Showing posts with label compost. Show all posts
Showing posts with label compost. Show all posts

DIY Potting Soil



 The basic soil-less potting mix found on big box shelves is composed mainly of Sphagnum Peat Moss some perlite and often contains fertilizer. It can become very expensive particularly for those gardening in containers.
Gardener's can mix their own at lower cost in order to grow more plants.
Here is a widely recommended seed and potting mix that can be adjusted to one's particular climate and plant needs.

Basic Mix with Compost

2 parts well composted manure and other compost. Finely screened mushroom compost is an excellent option.
2 parts Sphagnum Peat Moss or Coconut Coir (Either retain significant moisture. In cooler slower drying conditions it may be wise to lessen the amount of either in the mix.)
1 part Perlite
1 part Vermiculite
Perlite and vermiculite are both good at retaining water, but vermiculite acts more like a sponge, holding much more water than perlite and offering less aeration for the plant roots. Perlite retains water because of its large surface area with nooks and crannies available for water storage. Because it is porous it allows excess water to drain more readily than vermiculite and improves soil aeration. In cooler slower drying conditions it may prove wise to lessen the amount of vermiculite and add more perlite and/or sharp sand in the mix. Sharp sand (builders sand) maintains looseness of the mix and aids drainage.

Basic Mix with the Addition of Nutrients

Add ½ cup each per every 8 gallons of mix:
½ cup Bone Meal (Phosphorous)
½ cup Dolomitic Limestone (raises soil PH and provides calcium and magnesium)
½ cup Blood Meal or Soybean Meal or Dried Kelp Powder (Nitrogen)
 The single greatest cause of plant failure is over watering and the resulting growth of bacteria and fungus. Select seed trays that can be watered from the bottom which prevents disturbing the seeds. Be sure to remove excess water from the watering tray once the soil is saturated.
Remember to sprinkle cinnamon on the surface of the seed tray after planting to deter gnats and kill fungal spores.

Costa's Garden Odyssey ep.20 ( Series 1 ep.8)

Costa takes us inside the Sydney Flower market to meet Domenico Mezzacuva, a flower grower and merchant who provides us with an insiders take on this unique community. Every house in Australia should recycle their organic matter, and so Costa meets Alley Rutherford to find the recipe for the perfect compost.


Costa is a man of the people. A man who can connect with all. His infectious character and passion for his subject puts people at ease and makes them shine. A Landscape Architect with an all-consuming passion for plants and people – Costa knows how to find the best in both of them, and takes great pleasure in bringing them together. Costa’s Garden Odyssey is a groundbreaking magazine style series that allows this unique Greek Garden Guru an opportunity to do what he does best - spread his green wisdom while communicating with people and celebrating cultures and community in a way never seen before on Australian television. Costa will take you to the joyous, harmonious heart of the garden. It’s about gardening the soil and the soul.

Costa's Garden Odyssey ep.20 ( Series 1 ep.8)
Costa's Garden Odyssey ep.20 ( Series 1 ep.8)

Gardening Australia ep.15 2016

Costa visits a historic garden in the Blue Mountains National Park; Josh checks out a compost making facility; Angus offers native alternatives to exotic favourites and Jerry visits an orchid grower.


Road to Ribbons
Jerry visits the president of the Eastern District Orchid Society. Tensions are high during preparation for their annual autumn show
Rose Relocation
Jane shows how to move a rose from the ground into a pot
Native Alternatives
Angus recommends reliable native plant favourites that can be used instead of similar exotics
A Sleeping Beauty
Costa visits an historic hilltop garden, set within the Blue Mountains National Park, and meets the designer who is lovingly bringing it back to life
FAQs - Crocks | Staghorns | Blackbirds
John answers the age-old question of whether to use crocks, Jerry discusses why people put banana skins in staghorns and Tino shows how to dissuade blackbirds from eating your seedlings
Big Compost
Josh checks out a massive commercial operation that's transforming food waste into compost, potting mix, power and plants

Gardening Australia ep.15 2016
Gardening Australia ep.15 2016

Beechgrove Garden ep.24 2015

Jim and Carole walk around the garden pointing out plant combinations showing colour at this time of year. Jim prepares half hardy perennials for winter, whilst Carole enjoys the gloxinias which are still flowering well and shows how to dry off amaryllis bulbs.



