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Latest posts by Palaisglide

Sterilising and re-using potting compost

Posted: 18/04/2015 at 17:31

Steve, in all my years of gardening you are the first to say you have too much soil, my experience from a small holding during wartime to now is never enough. 30 odd years of mulch and old potting compost have not raised my beds very much, the raised beds I made seemed to drain soil, they were always being topped up. Dad only sterilised soil for seed trays, ordinary garden soil in a bucket sitting on the greenhouse stove, it worked.

Using a lot of pots containers and trays there is plenty of old compost so next to the compost boxes there is an area it gets dumped mixed with some of my compost and bone meal then left to weather and the worms, it becomes the base compost for pots after sitting around resting a couple of years.

Guess we all have our own ways and who is to say they are wrong, good luck with what you decide.


Sterilising and re-using potting compost

Posted: 17/04/2015 at 16:01

Why sterilise potting compost? I sterilise seed compost if there is no fresh to use, seed compost does not need a lot of nutrient , in fact seeds will set in washed sand then pot on to a compost with nutrient.

Old potting compost gets spread on the beds as a mulch as the nutrients are used up, fresh compost mixed with grit is then used to repot plants with a hand full of home made compost, some bone meal and depending on the plant some granular fertiliser. Using old potting soil over and over seems like false economy, we want  plants to thrive, they are often expensive both in cost and labour so why chance it.

Soil is full of microbes that help in breaking down the soil excreting nutrients and in some cases symbiosis with the plant roots, do you really want to kill them off?


harden off before move to greenhouse?

Posted: 15/04/2015 at 23:24

Greenhouse automatic vents work by an expanding gas or viscous oil being heated and pushing a piston up a tube connected to the vent thus pushing it open. As it cools the piston drops back closing the vent. Think of your thermometer rising and falling, stick a rod on the end and you could open anything. Without power then you need to keep a check, my way is open the door and vents early morning, better a bit cool than overheating.

Your greenhouse should now be warm enough to set most seeds. Put a clear cover over the tray or plastic bag over a pot, as I said above light is more important than heat.


harden off before move to greenhouse?

Posted: 15/04/2015 at 13:36

Keep your greenhouse well ventilated during the day and closed up at night. If there is a cold spell warning some fleece draped over the trays will be enough. Once seed is set the need is for light a greenhouse is far better for all round light than a window sill. I often put trays on the floor of the greenhouse at night it will be a few degrees warmer down there, lift them back on the staging during the day.

Here in the NE, we have had hot days and some cold nights, greenhouse management is a constant job, too hot kills them too cold kills them, sowing little and often is how we do it and a frost guard plus cool air fan helps.

Hope this helps,


Music in the Garden

Posted: 31/03/2015 at 15:02

Hi Lily, always around and posted on some of the problem sections, life seems to have gone up in tempo, one big rush. At least the garden is now tidy and ready for planting, life goes on as they say. Listening to some Acordion music reminds me I need to get my own repaired.


Music in the Garden

Posted: 31/03/2015 at 11:28

Music today is Isla Grant but in the house. It is a sunny day though the east wind is cutting if you venture out. My Primroses are enjoying it the Forsythia taking a battering knocking all the fresh blossom off. Oh well some gentle Irish music will sooth me until it is time to go collect my new car.


bare root peony

Posted: 27/03/2015 at 20:23

Daisy we are talking about different things. Tree Peony will be grafted, the grafting bulge would need to be at least six inches under the soil. What that does is to encourage the peony to put out roots from its own wood suckers can grow from below the graft, if it roots in time from above the stock then it can stop suckers. Tree peony's need a sheltered sunny spot as the branches can be brittle and break.

The advice given to Kels was for bush peony, if his is also a tree then deep planting would be needed. Hope this sorts things out.


bare root peony

Posted: 27/03/2015 at 16:04

Plant in position, they need a sunny spot with some shelter from E or N winds, mine are sheltered by other shrubs though get the sun from ten in the morning until last rays at night. They hate being buried, plant with the soil just covering the top of the root an inch is enough. Mulch around the plant but not on the root, water well for the first couple of weeks, as the plant grows you will need support, loose rings on stakes will support the flowering stems though you may only get a couple of flowers the first couple of years. Peony are for life, one of mine is from a plant I knew as a lad and my Father too, wonderful plants and if you plant various types can get quite a long show. Good luck Frank.

Crop rotation

Posted: 27/03/2015 at 15:50

Brassica need to be moved year on year, we used a four year cycle though club root can last in the soil for years. Prepare the plot in the Autumn with well rotted manure and we always limed 4 ounces of carbonated lime per square yard. Even in the smallest plots it is possible to rotate, keeping a diary is handy.

The other problem sounds like white fly scale, you can use chemical spray three times a week or try washing it off with a hose. We sowed more than we needed, a row for the birds a row for the beasties and two rows for us, after all they all need to live.


New Lawn

Posted: 27/03/2015 at 15:29

Ben there are no stupid questions, you need to know so ask, we old hands are usually pleased to help. If  flower beds old or not they will be reasonable for grass seed or turf. Remove the under lay, remove anything growing then optional, dig or fork it over and then rake to a fine tilth , if the soil is clear then rake it over a few times. Once that is done do the gardeners shuffle, move up and down the plot shuffling your feet together until you have a slightly compacted area. Then very lightly rake again, spread the seed of a general purpose grass as the instructions on the pack, water in and put up some birds scarers stand back and wait, water if we have a dry spell.

that is the lazy way and even more so if you use turf rolls, do not expect a bowling green, you will get grass. It will need cutting once a week in summer, weeding and feeding, water when and if there is a dry spell.

A beatiful lawn will take hard work to prepare and set plus more hard wrk to maintain the above will give you grass if that is your need. Never be afraid to ask. Good luck 


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