This protects the roots of each plant from damage when you transplant especially in the heat of summer. Transplant then give them a good drink and all they think is – goodness lots of food and water, none or very little transplant shock.
A short spray once a day just brings the roots up to the surface and they dry out very quickly really stressing the plants. A good deep water once a week is the answer. Dig you finger into the soil – if it is damp about 2 – 3 cms down, they can wait for a drink unless newly transplanted.
The best lettuces are grown in Autumn and Spring. In Winter a raised garden that gets lots of sun will work, and in Summer they need shade, just like we do, over the hottest part of the day. They prefer a good rich moist soil so they grow fast, mulching with compost helps keep the roots cool and moist.
We always plant 2 seeds in our pots, you can either carefully separate them or do as we do, plant both together.
We don’t because for our home gardens we mostly grow cherry type up a trellis. Mother nature doesn’t, and potatoes who are their kissing cousins don’t have their laterals removed, just give them a bit more space.
We never feed our plants, we continually feed the soil, this is the engine room of the garden. Also never leave soil unplanted if you can avoid it, quickly add some excellent compost, a spare sprinkle of slow release organic fertiliser.
We prefer to live an let live within reason. If you don’t use poisons, your big and small wildlife increases so a few bad bugs are always needed for food. The real nasties like green shield beetles and snails are best collected and feed to hens if you have them or squash and return to rot in garden. Children like to collect these, especially if you have hens who will reward you with eggs. Encourage diversity in the garden and always leave some plants to go to flower, their nectar provides food for the good bugs. The best prevention of pests is to keep the soil well fed.
A: This is probably caused by an oversupply of nitrogen. This often happens when too much un-composted animal manure is added. The organic option is fishmeal or tea made from it. This adds the phosphates needed for root development, it also has plenty of other important nutrients.
A: This is again probably an oversupply of nitrogen. Potassium is needed for fruit set and development. A good organic way to add this is with comfrey tea or chopped up banana skins. Provide good nutrient to beneficial army busy in the soil by adding excellent compost is also a good way to go.
A: We use a little neem oil in the nursery, but would also advise building up you bee flowers supply (year long). The parents of the babies which feed on bugs have a sweet tooth and need lots of nectar to keep them happy and busy laying eggs. Just remember happy healthy plants grow in soil teeming with happy healthy bugs/worms and fungi etc who work away making food available for the plants. Plants that are not stressed by hunger are much less likely to surrender to pests and diseases.
Not all “organic” composts are created equal.
The words “ORGANIC COMPOST” cause a lot of confusion. Gardeners, trying to source the best products for their garden, assume because it is called organic it must be okay. The reason it can be called organic is because the materials used to make it once lived. There is no requirement in this country for a product to be certified to be called “ORGANIC”.
To make sure you buy the best safe product, make sure the brand you buy is “CERTIFIED ORGANIC” by reputable certifier such as Biogro. This assures you that the quality controls required for certification have been adhered to and that the product has no or minimal contamination by pesticide or heavy metal. Also the compost will have been heated (by microorganisms involved in this natural process, not artificially) during the process of decomposition to a temperature of at least 55 degrees and kept there for at least 3 days, turned and this process repeated several times so that decomposition almost completed. This means the bad bugs and weed seeds are destroyed.
The best compost has also been aged before sale for at least 6 months so that all the waste products used to make the compost have broken down properly, nutrients are then immediately available to the soil organisms when it is spread on the garden.
The best composts are made from a wide variety of material so that the end product is rich in a wide variety of plant foods. It should not be too fine, and the coarse materials should be well rotted, this means soil aeration, drainage and the moisture retention properties of the soils will be improved as well giving a good boost to the vigour of your plants.
So buy the best, make sure it is CERTIFIED ORGANIC.
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