Saturday, 27 September 2014

Friday, 26 September 2014

How to grow ericaceous plants.

How to grow ericaceous plants » Ashwood Nurseries:
Ericaceous plants include Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Camellias, Heathers, Pieris, Blueberry, Cassiope, Eucryphia, Enkianthus, Fothergilla, Gaultheria, Leucothoe, Nyassa, Kalmia, Pseudowintera, Styrax and Vaccinum.
Ericaceous plants require acidic to neutral soils (pH7 or lower) and generally will not thrive in more alkaline conditions (i.e. high in lime, pH7.5 or higher). They are mostly plants of woodland, heath or mountain-side so require moist but well drained soils that are rich in organic matter.
Most ericaceous plants prefer the dappled shade and shelter of other trees and shrubs and are also useful subjects for a sheltered North facing border. They are tolerant of more sunny exposures as long as the soil remains moist. Smaller leaved rhododendrons, most azaleas as well as blueberries and heathers prefer a slightly sunnier position, perhaps shaded from the sun when it is at its strongest in the early afternoon. Rhododendron yakushimanum and its cultivars are very tolerant of cooler, more exposed positions.
Our ericaceous plants are generally completely hardy, tolerating temperatures down to -15 ° F (-25 °C). Those plants marked slightly tender should be given a very sheltered position. Some care is needed in the siting of early flowering subjects to avoid their blooms becoming marked by late spring frosts and for these it is best to avoid an east-facing site. Likewise, plants that produce spring foliage colour (e.g. pieris) are probably better placed in a southerly or westerly aspect, sheltered from sun and cold winds by surrounding evergreen shrubs.
All ericaceous plants are surface rooting with very fine roots so extra care is needed when planting. Plants grown in containers can be planted out at any time of year; provided that the ground is not frozen.
Prepare an area 5-6 times larger than the pot size: work organic matter (such as leaf mould, peat or good quality ericaceous compost) into this area to form a nice friable mixture. Mushroom compost and manure are not suitable because of their lime content, nor should fertiliser be applied at this stage.
Water the plant in its pot thoroughly, leaving to soak for a few minutes. The correct planting depth is very important as ericaceous plants will not thrive if planted too deeply: plant to the same depth as the compost in the container, barely covering this with the lightest layer of soil.
Place the plant in its planting hole and then firm in lightly with the fists. If necessary, particularly with a larger plant, drive in a stout stake away from the root ball and tie the plant to it.
Finally, water the plant by giving it a thorough soaking at the roots. A light sprinkling of water is a waste of time, has no benefit to the plant and in fact can be detrimental to the roots
Continue to water during the first growing season and subsequently during very dry weather otherwise the fine roots will suffer. All weeds are best removed by hand whilst still young as hoeing and forking too close to the plants may damage the roots.
An annual mulch of peat, leaf-mould, pine needles or composted bark is beneficial. Spread this material in a 1-2 inch (2.5-5cm) band 6 inches (15cm) from the base of the plant. Never mulch too close to the stem of the plant as this may cause the bark to rot. Avoid using fertilisers other than a very light application of blood, fish and bone in May only.
After flowering, the larger flowers of rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias can be dead headed by carefully breaking out the truss of seed heads before the leaf buds start into growth, but take great care not to damage these new buds.
How to grow Ericaceous Plants on Alkaline Soil
If your soil is alkaline, we would suggest planting into large containers or purpose-built raised beds.
Containers should have a drainage hole, filled with good quality ericaceous compost and their position in the garden chosen carefully to take into account their cultural requirements. You must be prepared to be diligent with watering.
Raised beds should be raised at least 6 inches (15cm) above surrounding soil to prevent any alkaline water flowing into them. The walls can be built of most materials although we would discourage the use of limestone or concrete blocks. Some materials that harmonise particularly well with this form of plantings include old railway sleepers or half round timber edging. The beds should be filled with an ericaceous mix either  a  good ericaceous potting compost, or a mixture or two parts acid loam (shredded Mendip Loam being ideal) six parts peat of leaf-mould and one part sharp flint or quartz grit (not limestone chippings) of between ¼ and 1/8 inch. (3-6mm)

Pests and Diseases
Ericaceous plants are rarely troubled by pests and diseases except for aphids (green fly) which distort the young growths: these should be controlled either with a systemic insecticide or regular treatments with a proprietary soap treatment. Mildew, if it occurs, is best controlled using a systemic fungicide.
Sometimes, the roots and underground stems may be nibbled by vine weevil grubs. The adult weevils leave irregular-shaped notches in the leaf margins during the summer while the white legless grubs are likely to be found among the roots which they eat, causing the plants to wilt in severe cases. “Provado Vine Weevil Killer” is an effective control for plants in containers.

