Welcome to what will be the first of a new series of Mister Compost blogs providing monthly gardening advice and handy tips on how to get the most from Field Compost’s products.
So here we are in late February and it’s only 42 weeks until Christmas 🙂 Winter is at last loosening it’s grip on the garden and the tell-tale signs of spring are very much in evidence. The days are starting to stretch out, the daffodils are nearly in bloom, and judging by the dawn chorus this morning the birds have definitely been exchanging valentine’s cards. But let’s face it; it’s still largely damp, cold and windy out there!
Now you are probably expecting me to start extolling the virtues of donning your warmest winter clothing and heading out into the garden to spend all day digging your borders in anticipation of the new season ahead. Which if you are the sort of hardy individual that enjoys such masochistic pursuits is fine. However if like most of us you prefer to leave any really hard work in the garden until such a time it can be completed whilst wearing shorts and a tee shirt then here are some ideas that will be right up your street:
Why not plant a few seeds?
Stay indoors in the warm, put the radio on, boil the kettle and start planting a few seeds. If you enjoy a good browse of the many seed packets up for sale in your local garden centre, you will be very aware of the potential to fill every available bit of warm, light space in your house with seed trays at this time of year, and if you are lucky enough to have a heated greenhouse then the “world truly is your oyster!” January and February are particularly good months to get a head start on growing vegetable crops so they are ready to plant out once the risk of frost has passed in May.
Field No.7 seed compost is perfect for this job as it provides a balanced environment for the healthy germination and early growth of most plant species.
I was lucky enough to receive a chilli growing kit from Santa last year. So as a rather un-scientific experiment have planted one of each of the three chilli varieties in the peat based seed compost provided with the kit, and one of each in Field No.7. Early results demonstrate the Field No.7 to be performing better than the seed compost provided in the kit; with a slightly higher germination rate and larger more healthy looking seedlings. I will keep you up to speed with results in next month’s post.
Field No.7 is not yet available from Field Compost’s retail outlets but why not obtain a bag by taking advantage of their current special offer: Field Compost will deliver a free 40L “Handy bag” of either Field No.3 multipurpose potting compost or Field No.7 seed compost with every bulk bag purchased. The offer ends 31st March 2015 so visit www.fieldcompost.co.uk for more information.
Prepare your beds and borders the easy way
With the lengthening days the ground is gradually warming up and the plants are once again able to start using the nutrients in the soil to start growing. So now is a great time to give your borders a bit of an early season “boost” by adding some Field No.1 Soil Conditioner.
Ok, I admit this does involve venturing outside but if you pick your moment between showers, here is a solution that’s a bit easier on the back:
- Calculate how much Field No.1 soil conditioner you need. A 1m³ bulk bag is enough to cover 10m² at a depth of 100mm. If you aren’t sure how much you need give Field Compost a call and they will help do the calculations for you.
- It’s normally the case that perennial weeds are the first to try and get a head start on the new season so a quick whizz round with a fork to dig out the likely looking protagonist’s will greatly lesson the need for weeding later in the year.
- Spread a layer of Field No.1 soil conditioner over your borders and around the existing plants and shrubs as a mulch. A depth of between 75 and 100mm (3”- 4”) is ideal. This is surprisingly easy as the Field No.1 is light, easy to shovel and very easy to spread!
- Stand back and admire your hard work!
The benefits of applying Field No.1 at this time of year are many: It provides a warm protective layer for emerging plants and slowly releases nutrients to provide an early season balanced feed. Meanwhile the gardeners best friends; the humble earthworms will commence the hard work of incorporating this valuable source of organic matter into the soil for you. This will gradually improve the soil structure to help roots grow and spread and also help the soil more effectively hold onto moisture when things warm up later in the year.