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Frank E

Latest posts by Frank E

5 returned

Planting to reduce soil water content / reduce holard?

Posted: 10/03/2013 at 13:17

Planting to reduce soil water content / reduce holard?

What shall i plant
I've taken on some voluntary gardening on a 5m by 15m back garden for another building which is a converted  east facing terraced town house

There's an empty basement flat  which used to be the caretakers flat below the main building which has quite a lot of damp ingress.They are saving to get it tanked properly but  can't really afford to heat the place. In the meantime the major cause of the damp the leaky guttering and downpipe is under repair and I'll have a look at the drains once there is some fine weather

Behind the flat, for a few metres the 5m x15m  garden slopes up from basement to ground level with flowerbeds at each side of the slope. Behind that there is s a 3m x 5m lawn in very poor condition.due to poor light and an abundance of leaves, behind that some flowerbeds in poor condition and at the very back some mature trees. There are borders running the full length of the garden at ground floor  level

I think the holard / water content of the ground is contributing to the damp problem.

Anything I could plant in the borders and flower beds which would use up water from the soil

I was going to reseed the lawn once I can enlist some help to set out and level. Is there a grass mix which is hardwearing, takes up a lot of soil moisture, is tolerant of shade in an already dire Aberdeen climate yet is reasonable decorative? Would A4 A6, A19 be suitable?

The garden is going to have to be worked anyway. Thought it would be a good opportunity to plant stuff that will reduce the holard of the ground and it's potential contibutory effect on the basement flat damp while I'm at it.

The soil is good, low clay content.

Secateurs.....bin them or sharpen them

Posted: 18/02/2013 at 01:08

Try folding a sheet of used foil over a few times then cutting the folded foil into strips. It works for sharpening scissors.

White spirit spillage

Posted: 17/02/2013 at 21:47

What quantity? A 0.5 litre bottle,, 5 litre drum, a 25 litre drum? Smaller quantities shouldn;t be much of a problem as Sotongeoff says most will evaporate away but you should refer to the "Material Safety Data Sheet"(MSDS) if you have the label and it's a significant quantity. If not you could e-mail any manufacturer of white spirit for advice.  

If you are worried about it (I don't think yous should be) , you could plant a sacraficial crop in there. Mark the area well so you don;t forget. Potatoes are usually quite good as a general sequestratiion crop. They are quite hardy, take in a lot of water to produce carbohydrate for the cost of a seed potato.

Some plants are better at sequestrating some compounds than others. There are plants which are used to remove heavy metals others used to remove hydrocarbons ,

Whena I asked at my botanical gardens society/ club about sequestration crops for  I was given the name of someone who was an expert in these things for cleaning up brownfield sites and the URL of their company website whiich listed some of the crops.


Google combinations of the words 'sacrificial, sequestration hydrocarbon trap crop' and whatever the MSDS says is in the boittle / drum. Probably similar to the bottle I hav here which says  Hydrocarbons, C9-C12, n-alkanes, isoalkanes, cyclics aliphatic hydrocarbons.

Guerrilla gardening sites will also have advice on which plants to use for cleaning up brownfield soil.  

I spilled half a tin of Zinc Phosphate primer paint today in the garden.I'm not overly bothered about what it does to the soil (Zinc is good, phosphates are good AFAIAC ) but it's really expensive so I scooped as much as I could of it into a tub and continued using it for what I was painting.


Recycling compost from last years tomato growbags

Posted: 17/02/2013 at 02:15

Cool. Thanks

I'm just back from the wholesalers (ahem,...carpet shop skip) with pots (carpet roll tube), for my beans, peas parsnips etc, insulation  so I'll get on with that in the morning

Recycling compost from last years tomato growbags

Posted: 17/02/2013 at 00:42

I'm quite new to gardening and I think this is my first post here.  I've just taken over the garden and have been through the seed inventory this evening and realised I'm quite behind on potting and germinating.

I need to get my potting done sharpish but have no potting compost and I'm on a zero budget. The compost hasn;t come to much from last year, Theough the C/N ratio is fine, there isn;t enough heat in there and there's not much humus at the bottom. Neighbours have been putting non-chopped up stuff in the compost bins, it has been colder than normal and due to critical illness in the family I didn't get the change to put more insulation round the compost bins

Can I recycle the compost from last year's tomato growbags? How could I sterilise it of for example blight microorganisms ? In the oven / microwave? There are various soil additives in the shed, bloodmeal, fishmeal, chicken waste if neede., It's not for potting tomato plants I know not to plant the same crops in the same soil twice.  I want to get the peas, sprouts, broad beans, leek, cucumber and  other Jan/Feb crops started off.

Any advice would be appreciated



5 returned

Discussions started by Frank E

Planting to reduce soil water content / reduce holard?

What shall i plant 
Replies: 6    Views: 467
Last Post: 10/03/2013 at 18:05

Recycling compost from last years tomato growbags

Can one re-use growbacg compost? 
Replies: 4    Views: 853
Last Post: 24/03/2013 at 20:30
2 threads returned