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Adding volume to an old SFG bed

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Adding volume to an old SFG bed

Post  plantoid on 4/19/2016, 8:24 pm

As my ANSFG beds were made up with re-hydrated fluffed up sterile compressed dehydrated coir waste that has decomposed far quicker than natural peat does my beds have needed topping up with similar or peat .

 To make a topper up using fresh coir would cost me about £ 8 ( $ 11.00 USD ) per bed times 21 beds . As the pocket money Angel isn't due for a few more weeks it's been causing me gardeners  heartache. ( She gave me a couple of £ 100 a few days ago for stuff for my lathe & Man cupboard in general ) .

 Last week I joined a reasonably local to me national organisation called " The Men's Shed " where any male who is at a loose end , recuperating from physical or mental problems , retirement , bereavement & simple carers loneliness etc.can come along for a cup of tea / coffee & a biscuit to escape the confines of their home environment for a few hours each Tuesday & Wednesday from 10,00 till 15.30 hrs each week . It's a successful charity thing that has been running for a couple of years up & down the UK .

 At our group we do sessions of  wood work stuff , light mechanical , light  welding , gardening etc etc. for which we have had the necessary equipment given or on permanent loan from the local education authorities after they have upgraded things in the local schools ( we get their  old stuff )

 In th gardening area there is a hundred foot long by 40 feet wide or so commercial grade pollytunnel C/W running water & power.  The main gardening area is inside the tunnel . It's a massive raised bed three feet high with walls made out of old car tyres wired together some 70 feet long by 20 feet wide.
 The only way to work it is to get some steps & walk all over the raised bed  which could be a bit dodgy for the likes of me on two crutches or any other infirm or unsteady person .

 It used to be the local authorities plant raising center where they grew all the plants for parks , street  tubs , hanging baskets,  crematoriums & offices etc. The soil in the raised bed is commercially produced top of the range John Innes seed raising / potting grade soil. ( many thousands of £ 's / dollars worth ) .

 As I was being shown round I spied a stack of dried out used but still filled commercially produce hanging basket that are put up as part of the spring & summer  street furniture each year in various villages / towns  within the county .  " Hmmm " , I said " Those spent baskets will make a great addition into the big bed for water retention & oxygenation "  .
You could have heard a pin drop .
" Naw , we don't use that muck , it's not real soil " , said the guy who is a retired ex council worker who spends a lot of time in the tunnel , " We are hoping to get a skip /dumpster in next week and get rid of it , wash the containers & sterilize them  , the council will refill them , we'll plant them up for the council , they will hang them off lamp posts etc and we'll go round towing a water bowser when needed to ensure that the sumps of the baskets& planters etc  are topped up with nutrient water ".  " We as a charity get paid for doing that , it's cheaper for the council & taxpayer as we don't have to have wages or pensions from them , plus it's great fun on a nice sunny day going round with the bowser  , water pump & hose or some hand-helds doing the watering.

 They have to use virgin peat and factory lab produced  hydroponic chemical type nutrients because of the likelihood of water from the hanging baskets dripping on kids & adults if it's been raining hard for a few hours and the sumps of the baskets become full & start overflowing leachate .. There is no organic dung based manures or liquid fertilizers allowed....as it's  far too risky ..... they'd be sued left right & center at the drop of a handkerchief by some of the professional income generating brigade  .

"  Oh " said I , "What's the chance of me buying a couple of small trailer loads of the spent fillings from the baskets & planters "
 " They're yours for the taking , we won't have to hire the 8 cubic metre waste skip or pay to have it emptied " was the chorused reply .


 So this morning with a bit of help of some of my new friends  I managed to get two  4 foot x 3.5foot  x 1.5 foot deep  small car trailer loads of that  last year spent compost mix from public space / amenity / street lamp post sited hanging baskets with the likelihood of another one or two trailer loads more to come next week .

 All they have had in them is four or five  long trailing hanging basket annual plants. On pulling out the dead plants , each hanging basket yielded two three gallon buckets of  a pure peat content and a dessert spoon of those 1/8 th inch diameter round balls of slow release nutrient granules. Plus a big bonus 1 & 1/2 to 2 inch diameter flattish red corms in about 12 of the containers .  I don't know what they are yet  so I'll be planting them out on my flower beds to see what pokes it's nose up .

