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Frank Davidson

Latest posts by Frank Davidson

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Posted: 25/03/2015 at 17:13

Do you subscribe to the newsletters? They are quite interesting and are archived.

Anyone a winner?

Posted: 25/03/2015 at 17:06

Yes, I won solar lights.

Lidl Compost

Posted: 25/03/2015 at 16:34

A fellow in my evening class did his dissertation on composting. He was out at the plants that process the councils' green waste taking samples. He said these places sometimes (frequently) have compost fires in the windrows due to the intense heat generated by the microbiota. (the owner of the local one has coils circulating heat to his home and it's toasty all the year round).

The coal tar smell may be the result of partially-burned wood from one of these fires. If it is sooty that is also further evidence to suspect a compost fire has occurred.

In instances where a significant fire has occurred an EPA / SEPA investigation takes place and involves the Environmental Health, Public health departments, NHS and will be a matter of public record.

Most green waste collections are fortnightly. Waste has often generated significant heat by the time it is collected (I just probed my and my neighbour's 13 day old green waste and it is 21°C, significantly higher than ambient). The more biomass that is there the smaller external surface (heat dissipation) area to volume ratio. Depositing heated biomass onto already heated biomass just compounds the heat problem.

 Some of the processors have a grading system. There is BSI PAS100 material they can sell to agriculture and professional horticulture. The rest can't be sold as a compost in its raw state but can be sold as a soil (structural) conditioner or further processed to make it sellable as compost. They are usually paid by the local authority to process the green waste, so it's dirt cheap per tonne if one can collect. 

Talking of this I need to organise a field trip to the local green waste processors for the horti association. It's quite hi-tech and an interesting although organic-smelling day out, according to the green waste chap at the council.

Epsom Salts

Posted: 25/03/2015 at 15:42

I sprinkle it in with the chopped up banana skins (K+) with household paper shreddings as a carrier rotted down in an airtight container to feed tomatoes. Seems to work, I picked the last of my tomatoes yesterday ... thought I'd never get the greenhouse cleared for this year's stuff. 

I don't need massive quantities and found Savers to be the cheapest

Best bee plants today

Posted: 25/03/2015 at 14:46

I've seen quite a few Bombus spp around the narcissi and noctuid moths around my alliums here in Aberdeen, so they should be up and about foraging in Inverness, UK now or soon.


Sowing tomatoes cold greenhouse

Posted: 24/03/2015 at 17:45

What do you mean 'messy'?

sowing artichoke seed

Posted: 24/03/2015 at 06:29

I sowed them 6mm deep in 140 cell flats and they all germinated fine. That's the depth I sow nearly every seed because I can't be bothered with "x mm for this, y mm for that".  The supplier states 2-3cm in pots (best) or 5-6cm direct.

hormone rooting powder /gel

Posted: 24/03/2015 at 06:00

I haven't tried a controlled experiment between synthesised auxin-based powder and nothing. I've raced plants auxin v sugar but not in statistically significant numbers and it was a draw. I tested a fresh pot against one that was drowned, dried out and I had attempted to repowder and that again was a draw. 

I suspect the shelf life of the synthetic auxin powder will be when you have used it up.

A search on should yield more controlled scientific findings on the efficacy of sugars, auxins or neither on adventitious root formation..

Plant ID help

Posted: 24/03/2015 at 05:18

Aquilegia probably McKana. It self seeds and takes a fair bit of nutrition from the soil, though the Lupinus spp next to it (Fabaceae family) will fix some nitrogen into the soil for it.

Few newbie questios (mainly tomatoes)

Posted: 24/03/2015 at 04:57

1 25cm pots are fine, plastic not clay. Long tom pots are deeper. Growbags don't really have enough depth so most people who use growbags sink a bottomless pot on top of the growbag. I use cardboard carpet roll because there's a carpet fitter round the corner and I asked for permission to take from his permanent walk-in skip. I'll probably go with pots this year as I cleared the co-ops of their planters at the end of season (1/4 price or so) 

2 I usually make my own* feeds if using pots but the own brand is usually as good as the proprietary (though compare the NPK, micronutrients and trace elements. * (wood ash, banana skin, magnesium sulphate, garden compost, crushed bones, urea, seaweed etc).

Generally speaking, to support the green growth one gives the plants more Nitrogen (N), when fruiting something with more Potassium (K), though still use a broad fertiliser. If one is too selective such a narrow spectrum approach throws other nutrient uptake out of kilter eg too much K the plants won't take up Mg. If you use a decent growing medium you will only need to tweak nutrients at fruiting. It's worth reading up on plant nutrition.  

 3 Perhaps you could plant direct into the soil inside the greenhouse? The plants would get a good root run, you wouldn't have to be too particular about watering which frees you up if you need to go away for a few days. Composts vary widely even in the same product and certainly year-to-year. 

4 I've never got round to co-planting toms and the Tagetes (marigolds) I've grown from seed. I've always usually short of pots by the time the marigolds are ready for potting on or the toms are ready for the final potting up.

1 to 10 of 62

Discussions started by Frank Davidson

Cheapo PID Controllers for horticultural controls?

Replies: 12    Views: 274
Last Post: 22/03/2015 at 09:05

What sells well at charity plant sales?

Replies: 11    Views: 443
Last Post: 26/01/2015 at 09:01

Planting to reduce soil water content / reduce holard?

What shall i plant 
Replies: 6    Views: 715
Last Post: 10/03/2013 at 18:05

Recycling compost from last years tomato growbags

Can one re-use growbacg compost? 
Replies: 4    Views: 1279
Last Post: 24/03/2013 at 20:30
4 threads returned