More! Make an Ericaceous Soil Bed for Acid-Loving Fruits:

Espoma's "Soil Acidifier."
It contains sulfur, derived from elemental sulfur and gypsum.
You can find this organic goodness at any respectable garden center. Application is a breeze: First, grab a measuring cup...
And fill it with the acidifying granules.
Then pour the granules in a circle around the drip line of each shrub.
The drip line is the outermost edge from which water would naturally drip from the plant.
Feeder roots are concentrated there.
Rates. For young shrubs, use about 1 1/4 cups acidifier. For larger shrubs, use 2 1/2 cups.
Repeat the procedure every 60 days or so, or until you achieve the correct pH for your blueberries -- 4.6 to 5.5. Watering-in.

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Best autumn-fruiting raspberries.

The three best autumn-fruiting raspberries are:
Sugana - an exciting variety that not only crops from August to October but, if you leave the canes unpruned it will fruit again in June the following year. And it tastes great.
Erika - almost too good for jam (I did say almost) and perfect when eaten straight off the bush.
Himbotop - a Swiss variety, so should be pretty good in colder areas. Incidentally, the best raspberries I’ve ever tasted are those grown on the west coast of Scotland. I think the rain makes the fruit plumper.

Friday, 19 September 2014


Soil Association : October:

If you sowed onion seeds last month, these can be thinned, but take care not to disturb the remaining seedlings. Corn salad and dwarf early peas can be sown in a warm, sheltered border. Sow winter lettuces and other winter salad crops, like lamb’s lettuce: you may need cloches to protect these over the winter. Also, it’s the last chance to plant out cabbage seedlings this month: any plants not set out now should be left in the nursery bed over the winter.

As your plots are cleared you should also sow a green manure such as clover or rye grass to cover ground until next spring. Green manures will help prevent weeds establishing, and once dug into the ground the following spring they help return nutrients to the soil, helping the fertility of your plot.
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Soil Association : August:
If you have time, start sowing crops for harvesting later this year and early next year:
  • Spring cabbages

  • Cauliflowers
  • Endives
  • Autumn and winter lettuces
  • Onions
  • Radishes
  • Shallots
  • Winter spinach
  • Turnips
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Edmondsham House.

Down to Earth (From Salisbury Journal):
OTHER people’s allotments and gardens are a constant source of inspiration and ideas. I was fortunate enough to visit the gardens of Edmondsham House, near Cranborne and chat to head gardener Andrew Haynes last week for a feature to be published in September’s Wiltshire Society magazine.
And I walked away with inspiration in trugfulls.
The kitchen garden, part of the walled garden, has been managed organically since 1984 when Andrew became head gardener.
Runner beans are grown on coppiced hazel arches, comfrey is grown to provide liquid feed for hungry vegetables throughout the growing season, as no chemical fertilisers or pesticides are ever used.

Andrew uses the ‘no-dig’ method of cultivating the soil, which helps prevent weed seeds being brought to the surface. Mulches are used helping to conserve moisture and soil structure.
Rows of borage have been planted alongside the beans to attract pollinators but the plant's bright blue star shaped flowers are also striking features. I have grown borage in this way but always been late in staking and they have flopped horribly, but Andrew has created a small fence to act as support and to tie them into.
The bright orange heads of calendula have been deliberately planted with the purple sprouting broccoli to keep cabbage root fly at bay.
Calendula self seed freely, the plants first appearing in spring and can be transplanted easily to whatever part of the plot is needed for the simple to grow companion plant.
Aside from the kitchen garden, the walled garden has some quite beautiful herbaceous borders, planted to be of interest for a long season.
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No dig growing.

No dig growing |

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How to Create a No Dig Garden.

How to Create a No Dig Garden: 12 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow:

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Урожай. 2014.

