Friday, 29 July 2016

Methods « Greenshire Eco Farms

Methods « Greenshire Eco Farms

Rose Hugel Pot. Hugelkultur.

- Low Cost Vegetable Garden: Rose Hugel Pot Update

- Low Cost Vegetable Garden: Hugelkultur
One thing to remember is that hugelkultur's do best in their 3-4th year after wood has broken down, become sponge like and built a network of microbes, fungi and air pockets.

If you try it, here are a few tips from locals:

Be prepared to lose some produce to deer, foxes, groundhogs, or whatever critters populate your neighborhood.
The hugelkultur landscape's natural look is inviting to them.

Don't be alarmed if your garden seems to sink.
As the wood breaks down, air pockets form, and the mound will settle.
This doesn't harm anything, but if you're hoping the garden maintains a certain height for aesthetic reasons, you may want to initially build the garden a few inches above that height.

Remember you're working with the environment.
All materials should be natural, and you shouldn't have to spend a lot of money to create a garden like this.
In addition to the logs Earnest and Hunsiker got from their own felled trees, they used their compost and free mulch from Abington Township.

- Hugelkultur: A pile of patience - and fun - philly-archives

Wind & Willow.

Wind & Willow | Fedges | TOAST Travels

If you want to grow a willow fedge, it’s best to plant in early spring.
You’ll need a bundle of withies – these can be bought online.
Push the rods into the ground about 30cms apart.
They need to go in at least 15cms deep.
I alternated vertical rods with two planted at an angle and crossed over.
I then twisted the rods together at the top to make an upper edge.
Don’t be scared to tie the withies so they stay in the pattern you want – eventually they will grow into each other and stay there.

Gardens: Alys Fowler’s top 25 indestructible plants.

Gardens: Alys Fowler’s top 25 indestructible plants | Life and style | The Guardian

Alys Fowler: hot compost bin.

Alys Fowler: hot compost bin | Life and style | The Guardian

How to get rid of weeds forever.

How to get rid of weeds forever - Telegraph

The No-Dig Allotmenteer

The No-Dig Allotmenteer

The Hugelkultur.

The Hugelkultur Task | Green Corridor Charity

- Alys Fowler: the joys of hugelkultur (or rotting wood to you and me) | Life and style | The Guardian
When I moved on to my plot, I inherited a leylandii trunk that was far too big to cut up by hand. It was at best something to perch on, which is exactly what I did with it until I read Sepp Holzer's Permaculture (Permanent Publications, £18.95). Here I found my solution: a raised bed that looks after itself. Powered by rotting wood, it needs no feeding or watering for years. It's called hugelkultur, and it works remarkably well.

Hugelkultur, in simple terms, is a raised bed with very steep sides. Deep at the centre of the bed is rotting wood, brush or other bulky organic material, covered with upturned turf and topsoil. The wood at the centre acts like a sponge, absorbing water and releasing heat as it breaks down. It also feeds the bed, slowly releasing nutrients. It's best if the wood is a whole trunk, because this rots slowly and steadily, rather than all at once (which is what happens if you use bark chippings).

The wood has to be buried deep, though, or you get a huge amount of nitrogen lock-up. As wood breaks down, it robs nitrogen from the soil to aid decomposition; once broken down, it releases it again, but that is some time away and nearby plants may struggle, especially if they're trying to establish themselves.

My trunk was 10ft long, a foot or so across and just beginning to rot, so perfect for the job. It was buried to where the soil changed colour and became heavier, and on top went brambles, twigs, more brush and very rough compost and autumn leaves. I also put in some nettle and comfrey tops, to help with potential nitrogen lock-up issues. I had no turf to hand, so a layer of grass clippings and then topsoil went on top.

In the first year, you need to grow plants that can cope with the bulky nature of the rotting stuff. I chose a mixture of green manure to stabilise the sides and perennials and annual veg. The first year I grew tomatoes, pumpkins, chard and wild beetroot among the green manure, Phaecelia (sown later in the summer, so as not to compete with the other crops).

Now in year two, I've established cardoons, horseradish, mint, wild beet and flat-leaf parsley along the ridge, leaving the sides for annual veg (potatoes worked surprisingly well in all that rough organic matter).

