Berghill


Latest posts by Berghill

Soil conditioners

Posted: 20/07/2015 at 15:31

I was very fortunate many many years ago to be able to go on a 2 year Rural Studies course at Padgate College in Warrington (closed now I fear). We did a lot of gardening related stuff as well as rural type things (Bee keeping for one. "Oh no they don't sting" says the lecturer. "Ow" says I as my neck was attacked.).

Plus when I began 45 years ago my neighbour was a proper gardener and he passed on a long life time of observations, not just book learning.

This site is great for learning new things and keeping up to date too!

Soil conditioners

Posted: 20/07/2015 at 12:50

As I said at the beginning, carry on as you were. It is obviously working for you.

All that has been said in these posts, is really, that the more and varied organic material you can add, the better. Clay soil is already normally rich in nutrients, so all you need to do is to provide any plants with easy access to them.

The only other thing you may need to do is to buy a cheap soil testing kit. Adding organic material can have the effect of changing the pH of the soil.

Adding lime to a clay soil makes it flocculate, ie go lumpy. Sounds odd, but the lumps are tiny not great big clods.  Clay is made up of tiny, flat plate like pieces which slide over each other when wet and stick together when dry. The organic material and the lime get in between the 'plates' and hold them apart, so they hold more moisture and so do not stick together.

A very simplistic explanation of a quite complex chemical and physical processes. Best of luck with your gardening. Our old clay soil grew the most fantastic crops once it was properly set up.

Soil conditioners

Posted: 19/07/2015 at 21:20

In the field next to us, there is a mound of chicken manure, say 400 tons of it. We had it tested when we were fighting the farmer's plants to extend his chicken cruelty business. It has Listeria, Salmonella, Clostrydium (spelling?) and one or two other nasty bacteria living in it. I would not  put that stuff on my land for anything. We were advised not to eat anything from our garden unless it was cooked.

Boiled lettuce anyone?

Not that I am trying to put anyone off manuring their land, just warning of the possible dangers, so that they think first.

Soil conditioners

Posted: 19/07/2015 at 17:58

Be careful with horse manure. If the animals have fed on land where an amino-pyralid weedkiller has been used, the poison is persistent, even after passing through the animal. There have been a lot of cases where manure containing the weed killer has severely damaged crops on Allotments.

red poppies

Posted: 19/07/2015 at 17:52

Oh, yes they do. We have a problem with self sown orientails types. I forgot to cut one down last year and now there are a lot of them around the original plant.

If you do sow orientalis seed then be careful what you do with the plants. We put seedlings in a nursery bed to see what colour we got. Big mistake. They are still there despite being dug out every year for the last 15 years.

2 x Crassula ID's please.

Posted: 18/07/2015 at 17:38

Makes a change at present, my ID posts have been well off recently.

I used to grow this one, but a vine weevil grub ate its way up the centre of the stem and I lost the plant.

2 x Crassula ID's please.

Posted: 18/07/2015 at 15:11

Second one looks more like a Sedum to me. Perhaps S. praealtum?

Soil conditioners

Posted: 18/07/2015 at 15:10

Basically carry on doing what you are doing. The more organic material you can add the better.

Some people may say add sharp sand or grit, but to be perfectly honest in our previous 'grow taller' clay soiled garden (as you walked across it, you got taller 'cos the clay stuck to your boots), we found it made little difference.

Do try to avoid walking on the soil when it is wet though. It compacts it  and makes it harder to work on.

Clematis

Posted: 17/07/2015 at 15:36

Did it die from the top down or the bottom up?

Usual reason for Clematis failing like that is damage to the stems at the base. Snails adore stripping the bark of at ground level and that stem then dies back. When that happens the things dies from the top down. Wilt kills stems from the bottom upwards.

In either case, cut off the dead stems , mulch with organic material and wait. We have had Clematis sulk for 2 years before re-growing.

 

PLEASE HELP US IDENTIFY THIS PLANT

Posted: 14/07/2015 at 20:10

As said Paeonia, one of the tree ones too. Not ripe yet though, they are blue/black when ripe and the inside of the pod is a glorious red.

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