Thursday, 20 May 2010

Pearls of wisdom - just a couple for now.

What happens to potatoes when you forget to eat them. Don't cut off the shoots, allow them to grow some more. I have six potatoes that are currently chitting, they look damn scary but I'm going to try and grow them. Strangely enough I have done this in the past with an onion and something else just to see what would happen. The something else got thrown out by my flatmate, even though I had it on a plate (I hoped that would be clue enough). The onion I threw out myself because I was not aware that I was doing anything remotely useful - I thought I was just being weird. Who'da funk it?
 I'd like to add that I'm not entirely convinced that using potatoes that you originally bought for eating is the best way to go but I haven't as yet found anything that says you shouldn't unless I'm being dappy which is probable. I'll give it a go and report back though.
Here's how to do it properly.

What type of soil do I have in my garden? The below activity is a very simple way to find out and feels terribly Mother Earth like.

There are three basic but different types of soils. The three soil types are clay, loam and sand. Loamy soils are the ideal; the other two soil types present challenges ::eep:: Let's hope us first-time gardeners don't have to worry about those two.

But how do you find out which type of soil you have? Forget the more sophisticated ways, and more than likely the most expensive ways, to find out what is holding up your back garden.

Grab a large fistful of moist soil. Now what you want do here is roll it in your hands as though you're trying to create a shape - a sausage or ball shape will be fine and dandy.

Do you have a well formed shape? if yes you have a clay type soil.
Has you attempt just crumbled through your fingers? you have a sandy soil.
Were you able to create a shape, but the shape did not hold? Congratulations you have loamy soil.

To make a good guess at how healthy your soil is dig up a good spade's worth of soil - can you see many earth worms? how about insects? Good healthy soil should be teaming with worms and other soil dwellers.

What to know what will grow well in your soil? Check out your neighbours gardens if you can see them without inviting a visit from the police. Hell get to know your neighbours by asking them if any are keen gardeners and what they grow. Of course if they are as unsociable as some of the people in my area you might want to just not. *

And of course if you live anywhere like Lewisham, the majority of people couldn't give a monkeys about their gardens. A lot of people grow in pots though.

And almost anything that grows in the ground can be grown in a container. Jolly good.

*info written in my own words, information garnered from Alys Fowler.

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