I have not watered or fed anything, and yet I harvest well. It is also rich in wildlife, acting as a giant beetle hotel. And when you dig around, you can see find strands of mycorrhizal fungi going to work on the wood. In short, it is a damned happy habitat. As the motto goes, "Feed your soil and it feeds you."
- Alys Fowler.
- Alys Fowler's gardening column | Life and style | The Guardian

How to Build a Hugelkultur Bed
Gather woody waste materials such as dead logs, extra firewood, pruned or clipped branches etc.
The wood can be either rotting or fresh, although already rotting wood is preferable because it decomposes faster.
Lay the wood in a mound about 1-2 feet /60cm high and stamp on it to break it up.
Or dig a trench to lay the wood in.
Cover the wood with other compost materials such as autumn leaves, grass clippings, garden wastes, and manure.
This stage is optional if you aren't planning to plant the bed immediately, but bear in mind that wood is high in carbon and will consume nitrogen to do the composting.
This could lock up the nitrogen and take it away from your plants (nitrogen robbery).
But well-rotted wood doesn't do this so much.
If the wood is far enough gone, it may have already taken in so much nitrogen that it is now releasing it.
Adding a nitrogen-rich component is therefore a good plan if you want to start growing right away.
The waste from end of season peas and beans would be good for this – in fact anything you might grow for green manure could be used.
Rotted manure or your own compost made from household waste will also do the job.
Cover the wood and compostibles with a few more inches of soil and/or prepared compost, and you are ready to begin using the bed.

Among the plants known to do well in hugelkultur beds are potatoes, squash, and a number of different species of berries.
Some gardeners plant the bed with cover crops for the first year to improve fertility even more before adding vegetables or other plants.
These could be alfalfa, Hungarian grazing rye, red clover, buckwheat, field beans, white mustard etc, all of which are good nitrogen fixers.
The bed will initially be quite deep, but will settle out considerably. It will probably be about 1/3 the original depth a year from making.
Then you can place rocks or wooden edging around it and rework it a little into a slightly more elegant raised bed.
In the meantime it will work really well for a goodly crop of potatoes, which, if you are starting the process at the end of summer, could be a late variety suitable for harvesting in December.
Growing potatoes as a first salvo is a really good idea.
They seem to improve soil structure, and the earthing-up and harvesting processes add even more benefits.
Earthing-up can even be done with straw, which is a popular method of growing them in Scandinavia.
It makes it easy to harvest small early crops of mew potatoes without disturbing the plants too much, and the straw acts as an insulator, adding even more warmth, and also stops weeds getting a hold in the top layer of soil.
- Hugelkultur: Using Woody Waste in Composting

-When wood/carbon rich matter breaks down it steals a lot of the local Nitrogen. This Nitrogen is needed by your plants. To counter this you can plant leguminous plants that together with bacteria near their roots fix Nitrogen and make it available. A ton of chipped wood would rot down quicker but would also use up more Nitrogen initially. A large log weighing a ton would rot down more slowly and use up Nitrogen less initially.
-After a while it will settle down and lose some shape and lose growing space.
-Can provide a habitat for animals you dont want (mice/rats).

Now you will see I put "supposedly" a few times. This is because you dont really see any proper comparisons that show the benefits of hugelkulturs against a normal raised bed. I like the logic so I am willing to give it a go; plus I can get rid of all that wood without burning it or leaving it around for a habitat. Hopefully I can show some sort of comparison between similar plants grown in a non hugel-bed.
My allotment - updates and general projects (Hugelkultur, orchard, pond, munti etc)

- Low Cost Vegetable Garden: Hugelkultur
- Wood for Food ~ Gardening with the Slow Burn of Rotting Wood

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Чесночный день.

Чесночный день - Садовое обозрение
Чеснок озимый – пора убирать. Чеснок яровой поспеет не раньше 15 августа, а то и позже, зависит от того, когда сажали.
Есть нехитрые правила, как угадать срок уборки чеснока, и как его правильно высушить и подготовить к хранению.
Со стрелкующимся озимым чесноком все очень просто. Появилась стрелка – выламываем, но на грядке обязательно оставляем два растения с самым поздним выходом стрелки. Это наши маяки. Как только стрелка выпрямилась и начали лопаться обертки, объединяющие бульбочки – пора убирать.
Важно: уборку подгадать, чтобы до нее было хотя бы 3-4 дня солнечной погоды. Выкапываем чеснок, связываем за листья в небольшие пучки по 6-10 головок и подвешиваем под навесом и проветриваемом, но недоступном для солнца и дождя месте. Через 5-6 дней обрезаем листья, оставляя пеньки высотой 6-8 см, удаляем корни и комочки прилипшей земли. Опять сушим чеснок как минимум неделю. Только после этого обрезаем пеньки на высоту 2-3 см, зачищаем корни и прижигаем их на слабом пламени. Осторожно снимаем верхнюю грязную обертку и складываем чеснок на хранение. Способов есть несколько, мой чаще всего хранится в картонных коробках с вентиляционными отверстиями. Место прохладное, сухое и хорошо проветриваемое.
Нестрелкующиеся сорта озимого чеснока сажаю на грядку вместе с хотя бы 2-3 зубками стрелкующегося чеснока. Именно они и дадут сигнал к началу уборки: стрелки у них не выламывают.
Мой чеснок озимый уже висит в сарае на просушке: помедли я еще 2-3 дня с уборкой и осталась бы без запасов чеснока.
С яровым сложнее. Большинство сортов ярового чеснока нестрелкующиеся. Поэтому важно следить за состоянием пера. Как только начнется массовое пожелтение, так надо раскопать луковицу контрольного экземпляра так, чтобы она хорошо освещалась солнцем, и было наглядно видно состояние головки. Первая же трещина на обертках – это сигнал, что через 3-4 дня надо приступать к выкопке урожая. А дальше, как с озимым: сушка, обрезка и очистка, укладка на хранение.
Все распадающиеся на зубки головки чеснока надо без промедления использовать в пищу и на заготовки, потому что долго храниться они не будут.