In Coldstream, George Anderson meets Alec West who has an orchard jam-packed with apples, pears and plums - his fruit collection is said to be the biggest in Scotland.
It  was  a  fine  autumn  day  at  Beechgrove  this week and Jim and Carole were at the back of the Vegetable Plot looking at the cordon apples along the wall where there is a very promising crop.
These cordons are the oldest apple trees in the garden  as  they  came  from  the  original Beechgrove garden where they were planted by Jim and George Barron in 1978, and were moved to the current Beechgrove Garden in 1995.  Jim explained that when they were moved they were ‘shuchted in’ (heeled into the ground) for a whole  year  because  we  didn’t  have  a  place  to plant them and then finally planted along the wall in 1996. All of them have been grown as cordons, which don’t take up much room, and still bear a good crop to this day.   Varieties  included  ‘Lord  Lambourne’,  ‘Laxton’s Fortune’ and ‘Egremont Russet’.
Preparing half hardy perennials for winter Jim was in the greenhouse preparing cuttings of half  hardy perennials  and  sub-shrubs  for overwintering.
The cuttings were taken in August and they have rooted  well  –  they  include  sage,  artemisia, penstemon and helichrysum. Sage can suffer a real battering in the winter weather so it is worth
taking some cuttings.   Jim  explained  that  the  rooted  cuttings  can  be overwintered in their current pots. They will need to be fed with a half strength tomato or indoor plant fertiliser as there is no fertiliser left in the original compost.
If  you have the facilities – ie the space and  a greenhouse  it  is  worth  repotting  individual
cuttings  into  7cm  pots.  Jim  demonstrated repotting with the cuttings from purple sage. He
potted  them  on  into  some  fresh  peat-free compost. This compost had been used previously
for fuchsia cuttings and Jim is pleased with the results.  The cuttings need to be kept in a greenhouse at a  temperature  of  5-7  °C  overnight  until  next spring.  This means you will have nice new plants
by next April.  Jim advised that plug plants should be watered before they are potted on as the roots as they dry out will grow into the new compost searching for  water,  whereas  cuttings  with  loose  roots should be watered after they have been potted on. The cuttings need to be gently firmed into the compost.

Beechgrove Garden ep.24 2015
Beechgrove Garden ep.24 2015

Gardening and Horticulture 01-2015

Gardening and Horticulture 




 With spring just around the corner, GW is back for a new series. As usual, Monty will be at Longmeadow sharing a wealth of tips and ideas on how to keep your garden looking good all year long. In this episode, he tackles some urgent pruning and reveals some of the projects he's got in store over the coming months.
This year, Carol Klein will be visiting some of the nation's greatest gardens to find out why their beautiful borders work so well. Her tour starts at RHS Wisley in Surrey, where she takes a closer look at their glorious winter garden.
Joe Swift has the first of his three design masterclasses on how to make the most of a small town garden. And we travel to the Cape in South Africa to learn more about the geraniums we love to grow in our pots and hanging baskets.

1. Take pelargonium cuttings

Pelagoniums take very easily as cuttings, as long as you observe a couple of rules.  The first is to have a very free-draining compost.  Prepare the cutting so they are about 8-10cm long and remove all foliage except one or two leaves.  Insert them around the edge of the pot. The second rule is not to over water the cuttings but keep the compost only slightly damp.  If the compost become too wet there’s a risk of the cutting succumbing to rot before they strike.  Put them somewhere warm and bright they should take in about 3 or 4 weeks.

2.Chit potatoes

Chitting seed potatoes is simple but important if you want an early crop of new potatoes - that's first or second early varieties.  Simply place the seed potatoes on a seed tray or egg boxes and put them somewhere frost-free and light, and over the next few weeks they will develop green stubby shoots that will spring into action once they’re planted.

3.Prune autumn-fruiting raspberries

If you haven’t done so already, it's time now to prune your autumn fruiting raspberries. These produce their fruit on the current season's growth so take away all of last year's canes; cutting hard right down to the ground. When you’ve finished, give them a thick mulch to keep them free of weeds and help the roots stay moist in dry spells.

Gardening and Horticulture 01- 2015
Gardening and Horticulture 01- 2015 

The Beechgrove Garden ep.7 2016

Carole creates a chef's windowsill as she grows a range of micro salads, while Chris takes on the job of revamping the old heather garden and turns it into our own piece of an ancient Scottish hill top in miniature.




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George and Jim are off on a bulb-lover's busman's holiday and indulging in more than a little 'tulip fever' as they visit world-famous Keukenhof Botanic Park near Amsterdam to see the mind-blowing bulb displays.
The Beechgrove Garden ep.7 2016
The Beechgrove Garden ep.7 2016
It was a beautiful sunny spring day at Beechgrove. It was time to get on with some gardening jobs outside after last week’s weather. After the success of a commercially bought scatter mix last year, Carole decided to challenge Jim, George, Chris, and Brian to come up with their own successful hardy annual scatter mix. They were getting on with the soil preparation prior to sowing, by raking the soil and getting rid of the larger stones.There were nearly 30 hard annual varieties in the commercially available product which came in an easy dispenser rather like a watering can.
However out of the 30 really only 6 varieties stood out at Beechgrove last year. The challenge was for each of George, Carole, Jim, Chris, and Brian Cunningham to select 6 hardy annual varieties for their own secret mix. The bed was divided into 6 for each of the competitors and the control would be planted in the 6th bed for comparison.George’s mix cost under £10 and had 850 seeds – all about quality. Carole’s mix however was also under £10 and contained 3,000 seeds – all about quantity. Each of the presenters were not giving away their recipes. Each seed mix was combined with sand to bulk it up in order to sow it easily. We will check on progress later in the series.

