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Archive for January, 2015

Testing Testing

We’ve harvested the last of the potatoes that we overlooked from last year, and the Kale that has been gamely clinging on to it’s vitality is finally coming to it’s end. So the January days are all about sorting, tidying, organising and preparing for the growing season to come.
We must have been good this year because Santa gave us a liberal sprinkling of gardening gifts and nick nacks. One of which was a very comprehensive soil testing kit, a kit I had one eye on…even if the other eye was on the price tag.
It’s not that it was very expensive, indeed what it gives you back is very good value. It’s more that you can tell an awful lot about soil from the sights, sounds textures and feel, so whenever it came to buying a kit, I thought that my senses were a good substitute for the science.
That may be so, but it’s always good to confirm (or deny) your suspicions when wanting to maximise your crop yield, and besides, with the help of all the family in the soil testing production line, it turned out to be a fun afternoon.
The results? Well we still have to complete some nutrients tests, but to sum them up we have an alkaline soil (ph 7.5) with low nutrients.
Lowering the ph can take a lot of time, and indeed it isn’t always needed, as it depends on what your trying to grow. Most crops can tolerate this ph score, even though potatoes for instance may prefer a slightly lower ph.
So generally the plan is to add some well rotted organic matter throughout, (apart from the brassica bed) and increase our knowledge and use of the composting bins, which despite being a permanent fixture, have been somewhat underused.

testing testing

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Whisky in the jar

The new year weather has really tested our resolution to get out in the garden on these cold wet days, but with a host of Christmas gardening gifts to give us a boost, we have not quite ploughed on regardless, but at least managed to do some cleaning, clearance and cut the autumn fruiting raspberries down to base.
In addition we planted a rather special rose in the garden in the form of ‘Whisky Mac’.
This particular rose is a scented hybrid tea rose, which basically means that it should produce long stems with quality amber/yellow flowers, ideal for cutting and popping inside in a vase or jar.
The variety may not be as vigorous and disease resistant as it used to be, but we really don’t mind because it’s a special reminder of a very special lady who loved this rose and gave garden inspiration to Jane from an early age – her nan!
Here’s a picture of the proud grand daughter and great grand daughter planting memories for years to come!

photo 1 photo 2

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