Чеснок озимый - Garlic winter:
IN OCTOBER and November the soil is still relatively warm and the bulbs will establish good root systems before the winter sets in, so the earlier you get garlic into the ground the better the results will be, although you can carry on planting garlic right up until February.

Чеснок яровой - Garlic spring
Garlic usually takes about 8 months to produce a bulb. Harvest when the tops begin to turn brown; don't wait until the tops have completely died back. Treat the bulbs gently as bruised bulbs do not store well.

The earliest and largest garlic is grown in the UK by planting it late autumn.
However some areas are simply too cold for this to be an effective method, in those cases it is far better to start off your garlic in trays or containers.
If your area of the UK is too cold for autumn planting it will tell you below.

Plant cloves outside in autumn / winter - the third week of November 2016 (UK average)

Plant cloves in pots / for spring planting - the last week of November 2016 (UK average)

Plant cloves outside in spring - the second week of March 2016 (UK average)

Transplant garlic outside - the first week of April 2016

Start to harvest garlic approximately - the first week of August 2016

For garlic this is a very short section because they need almost no care throughout the growing season. They withstand dry weather very well but will benefit from the occasional good watering in particularly dry periods, this will keep the bulbs growing evenly.
But from mid-July onwards don't water at all to prevent any rot setting in to the nearly completely grown bulbs. Regular weeding will keep them healthy.
Expert advice on growing Garlic -

Tuesday, 26 July 2016


Thursday, 21 July 2016

How to Grow Lemon Verbena.

How to Grow Lemon Verbena | Backyard Gardening Blog
Growing Instructions

Once your plant get to 6 inches or more in height, cut back the top by about 2 inches to force the plant to make more side branches. A bushy plant will give you more leaves to harvest than a tall skinny one.

Lemon Verbena needs lots of water, so you will want to water your plants at least twice a week. The soil should never really dry out. A feeding of standard fertilizer can be applied twice a year, in the spring and fall to maximize growth.

After a few years of growth, your bush can develop some dead or overly woody branches. It’s fine to prune them out, and that will encourage the plant to sprout more new leaves.

If you really want to keep your plant compact, you can give it a vigorous pruning each winter. When the plant is dormant, you can cut it back to a height of 14 to 18 inches. It won’t harm the plant, providing you do this each winter. Once it grows 3 or 4 feet tall, this kind of pruning can kill the plant.

Around mid-summer, your plant will blossom small pale flowers that have the same lemony smell as the leaves. You can actually use the flowers as an herb, just like the leaves. Unlike other herbs that need to be harvested before the flowers come out, there is no problem with lemon verbena. Just enjoy the blossoms and keep picking leaves.

One quirk about lemon verbena is that it will lose its leaves in the winter, due to the shorter day length. This will happen even if you keep your plants indoors (unless you use grow lights). It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with your plants.

When it drops its leaves, just leave it be. Water it around once a week until the longer spring daylight hours prompt it to come back to life on its own.

Basic Potting Soil

2 parts coir or peat
2 parts sieved compost
1 part course sand (builder’s. Make sure it is free of herbicides), grit, and/or perlite
1 part vermiculite (optional, but I like it for water absorption)

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Lysimachia ciliata 'Firecracker'/

Lysimachia ciliata 'Firecracker' bears tall stems of pointed, dark purple leaves, which contrast beautifully with pale lemon flowers in July and August.It'sfect for growing in a mixed herbaceous border, and will also thrive at the pond edge or bog garden.