Carole was in the Greenhouse for the final part of her series on windowsill gardening. This time
it was all about growing microgreens –full of proteins and vitamins making a healthy addition
to snacks and sandwiches, also the latest trend with chefs. Last week Carole recommended
getting an electric propagator to get seedsstarted but the alternative is an unheated propagator which could simply sit on the windowsill.
Any kind of vegetable seed can be harvested as a microgreen and they too are very easy to grow. These are not like the sprouting seeds,here you wait till they have grown to seedling stage, cut them off with scissors - this is thepart you eat.
One example is a radish which can be sown in a tray of compost, covered with more compost
and placed in an unheated propagator. This canthen be harvested for its leaves in a few weeks’time.
Carole had also sown some peas which were starting to germinate. In a few weeks’ time these can be harvested for their shoots.
Carole then demonstrated a couple of kits. The first one contained 3 mats which can be soaked in water. She then simply sowed the pea seeds on top of the mats. It is best to have a light sprinkling of seeds to ensure they do not touch and therefore stop rotting.
The second kit contained a tray which could be washed in the dishwasher and reused. Carole put water into the bottom of the tray.Kitchen towel was placed on top and then seeds were sown onto the towel. Carole recommended misting the seeds with water twice a day until the seeds had developed roots.
To recap: throughout this mini-series Carole has shown how to grow microgreens,mushrooms, herbs, salads and sprouting seeds.A full and productive wee garden on the windowsill.

Gardening Australia ep.4 2016



Jane meets photographer Simon Griffiths who shows off his Kyneton garden; Josh replaces heat-affected fruit trees; Angus explains what clues to collect to identify plants & Costa dyes Easter eggs.

Gardening Australia ep.4 2016
Gardening Australia ep.4 2016 
1. Plant Detective
Angus shows us what clues to look for when trying to identify a plant
2. Pretty as a Picture
Jane meets photographer Simon Griffiths who has created an exquisite garden in Kyneton, Victoria, and offers practical tips on taking great photos in the garden
3. Plant Profile - Golden Plume
Jerry profiles the quirky, yellow-flowering Golden Plume (Schaueria flavicoma); the perfect plant to brighten up a garden bed
4. An Egg-celent Idea
Costa and some friends demonstrate how to create colourful dyed Easter eggs using ingredients from the garden
5. FAQs - Compost as Potting Mix | Dead Heading
Tino explains why we should use potting mix when planting in pots and Sophie shows us how to deadhead
6. If at First
Josh removes heat affected fruit trees and replaces them with hardier varieties

The Beechgrove Garden 2016 ep.6



   Carole continues with her windowsill gardening and sows herbs and salad leaves, which can be used to produce tasty, foodie salads for weeks.
   In Garden on a Budget, Carole is with Mieke Guijt in rural Kennethmont, helping to mould a garden out of almost nothing. Carole takes Mieke on a budget shopping trip to buy materials for easy-to-make compost bays and shows her how to have plants for 'free'.
   George visits the painterly garden of Broughton House in Kirkcudbright. The house and garden belonged to EA Hornel, artist, collector and 'Glasgow boy'. George discovers how much the garden influenced Hornel's paintings.

The Beechgrove Garden 2016 ep.6
The Beechgrove Garden 2016 ep.6

Carole was in the greenhouse with snow falling all around her with the 2nd of her series on growing productive crops on a windowsill.  This time she was looking at herbs and salads.  Carole suggested that it is well worth investing in an electric propagator to give seeds a boost to aid germination.  To demonstrate, Carole sprinkled some chervil seed onto the top of some compost then sprinkled with more compost.  She then placed the tray into a propagator to give it some bottom heat.  She also featured a new herb called Wasabi Rocket which could easily be grown on the windowsill.
Carole also showed a trough containing compost and 3 types of herb seeds –parsley, chives and basil
-which were easy to grow.  Carole put the compost into the trough and then divided it into 3 areas.  A different seed was sown in each section.  She then recommended covering this with cling film until
the seeds had germinated.
She also had some vegetable and herb seed discs (Jiffy 7s) which needed to be soaked in water until they swelled.  These can then be placed on a windowsill to germinate and once hardened off can be planted outside.  Another interesting way of sowing seeds Carole had spotted were Seedballs, which were made of clay granules and a herb or salad seed mix.  Carole put 3-4 seedballs on top of some
compost in a small pot –no need to cover as the clay will break down.  With regular watering these will germinate in 1-2 weeks.  These can also be sown directly outside at a ratio of 20 to a square metre.  Finally Carole showed seedmats.  These are pieces of biodegradable material containing
seed.  She simply laid this on the surface of some compost in a pot, covered it with compost and then watered it.  Within 10 days there will be some lovely salads to eat from just the space on a windowsill