 All in all it's been a hard , tiring but very successful day , because I've managed to get one of the two trailer loads cleaned of big roots & broken apart any mats of fine hair roots so the peat crumbles through my hands  .

The cleaned peat was then added to two raised veg beds to bulk them back up level with the top of the brickwork and also used as a two to three inch deep mulch layer on the front garden flower borders ( 30 x 2 foot wide's  worth ) .

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Re: Adding volume to an old SFG bed

Post  Kelejan on 4/20/2016, 12:28 am

How wonderful for you, Plantoid.  One man's trash is another man's treasure.

It is always amazing how true that is.  e.g. I often get given to me turkey and chicken carcasses.  I strip off the meat, then cook the remains so get more meat and  anything else that is edible, and lots of broth.  Mix the three together and I  get lots of meals for my little dog. At $2 per meal I often get $30 worth of meals from a large turkey for a little effort.

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Re: Adding volume to an old SFG bed

Post  sanderson on 4/20/2016, 4:24 am

@Kelejan wrote:How wonderful for you, Plantoid.  One man's trash is another man's treasure.
What a waste to have disposed of that material. So, so glad you were able to rescue it with the help of your friends. I think the Men's Shed is a great idea.

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Re: Adding volume to an old SFG bed

Post  plantoid on 4/20/2016, 5:22 am

Laughing  The Men's Shed idea is a poke in the eye for the rabid feminists ,   cheers It has been specifically set up as a medical benefit for males to allow escape from such creatures , Wink

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Re: Adding volume to an old SFG bed

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/20/2016, 7:46 am

Woo-Hoo! Great score!

And men DO need to get away from us every so often. I see it with DH's poker group. Some of the wives just pitch a fit when hubby wants to go play. Me? "Have fun! Go! Go!" (Give me a break too, lol!)

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Re: Adding volume to an old SFG bed

Post  Kelejan on 4/20/2016, 11:45 am

@AtlantaMarie wrote:Woo-Hoo!  Great score!

And men DO need to get away from us every so often.  I see it with DH's poker group.  Some of the wives just pitch a fit when hubby wants to go play.  Me?  "Have fun!  Go!  Go!"  (Give me a break too, lol!)

I agree with you, Marie. Very Happy

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Re: Adding volume to an old SFG bed

Post  sanderson on 4/20/2016, 1:15 pm

Amen.

If the men in the group are good guys, nothing wrong with a couple hours away from the little woman.

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Re: Adding volume to an old SFG bed

Post  yolos on 4/20/2016, 1:26 pm

@Kelejan wrote:
@AtlantaMarie wrote:Woo-Hoo!  Great score!

And men DO need to get away from us every so often.  I see it with DH's poker group.  Some of the wives just pitch a fit when hubby wants to go play.  Me?  "Have fun!  Go!  Go!"  (Give me a break too, lol!)

I agree with you, Marie. Very Happy
I always saw it as the women need to get away from the men every so often.

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Re: Adding volume to an old SFG bed

Post  Windmere on 4/20/2016, 2:23 pm

@yolos wrote:
@Kelejan wrote:
@AtlantaMarie wrote:Woo-Hoo!  Great score!

And men DO need to get away from us every so often.  I see it with DH's poker group.  Some of the wives just pitch a fit when hubby wants to go play.  Me?  "Have fun!  Go!  Go!"  (Give me a break too, lol!)

I agree with you, Marie. Very Happy
I always saw it as the women need to get away from the men every so often.
Perhaps it's mutual? We all need moment so organize our head and decompress.  For me it's when I do mundane yard work outside.  I do some of my best thinking mowing the lawn or weeding.

Plantoid, wow what a score you made!  It was interesting to read how careful your council is with regard to fertilizer/composts.  It equaled a nice haul for you.

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Re: Adding volume to an old SFG bed

Post  plantoid on 4/21/2016, 5:15 am

Evidently the great care not to use bacterially live / manured growing mediums in the public flower basket fillings is a UK wide public health one .

Apparently some years ago a Wayne & Waynetta put their year or so old kiddy in it's push chair under a dripping lamp post hanging basket , because they though it was funny to see it squirm to try and get away from the drips.

The poor little bugger developed & kept getting all manner of illnesses from bacteria normally only found in farmyards . It was only when the pushchair was tested that the source of the infections were discovered  & further investigations done to discover how it became so biologically active with large amounts of nasties.

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