Grow Lysimachia ciliata 'Firecracker' in moist soil in full sun to partial shade. Mulch annually with well-rotted manure or compost and divide congested clumps in spring. The RHS has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Propagation methods: Division in Spring or Autumn
Cut back after flowering.
Specific pests: Slugs , Snails
Diseases: Generally disease-free

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Comfrey & Borage.

Borage is an annual and comfrey is the perrenial relative of comfrey.
The active agents in borage are said to cleanse the blood and strengthen the heart.
Comfrey when made into a compress is good for bruises, wounds and rheumatics.
They both belong to the Boraginaceae family.

Borage: Companion plant for tomatoes, squash, strawberries and most plants.
Deters tomato hornworms and cabbage worms.
One of the best bee and wasp attracting plants.
Adds trace minerals to the soil and a good addition the compost pile.
The leaves contain vitamin C and are rich in calcium, potassium and mineral salts.
Borage may benefit any plant it is growing next to via increasing resistance to pests and disease.
It also makes a nice mulch for most plants.
Borage and strawberries help each other and strawberry farmers always set a few plants in their beds to enhance the fruits flavour and yield.
Plant near tomatoes to improve growth and disease resistance.
After you have planned this annual once it will self seed.
Borage flowers are edible.

Varieties of Borage
There are three varieties of borage to grow in your garden:
Borago officinalis – the most common variety, the leaves are blue.
Borago officinalis 'Alba' – the flowers of this borage are white.
Borago officinalis 'Variegata' – the leaves of this one are yellowy and mottled and the flowers are blue.

Comfrey: This is one amazing plant.
Accumulates calcium, phosphorous and potassium.
Likes wet spots to grow in.
Comfrey is beneficial to avocado and most other fruit trees.
Traditional medicinal plant. Good trap crop for slugs.
Excellent compost activator, foliage spray, nutrient miner.
Comfrey is truly essential to all gardens.
Comfrey is edible, where I gre up it was called 'knip bone' or 'knit bone'.
When I was thirteen I twisted my ankle badly at a pipe works and my mum wrapped my ankle in the stuff, it brought out the bruising.

Artemisia absinthium, wormwood .

Artemisia absinthium, wormwood - THE POISON GARDEN website

Common Names and Synonyms:
- wormwood, common wormwood, wermuth, wermud.

This beautiful foliage plant has golden variegated leaves with serrated edges.
It makes a superb filler plant for bedding and patio displays, setting off brightly coloured flowers to perfection.
For the best results, grow in a sunny position in well-drained soil or compost.
To overwinter, lift plants and bring indoors to a light, frost-free place.

декоративная полынь | Дачное царство:
"Декоративная полынь (Artemisia)"
Экстракт полыни горькой используется для приготовления абсента (дистиллят спиртовой настойки из полыни горькой и других трав). Именно этот ингредиент придаёт абсенту специфический, неповторимый вкус. Полынь — один из основных компонентов в вермуте, а также в некоторых спиртовых настойках.

Полынь иногда используется в кулинарии в качестве приправы, в том числе к жирным блюдам. Многие любят её горький запах и вкус, используют как приправу к жареным мясным блюдам, особенно к жареному гусю.
Полынь используется, в частности, как фитонцидное и инсектицидное средство для борьбы с гусеницами и плодожоркой. Отсюда и английское название полыни англ. wormwood (worm — червь, wood — древесина, лес). Запах растения отпугивает платяную моль, муравьёв, блох, тараканов.
Надземной частью можно окрашивать ткани в различные тона зелёного цвета.

Полынь, оказывается, относится к вполне благородному и благозвучному семейству Астровые, то есть астры, которые мы любим и выращиваем в садах за их осеннюю красоту – родственницы полыни.
В роду полыни более 400 видов.
В основном это многолетние травянистые растения, но есть и однолетние, и двулетние, и полукустарники.
Среди этого многообразия есть декоративная полынь, применяемая в озеленении, есть сорняки, но есть и кормовые травы, и лекарственные, есть виды используемые в парфюмерной промышленности.
Полынь горькая (A.absinthium) – лекарственное растение, известное с древних времен.
Ее же используют и в винном деле при изготовлении вермута.
В абсенте одним из основных компонентов является настойка горькой полыни (достаточно прочитать латинское название вида).
А еще эстрагон или тархун – приправа к мясу, пряность для соления и консервации, ни что иное, как полынь эстрагоновая (A. dracunculus).
Веточки полыни лекарственной (A. abrotanum), пахнущие лимоном, будучи положенными в одежный шкаф отпугивают моль.
И это все полынь.

