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Category: Projects

  1. Project 6 - Plant a Spring Garden

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    Yes! The Projects are back!!

    This is a simple project which can be constructed in a very short time - less than an hour - and with a small amount of TLC from you will last for several months.

    You will need:

    Spring flowers - bulbs e.g. Narcissus 'Tete-a-Tete' (miniature daffodil), grape hyacinth, Iris reticulata (miniature iris)
                          - plants e.g. forget-me-not, pansy, viola, primulas (including primroses, auriculas and cowslips)
    Potting Compost
    Garden pot or tub
    A few crocks or stones
    All-purpose slow-release fertiliser - about a handful


    Get Planting!

    1. Place the pot in its display position or as near as possible. Filled pots, particularly once wet, are very heavy
    2. Place a few crocks or stones in the bottom of the pot so the holes are covered but water freely drains through. In spring when we have short sharp showers this is espcially important. 
    3. Fill the tub to halfway up with potting compost.
    4. Plant bulbs in groups near the centre of the pot so when grown they add height to the display or at intervals around the edge for a more formal display. Bulbs are usually planted at a depth of twice their height so adjust compost level at stage 3 to suit.
    5. Add more compost to about 2" below the lip of the pot, mixing in slow-release fertiliser.
    6. Make holes in the compost and plant the rest of the plants, firming in as you go.
    7. Top up the compost leaving 1" below the lip and water gently with a rose on your can, until a tiny amount comes out of the bottom of the pot. This way you know that all the soil is wet.

    Remember to check on it every few days, dead-heading flowers and watering as necessary.

    Pictures to follow...

  2. Fertiliser! - Project 5

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    We all know the nutritional benefits of watering a diluted comfrey or nettle ‘tea’ on our precious crop plants, but I’ve always thought there must be a less stinky way of preparing it than the usual ‘open air’ method: piling shredded leaves and stalks into a bin or bucket, adding water and a weight and leaving behind the shed for a few weeks - you wouldn’t want to put it where you often go as the stench of rotting leaves is stomach-churningly horrendous!

    Browsing my latest copy of Kitchen Garden magazine (August 2011) I was therefore pleased to find that someone somewhere has come up with a space-saving solution to this rather pongy problem: the fertiliser tube.

    And so, giving all credit to KG, here’s how you do it!

    • Take a piece of drainpipe about 4’ in length and attach it to the side of the shed or a wall.  Make sure you can easily reach the top of the pipe; the other end needs to be well off the floor so you can get a bucket or watering can underneath it.
    • Seal the base of the tube with an end stopper (available from builders’ merchants) in the flat end of which you will have drilled a smallish hole.
    • Place the collecting receptacle (bucket, can etc) underneath the hole in the end of the pipe.
    • Take an old bottle that will easily fit into the pipe and fill with water or sand. 
    • Tie a long piece of string to the neck of the bottle.
    • Cut some comfrey or nettle leaves and stuff them into the pipe, ramming down with a long cane.
    • Drop the bottle into the top of the pipe, keeping a good hold on the end of the string.  The bottle acts as a weight and presses the leaves down.
    • In a week or two, a thick brown liquid will ooze out of the hole in the end stopper and into the bucket or can beneath. 
    • This can be diluted with water at the rate of 15:1 and used to feed your fruit and veg.

    As soon as I get a chance (probably a week or two into the summer holidays), I’m going to make my own for the plot, especially as I have a plentiful supply of comfrey (5 plants) and lots of nettles too.