlies in your gardens .   Nematodes are a bio treatment with live micro organisms the eat the pests. Nemasys nematodes are offered by many places and can be purchased in follow on treatments that arrive six week apart so you can have an effective carry over of chemical free control over a vast range of garden pests.


 I use the Nematode slug control an have found that over three years the horrific slug problem I had is diminishing  
Friends who are several years ahead of me unsing nematodes tell me that after five of six years they are almost totally slug free and only use a single application each year to keep the control " topped up ".

I'm soon to go through all my seeds and bring the eXcel lists up-to-date and order the few nesw season seeds needed to complete my sowing programme for 2014.

 

 I’ll also print off the saved home designed eXcel spread sheet form sowing list that prints out on A3 making for an easy to view and plan planner.  In fact I might just copy it and take it to the likes of 2 Office World and get them to print on card as last year’s prints on paper got a wee big ragged from being shuffled round the office like a civil servants work load  .
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Happy New Year to you too Plantoid

Post  burhinus on 1/6/2014, 5:20 pm

Hi from a newbie to the site and to SFG.  Happy New Year from west Suffolk, UK.
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Re: Europe ... Jan 2014 happy New year

Post  sanderson on 1/6/2014, 8:08 pm

Burhinus,  Welcome to the Forum!  glad you\'re here

Tell us a little about yourself, your gardening hopes and dreams . . .
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Re: Europe ... Jan 2014 happy New year

Post  plantoid on 1/7/2014, 1:54 am

Burhinus,
Welcome to the site there's a fair bunch of helpful people on here to assist you if needs be , don't be afraid to ask questions. .

 I'm not nosey , just asking you what I normally ask a new person who announces themselves

Are you a beginner or a gardener already ? How did you arrive at the site?


Have you started to make you own compost or build your beds ?

Have you managed to get hold of the book mentioned inn my strap lines ??

If you haven't already done so , perhaps take a run through the subjects that come up when your on the home page in the bobbly bits down the left hand edge just to get a decent taste of who we are and what we do .
( It took me a couple of weeks to go right through from start to finish )

Plantoid
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Re welcome

Post  burhinus on 1/7/2014, 4:06 am

Hello plantoid and sanderson.

I am a mature gardener, gardening organically for several years. Fairly recently my wife and I moved to a new home, a village in west Suffolk, UK and the soil is very heavy Clay. For this reason we have built 4 raised beds and this will be our 3rd year of growing in them.  Because space is limited I would like to max out on cropping so am interested in the concept of SFG.  I have never tried this before.

I do make my own compost, I have 2 bins made from pallets which I have lined with polythene and one is what we call in the UK a plastic Dalek TYPE bin.  I also collect leaves (3rd season) and make my own leaf mould. I will be harvesting the first load any time soon, so it is very experimental for me at this stage.

I have not purchased the book yet but the clear message on this site is buy it so that is my next move.

I found the site on my surfing travels. I picked up a blog from the UK Veg Gardeners site( ukveg gardeners.com)  and it referred to this site. Cannot exactly remember which Blog it was, sorry.

I will also now take a look at the bobbly bits on the left hand side.

In addition to growing veg organically I also try to put a lot of emphasis on gardening for wildlife and trying to develop a wildlife friendly balance in the garden.  Also planting lots of plants which are Bee friendly.
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Re: Europe ... Jan 2014 happy New year

Post  sanderson on 1/7/2014, 2:03 pm

Burhinus,  You are a big step ahead since you make your own compost.  The great thing about SFG is you don't use any soil, so you don't have to worry out its quality.  Only compost, vermiculite and fluffed peat moss.  The boxes can even sit on concrete, as I have done on concrete pavers!  Or above ground like table tops.  I grew corn and green beans in boxes suspended on 2" rocks!  Or in boxes without the trays!  The multi-ingredients in compost are important so please read the "bobbly bits" and book section on compost very carefully.

The book is very important, so happy reading!  study
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Compost

Post  burhinus on 1/7/2014, 2:38 pm

Hi Sanderson
The mixture does concern me because of the use of Peat Moss. I do not think this is widely available in UK Garden Centres as most peat bogs are now protected.
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Re: Europe ... Jan 2014 happy New year

Post  sanderson on 1/7/2014, 3:42 pm

Maybe Plantoid can help you on this matter.
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Re: Europe ... Jan 2014 happy New year

Post  plantoid on 1/7/2014, 7:33 pm

If you have a B&Q near to you  they sell big bales of "VERVE "  a compacted sedge peat & composted coir mix that is OK as both are not on the restricted lists.

 I 'm getting 20 delivered in about 10 to 14  weeks after the second stage of our landscaping is done and when the second set of 36 inch high raised beds in red engineering brick are built so that I can get on filling and settling the beds in time for additional cropping this year.

 I've already got around 200 sq feet of these high raised beds ( bust up spine and damaged left shoulder ) they are magic ,have allowed me to continue to grow our own food where as with a normal low level garden I'd have had to throw the towel in 5 years ago .


 Do remember that once you get going you'll only need an initial peat based Mel's Mix ( MM ) to give the beds the first charge . After that you use your own homemade composts to refresh the beds .