Виды декоративной полыни многолетние и обычно делятся на две группы: низкорослые и высокорослые.
Из низкорослых видов чаще всего используются полынь Шмидта (A. schmidtiana), ее сорт Nana – высота растения около 25 см, полынь Стеллера (A. stelleriana), сорт Mori и другие - высота растения около 20 см, полынь горная (A. vallesiaca) высотой около 40 см.
К высокорослым видам, имеющим декоративное значение, относится полынь молочноцветковая (A. lactiflora) высотой до 150 см с серо-зелеными листьями, цветет белыми пахучими цветками, собранными в метелки, в течение августа – сентября.
К этой же группе относится полынь Людовика (A. ludoviciana).
Наиболее интересный сорт этого вида – Silver Queen высотой до 70 см, имеет способность быстро разрастаться.

Размножают декоративную полынь делением куста, отрезками корневища и черенками.
Кусты легко делятся в начале осени.
Деленки следует сразу посадить на новые места.
Черенками размножать надо в конце мая – начале июня.
Для этой цели лучше всего подойдут верхушечные черенки длиной около 10 см.
Обрезать веточку для черенка надо под узлом, нижние листья оборвать.
Высаживать черенки надо в ящики или на специально отведенном месте с рыхлой песчаной почвой.
Увлекаться поливом не следует.
На постоянное место саженцы высаживаются на следующий год.

Очень красиво смотрятся полынь Людовика, сорт Silver Queen и барбарис Тунберга, посаженные рядом.
Полынь Стеллера хорошо сочетается с гвоздикой – травянкой, очитком, шалфеем, овсяницей сизой , низкими колокольчиками.
Для полыни молочноцветковой хорошими соседями будут астры кустарниковая, новоанглийская или новобельгийская.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

How to grow: French honeysuckle. By Carol Klein.

How to grow: French honeysuckle - Telegraph
'Once seen, never forgotten', writes Carol Klein
Imagine a whopping clover with flowers of brightest red borne on strong stems that form an open bush 3ft high. For good measure add glaucous pinnate leaves, silver rimmed and silver on their reverse. Hedysarum coronarium is a once seen, never-forgotten sort of a plant. It is instantly attractive and has huge presence in any planting scheme.
Pinks abound, crimson is common but a good clear red is a rarity in the garden, which is part of its draw. Another is the heightened magnetism of this colour when surrounded by foliage. The eye is unused to seeing red and green of the same tone next to one another: the discord makes us see stars.
The Linnean herbarium lists more than 30 hedysarum but most are vetch-like plants of lowly demeanour and none can compare with H. coronarium. This is a legume, closely related to peas and beans.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Symphytum grandiflorum/Dwarf comfrey.

Symphytum grandiflorum | Green Light Plants
There are 35 species of Symphytum.
It is a perennial herb and can have blue, pink, white or yellow flowers that are bell-shaped or tubular.
The broad hairy leaves are generally green but there are variegated types, such as S. x uplandicum 'Variegatum' Award of Garden Merit (AGM) which has creamy variegations.
Growing tips
Symphytum will grow eagerly as long as you can provide some shade and moisture (a hedge bottom, a ditch or under a deciduous tree in moist soil would be ideal). Cut down the stem quickly after flowering to promote a second flush and to limit self-seeding. Remember, only plant S. ibericum or grandiflorum cultivars - the ones with the yellow-edgd flowers - if you want to cover whole tracts of the garden.
Where to buy
- The Cottage Herbery, Mill House, Boraston near Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire WR15 8LZ (01584 781575). Send four second-class stamps to receive seeds.
- Bernwode Plants, Kingswood Lane, Ludgershall, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP18 9RB (01844 237415). Send £2 for a catalogue

- Symphytum orientale/white comfrey
- a lovely wine-red comfrey called 'Romanian Red'
- But, remember, if there is a hint of tobacco-stained edge on that flower, walk away.
The plants spread far too quickly. Removing them from a flower bed, once the mistake was realised, was an impossibility - they grew back from tiny pieces of root and self-seeded vigorously.

In focus: comfrey - Telegraph

- To make a compost tea from comfrey (Symphytum officinale usually, but S. asperum and S. x uplandicum have similar properties) pack a water butt with leaves and steep in the water until it has digested and cogitated.
There will be an unholy smell but this is the price you pay for getting liquid fertiliser, rich in nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous and calcium.

Symphytum | Horticulture Week