staging removed ready for the BIG clean. Note the green algae on
the floor and along the eaves.
vacuum cleaner is for cleaning out the gaps at the base of the side
bars. The Armillatox will clear the algae from the floor, eaves
and glass. The sprayer is for applying the Armillatox.
The rubber gloves to keep it off of my hands. The broom for
cleaning the floor. The one thing missing in this photo is my "elbow
grease" which was needed in abundance!!
staging on the patio ready for cleaning. There are five large
pieces and five small, with the smaller ones designed to slot under the
larger ones when not in use. When laid out on each side of the
greenhouse they create "steps", although this season I intend to change
The new layout of the staging for the 2008 season.
Four large pieces for the base with one on the top at the front and two
small ones on the top at the rear. The remaining three small
pieces on the right. Note the centre staging is offset to the left to
allow more space on the right, although it will be possible to run a row
of pots along the left hand side if required. These would be
raised only slightly off the floor and extra care will be needed when
moving along the aisle. There are a few "plusses" I've noticed
already and they are, it will be easier to keep the floor under the
benches cleaner and I can reach the vents without having to stretch
across the plants.
E. The three different types of mineral soil I will be
adding in various amounts to my peat based compost. Left to Right, Black
Fen Topsoil, John Chiswell's soil and Wisbech St. Mary soil.
Fen Topsoil. I'm led to believe this soil was formed from trees
that were under sea water for a few hundred years or more and only
became available for farming after the Fens
were drained. The larger pieces are clay with the smaller
particles being "woody" and easily broken down when rubbed between the
hands. Absorbs water well but dries out quickly on the surface.
The farmer who sells it informed me the ph. is 6.5 but I feel this would
have been created by him to enable him to grow better crops. I
shall be keeping a close eye on the ph. of all of my growing media as
the year progresses.
Mendip Hill's soil. This is the soil John
Chiswell uses and he has kindly supplied me with an amount to allow me
to try it for myself. John knows the site the soil comes from
although he actually buys unsold grass turf that was grown on the site
from a local nurseryman. To my eye the "soil" is a golden sand
bound together by the roots of the grass. This creates a very
friable growing medium and I'm looking forward to growing a few plants
in it. John tells me the ph. is very close to 7.
Wisbech St. Mary Clay. This soil
came as another gift, this time from Tony Richardson, a Wisbech St. Mary
grower. I collected it as huge great clods and I had to cut it up and
put it through a sieve to get it to this stage. Tony's seedlings
looked a picture growing in it last year so I've scrounged some to try a
few of my plants in it this season. You know this is clay as the
cut surfaces "shine" because its so smooth. Tony tells me the ph.
is just above 7 which I confirmed with the use of my ph. meter.
This is the peat I've used to make my own
compost these last three years. Kekkila Medium Grade Sphagnum Moss
Peat. I add various chemical fertilizers to a given formula and
use a regular feeding programme to try and grow better plants. I
use the bushel measure for mixing as I mix by hand and any larger amount
is difficult to turn effectively which may result in "strong" and "weak"
spots throughout the compost. I intend to create different mixes
by adding separately the three soils mentioned in different amounts to
my own peat mix to see if I can improve on my growing. I will also
add various "solids" such as Horticultural Sand, Perlite or Vermiculite
to assist with drainage where I feel it is appropriate to do so.
Please note that the bulk of my plants
will be grown in my usual compost with a few trial pots being grown
in the various "new" types. I would strongly advise that anyone
wanting to change their regular compost should try a few in their
chosen "new" compost and evaluate it's benefits before changing over