You mentioned the Dalek composter .

I have seven , six fully occupied with a very varied mix of animal & fowl dungs & various beddings of hay straw wood chip  paper and compressed use  wood mince beddings, hemp bedding ,  shredded leaf & garden waste plus shredded paper , torn cardboard , the contents of the vacuum & quite a bit of fish cleanings and fish trimmings .
The seventh is the current one for kitchen & garden waste with a few buckets of neat chicken much and the odd horse cobble . 


 All of my bins of finished compost have been liberally appointed ( discretely )with my own pee diluted at 20 parts rain water to a pint of pee.. it is a very good source of nitrogen to kick start the bin contents  into decaying .


 Those Daleks if done properly will out perform a pallet enclosure time and time again every time so long as you don't get them too wet or too dry & you turn the contents regularly to get oxygen in the pile to get the bacteria & fungi in the decay to perform at their best.

 If you have an active Freecycle in your area , it is a good place to pick up extra bins and things for your beds.


Just don't go collecting people grass cuttings or stuff from the local amenity composting operations as they are highly likely to contain all manner of toxins and long term weed killers as well as plastic bits , glass and bits of sharp metal.
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VERVE

Post  burhinus on 1/8/2014, 3:46 am

Hi Plantoid

Thanks for ther tip on VERVE, never heard of it but have a B & Q in the town where I work.  Thanks for your help so far I have purchased the book and am reading with great interest.

I also forgot to mention, albeit small, I have a wormery producing my own liquid fertiliser and worm cast soil.  Not had long enough to produce any soil yet though.

Cheers
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Re: Europe ... Jan 2014 happy New year

Post  walshevak on 1/8/2014, 5:48 am

@burhinus wrote:Hi Plantoid

Thanks for ther tip on VERVE, never heard of it but have a B & Q in the town where I work.  Thanks for your help so far I have purchased the book and am reading with great interest.

I also forgot to mention, albeit small, I have a wormery producing my own liquid fertiliser and worm cast soil.  Not had long enough to produce any soil yet though.

Cheers

Good for you. I have 2 worm bins and have harvested a 5 gallon bucket full of castings so far. I use mine for making tea to enrich my squares.

Kay

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Re: Europe ... Jan 2014 happy New year

Post  plantoid on 1/8/2014, 6:25 am

Have you found the Vermiculite register in the site ?

 The big boys like Keyline. T&P builders merchants  sell it ..usually much cheaper than insulation installing companies.
 A 100 litre bag stands about  1.2 mtr high and weighs around seven Kg

This time last year I was paying £ 22 ish per 100 litres bags , which is two bags needed  for filling  three  4x4 foot x 6 inch deep squares



 Once you get your compost going the brandling  worms in the garden will seek it out especialy if you have animal dings in the mix ( don't use cat or dog muck though as they are meat eaters and can pass on meat eater related parasitic things to humans
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Re Vermiculite

Post  burhinus on 1/8/2014, 6:58 am

Hi
Yes found the register thanks. I can purchase fairly locally.

Compost bins going well for 4 seasons now. A load to use to make my first mix very soon.
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Re: Europe ... Jan 2014 happy New year

Post  plantoid on 1/8/2014, 10:37 am

The brandling muck worms look like balls of pink spaghetti once they get going towards the end of April.

 If you bin is full of finished compost you can decant it into strong rubble bags etc. & the worms will go through the contents quite happily . Fold the tops over and weight them down seal with decent tape or with a brick etc. so no more water can get inside the bags .
I had one bag of such slop and most of the worms in it had died.

 I now have about 130 Kg in bags of home made compost that the worms have reworked again and again..it looks like  used partly dried fine coffee grounds with plenty of live worms and worm egg cocoons . I used some of it to top dress the garlic & brassicas late on in the season last year .. it's good stuff.
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Compost

Post  burhinus on 1/8/2014, 5:01 pm

One thing for sure is, after reading the book I can improve my compost production greatly. I might look to dispose of the pallet bins and go for more daleks. I also need to increase the number of times I turn.
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Re: Europe ... Jan 2014 happy New year

Post  plantoid on 1/8/2014, 6:57 pm

When you get time take an hour or so to look into " the Berkley 18 day hot composting method " by the Berkley university USA
  It has some great lists and links of what you can use to get a balanced compost in as short a time as possible.
 
 I doubt that you'll get many 18day completions over here due to the cooler weather we have  but 21 to 24 day events are easily done . Anything that a bit un composted/suspect can always go into the next batch you make .
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Re Compost

Post  burhinus on 1/9/2014, 4:31 am

Thanks plantoid

I will have read on that too. Compost is one of those things that gets left behind to do its own thing and my bins sit there for months before I need them.
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Re: Europe ... Jan 2014 happy New year

Post  plantoid on 1/10/2014, 12:31 pm

When I finally  decided to look deeper in to the 18 day method , I realized that it holds more nutrients than left alone compost because it is basically a self heated desiccated product .

Whereas the left alone stuff tends to be able to drain the nutrient rich liquids off or if uncovered the rain will help wash them out over the period of it not being worked .
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Re: Europe ... Jan 2014 happy New year

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