Thursday, 9 May 2013

How To Sterilise Soil and Spent Compost


I have been researching in to Victorian and Wartime garden practices when I stumbled across methods they used for sterilising soil/ spent compost to re-use for seed sowing compost . One of the biggest expenses of having an allotment seems to be the price of compost for seed sowing . 
Cutting the story short basically you have to boil the soil for 30 minutes . I use a 20 brick ‘rocket stove’ at the allotment powered by dried weeds , wood and old newspapers but you can (and I have ) use one of those portable gas stoves that take gas cartridges and an old non-stick pan and lid.
The method is to fill the pan with soil / spent compost up to an inch from the rim .
Boil some water and add around 500ml of boiling water (it needs roughly to be the amount that would fill the empty pan up to a depth of one inch ) .
Add the boiling water to the soil/spent compost . Put the lid on the pan and simmer for 30 minutes.
Once cooled the sterilised mixture is ready to use for sowing.
Please note this is a seed sowing mixture and will contain no nutrients as seeds do not require nutrients to germinate .
Use your sieved home-made compost for potting on.
Also please don’t try this indoors – the mixture has an unpleasant odour that your family wont thank you for.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

A Very Warm Start To May

As I continue to keep up my fight against weeds whilst tackling overdue and new projects the sun has been shining and the allotment is taking shape and coming to life.


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Wednesday, 1 May 2013

April 2013 A Busy Month Of Sowing

 All at the allotment is far from complete and I continue to fill my head full of ideas influenced from a multitude of sources . Tasks that have been on a 'to-do' list for months are still waiting to be seen to . The shed is still as full as it was at the start of the year - a thorough clear out is long over due. Part of the cause of the shed clutter seems to be the 'one man's junk is another man's treasure' syndrome and as allotments change tenants I have been passed a few items some of which I really ought to have said no to.
  I am no good at keeping diaries but thankfully I take the odd photograph on most of my visits using either a my camera or mobile phone. So today I shall just briefly update from the camera's memory :
The 5th April saw the beginnings of the edging around the path . Originally I was going to purchase decking but then that would defeat the whole austerity thing and so a solution was found in using old wooden pallets - I even managed to re-use the nails too. The woodstain however was bought on sale at £2.39 for a 5 litre tub.





By April 9th the task was completed all the way to the entrance of the shed.
On the 10th I attached some of the orange safety fencing I had been given to the path edging . This has a dual purpose - to keep the dog from going on the plants and something to attach butterfly nets to in order to protect the crops . Sadly if the path was fenced on both sides the wheelbarrows would become too wide.  

On the 12th April I finally removed the last compost heap from our backgarden and gave it a new home at the allotment . The contents were put into trenches and pits that had been dug ready for runnerbeans later on in the year.

On the 17th I harvested my first lot of Rhubarb , the second lot was to be harvested on the 30th