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Latest posts by obelixx

snowdrops and crocuses

Posted: 13/02/2015 at 14:00

Newly planted bulbs can take longer to make an appearance in their first year.

They may also have been eaten by rodents or have been a bit dry when planted and that can be bad news for snowdrops.   Always best to soak small bulbs for an hour or so in cold water so they can plump up before being planted.


Maximum number of potatoes per litre of compost

Posted: 13/02/2015 at 10:26

Sounds a bit of a squeeze to me.  I once planted 4 Pink Fir Apple potatoes in a tyre and gradually built up the compost layers to 4 tyres deep.  Got a good crop but considerably more than 20 litres of compost was needed.

Another year I grew 5 Charlottes in an old dustbin with drainage holes drilled at an inch or so above the base.   They cropped well too but was more like 40 litres of compost by the time the spuds were at eating size.

You do have to keep them watered to get a good crop too.

shady bed

Posted: 12/02/2015 at 17:41

That bed sounds very shaded indeed so you may struggle to find many shrubs that will thrive but this is what the RHS has to advise on planting for shady beds - some bulbs, some ground cover and some shrubs -   

Al quite low maintenance plants but I would advise you dig in plenty of well rotted manure and garden compost to improve moisture retention and fertility before you plant anything then a mulch of chipped bark when it's all planted and watered in.



Replanting blueberry bushes...

Posted: 12/02/2015 at 16:48

I moved mine from pots to sligtly raised beds after coming home form hols and finding them crispy.  Our watering monitor had not believe my instructions!

We have alkaline to neutral lomay soil so we dug deep holes, at least 2' 6" deep and planted them 4' apart, backfilling with proper ericacious compost.   They get a feed every spring and have been mulched with chipped bark to reduce competition form weeds and reduce water evaporation.

I get very good crops except for the last 2 years - one dreadful winter that killed a few branches and then late frosts that got the blossom and again last year a late frost after a mild winter so blossom all frozen.   This year they'll have windbreak netting to protect them from frosts and, later on, more netting to keep the birds off the crop.. 

Wood post in concrete

Posted: 12/02/2015 at 16:40

We dig a hole 2' deep and 3 or 4 times as wide as the post then drop some gravel in the bottom then stand the post on that and pour in dry concrete mix to soil level.   Add water and one of us mixes it up with a garden fork while the other uses two spirit levels to make sur ethe post sets vertical.  

We use quick setting concrete mix.  We do not treat the posts as they're already pressure treated and we want them to fade gracefully.

Hostas - Any Advice out There

Posted: 12/02/2015 at 11:40

I have a hosta which is, supposedly, slug proof.  Bought it from a specialist supplier who recommended it.

Guess which of my hostas is a slug magnet!

Can bare root deutzia and hibiscus share 60 cm pot for one season?

Posted: 12/02/2015 at 10:30

I would give them a pot each and get them planted asap as they shoul dbe developing new root systems now to help them cope with all the foliage and new stems they'll produce in spring.   As Nut says, you want balanced growth so a pot each.

Soak the roots in a bucket of luke warm water for an hour before planting so they are fully rehydrated.   Use the best compost you can find - Jon Innes 2 or 3 - not multi purpose as this can turn into a solid block which is difficult to hydrate.   To ensure good flowering potential, give them regular feeds of liquid rose or tomato fertiliser after the first couple of months as the fertiliser in the compost only lasts 3 months at best.

Hostas - Any Advice out There

Posted: 12/02/2015 at 10:04

Hostas benefit form being grown in pots for the first couple of seasons, especially if sall when bought, as tgis gives them time to grow bigger and stronger with better root systems before they need to fend for themselves.

You can protect against slugs with a regular, weekly scattering of organic slug pellets starting on Valentine's Day cos it's easy to remember the date.   The point is to scatter thinly around all susceptible plants - daffodis, hemerocallis, hostas, clematis etc - and not to turn teh earth blue.   This system get sthe perishers a sthey emerge from hibernation or hatch from eggs and before the have acahnce to feed and breed.

Keep it up till mid July or later if we have a wet summer.  Renew after heavy rain.

Plants in pots need protection too so don't forget them.

Wood post in concrete

Posted: 12/02/2015 at 08:43

In my experience metposts are less secure than concrete too.  All our fence and trellis posts held by metposts are at a drunken angle now after a series of gales over the years but the concreted ones are vertical.    Some of the posts have been there 20 years and none has rotted yet.

Remove box hedging?

Posted: 11/02/2015 at 13:53

I have box hedging round my front rose and perennial bed and love it but it measures 7m x 4m and had trellis for a climbing rose at one end so doesn't take up masses of space.  The box hedge gets an annual trim around Derby day.    My veggie beds are all raised beds using roof beams which I find very practical.

I think you should do as Swiss Sue says and try taking out the middle hedges to make bigger beds and see how that goes for a year or two.   Then you can decide whether the box hedging adds or detracts and have the option of clearing the rest or keeping it accordingly.

It's easy enough to make regular light scatterings of organic slug pellets to deal with any slugs and sanils and you may well find the box shelters beneficial insects and keps cold breezes off young seedlings so you get better crops.

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