Morris Minor 1000 Traveller.
Александр Арнольд Константин (18 ноября 1906 - 2 октября 1988), английский конструктор и дизайнер автомобилей греческого происхождения.
Сын греческого коммерсанта, Иссигонис эмигрировал в Англию в 1922, спасаясь от греко-турецкой войны. Получил техническое образование, в 1936 поступил в компанию "Моррис Моторс ". Здесь он разработал оригинальную модель "Моррис Майнор" (Morris Minor), автомобиль "чисто британского" имиджа: не роскошный, но надежный, легкий в управлении, поворотливый, что особенно ценно для переполненных тесных улиц больших городов. Morris Minor стал первым полностью английским автомобилем, перешагнувшим миллионный рубеж продаж. Модель выпускалась с 1948 - 1971.
Он же в 1959 создал модель "Мини" (Mini).
- Машина - не моя! К сожалению.
Monarda 'Squaw'.
Monarda, народные названия пчелиный бальзам, бергамот.
Род назван Карлом Линнеем в честь испанского ботаника и врача Николаса Монардеса (1493—1588), который в 1574 году издал книгу, в которой описывал новые растения, найденные в Америке.
Цветы бывают красные, розовые, и фиолетовые.
Из него получают ароматное эфирное масло. Люблю.
Китайская капуста - pak choi. Укроп, петрушка. Корневой сельдерей.
Батат. Клубника.
Огурцы. Да, это все огурцы!
Кабачки. Мангольд.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Truffle trouble .

Truffle trouble | Environment | The Guardian:
But just how acceptable is all this foraging? Do people have the right to pick mushrooms, at least on open-access land? Does the landowner have the right to stop us? More fundamentally, does any of it do any harm to the environment? Or is mushroom picking the ultimate sustainable activity?

The nearest thing to a national policy is the code of conduct published by English Nature, the wildlife watchdog. It is all right to pick, says English Nature, provided you ask the landowner and stick to the code. Rare species should not be picked (but what's a rare species?), nor should we gather more than 1.5kg (fresh weight) per day from any particular site. Scotland has a similar code, issued by Scottish Natural Heritage. Both bodies are relaxed about picking for the family pot, but frown on commercial picking.

But frowning is one thing, prosecuting someone is another. Can we have open access and yet ban mushroom picking? In theory, we can. Any landowner can apply to the local authority for an order against blackberry pickers, moss gatherers or butterfly collectors. In this land of the free, any of Mother Nature's bounties, even the meanest, sourest berry or nut, is deemed to be private property.

In the case of the New Forest, which is managed by the Forestry Commission, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) decided that it owned the mushrooms. In the 1990s, it banned commercial picking over the entire forest, and banned foraging for mushrooms altogether in certain woods.

But what about the legislation on conserving wildlife? Is there a legal way of challenging commercial pickers if they damage a mushroom's natural habitat?

Quite possibly not. The limited protection offered by sites of special scientific interest (SSSI) relates to the specific plants, animals and natural landforms cited in the formal description of the site. And, as English Nature admits, very few of these mention fungi. Out of 4,000 SSSIs in England, only a handful mention fungi, and only one is designated specifically because of its outstanding fungus flora. A prosecution based on our statutory system for protecting wildlife would be difficult to prove.

Is that a problem? Does picking damage the mushroom's prospects? Tee-Hillman insists that mushrooms actually benefit from picking. "I pick the brown chanterelles every 10 days from the same place," she says. "By making sure I don't damage their root system, I can get a new crop every 10 days for up to three months."

Where problems arise, it is not from careful picking but from felling trees and damaging the delicate upper layers of the soil where the fungi thrive. "Wherever the Forestry Commission has cut down the trees we won't be seeing the mushrooms again for hundreds of years," she says.

Michael Jordan, author of The Encyclopaedia of Fungi of Britain and Europe (1995) and founder of the Association of British Fungus Groups, has no problems with picking for the pot, but he would "personally err on the side of caution".

He says: "You get figures bandied about from both camps, but we don't know whether there is damage or not. What we are seeing, though, is a massive depletion of the countryside. Hoovering up the mushrooms robs the countryside of a beautiful feature for people to see and enjoy."

So there we are. Commercial picking may or may not harm the fungus. But no one objects to mushrooms being picked for the kitchen pot.

- Four Fs (legal): Fruit, foliage, fungi, flowers.

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