Gardening, some advise requested.

Whinging pom

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That is remarkably good timing, I have a packet of walnuts that has sat on a shelf for too long! how long does it keep for? should I just make what I need just now?
It keeps for as long as it’s sealed by the covering of olive oil. Narrow jars are best as you need less olive oil to cover.

I like it on penne with some fine threads
of sun dried tomato and tiny chunks of black olive .
Try a small bit if you have the ingredients to hand it’ll be interesting to know what you think
 

Vintage Badger

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Onions from onion sets is the way to go next year, but trim off any long, wispy, dead skin from the tops (not too low or you'll damage the shoots beneath them) just enough to stop the birds grabbing hold of them and pulling them out after you've pushed them into the ground! They probably think it's suitable nesting material.

If you want to get cracking with onions this year then shallots (as sets) can be planted in November or December and should happily overwinter and give an earlier crop next year. Great for cooking with or making pickled onions.
 

Paul_B

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Onions from onion sets is the way to go, but trim off any long, wispy, dead skin from the tops (not too low or you'll damage the shoots beneath them) just enough to stop the birds grabbing hold of them and pulling them out after you've pushed them into the ground! They probably think it's suitable nesting material.

I prefer growing from seed as theres less chance of mildew or bolting, we all have a our preferred method depending on the local climate conditions, whatever it is, food always tastes better straight from the garden (y)
 

Vintage Badger

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I prefer growing from seed as theres less chance of mildew or bolting, we all have a our preferred method depending on the local climate conditions, whatever it is, food always tastes better straight from the garden (y)
I always found growing onions from seed a bit of a struggle on the heavy clay soil we had, so sets were my preferred method. I never had problems with mildew or bolting, so perhaps it's a more regional issue? Talking of bulbs/sets, I also used to grow garlic from sets too; so there's something else Oldbones could try.
 

Whinging pom

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I was going to hold back because I don’t want to overload the OP with excessive info.
This chaps getting lots of advice of what to do and grow, mostly well meaning, but not necessarily ideal for his circumstances.I’m sure a lot of you are really good with dealing with your own established patches , but it’s not necessarily apt for his present needs and not really looking at what he’s got there.

Look at the pictures of that soil. It is a rich loam from under a lawn … the best soil in the garden! He’s turned it over , so the nitrogen/humus rich loam is mostly a spade depth down (there are patches of it still on the surface). This new surface is mostly brought up from a spade depth down is a fine loam which is freely crumbling and lightly holding together, so it’s not suffering an excessive clay content there’s no sub soil or sign of gleying come up so it drains sufficiently and has a good silt and some humus content. ( as well as a lot of small stone).
The lawn is showing signs along with the weeds I mentioned earlier, signs of chafer grub damage and probably leather jackets.
The only other clue I can get is what looks like Magnesium deficiency on the Ribes and a Nitrogen deficiency on the lawn. As Nitrogen is an unstable element that usually leached out of soil in wet winters it is pointless correcting those problems until planting time.

The stones are the only worry to me I’d dig down a deeper little pit and make sure builders haven’t dumped top soil over a gravel/ type 1 area.

Putting well Rotted farm yard on at this stage will not significantly add to it and risks for someone with little experience sourcing the stuff, bringing in perennial weeds like sorrel, dock, nettle, alkanet Etc.
Which will ruin most of the good work he has done.
It would also blanket the soil itself from the floculation from the frosts.
His best bet is to finish cleaning the perennial grasses out of it , keep his feet off it, let the frost and birds do a job on it and then only go on it with a board or fork up his footprints as he retreats to keep it fluffy and fresh for good root growth.
Once the soil temp starts to warm up he can plan out his rows and deal with the soil accordingly.

Keep it simple and let’s not overload someone whose starting out on this journey.
 
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Oldbones

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You can produce an awfull lot in a small space. And a lot of weeds to control .
be modest in you expectations and expand as you need , Single digging is fine unless it’s really high drainage. leave it exposed to let the frosts do the work breaking it down.
Try to find a way of defining the lawn and the soil with a barrier

And your best friend by the look of that soil will be a scaffolding board for setting out and working between the rows

edit :
Let me flesh out my thoughts.
your lawn areas have plantain daisy and dandelion and annual meadow grass, it will also have couch grass of some species and possibly a creeping fescue or similar.
All of which will be very grateful for your hard work . So you need to really define a clean line between the two surfaces and maintain it and to cut down on weeding .

I would knock out that small strip of grass along the boundary, and scrupulously clean out all the remains grass that you’ve turned up.
If your worried about soil along the fence put in some old roof tiles or similar as a barrier.
Then let the birds do the bug hunting and the frost work on your soil texture , if you feel the need to top dress with something rich and organic the frost will work that in too and then the worms. But don’t rely on that feeding the bed in the spring. Nitrogen gets leeched away with moisture and you’ll have to kick start it once the soil starts to warm up.
Thankyou so much, you have really helped me out here, hope to be able to get this done and be a proud gardener.
 

Oldbones

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Are those stones limestone, if so, as said leave the soil ruff and let the frost get at it and add some sh!te type fertiliser to lower the alkalinity in the spring.

I'll be digging mine in the coming weeks and rotavating it in the spring.
Not lime just stones, they will be removed.
 

ohanzee

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A woman that lives near me does a lot of office work from home, and gives me a bag of paper all shredded now and then, the compost bin loves it.

On that note, Pom, why is my compost wet? I noticed a bit of oozing and investigated, temperature has dropped and it's wet at the bottom.
 

Oldbones

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Decide what you want to grow and then think about where you would will put them. Some thoughts:
- sprawling plants like cucumber and squash can be grown up a trellis to avoid them taking over useful growing space but you don’t want them shading other plants.
- carrots and parsnips want to be in poor soil so that you don’t get lots of forked roots.
- mini-pop sweet corn ( stir fry sized cobs) don’t need pollinating and so can be planted in a row unlike ‘normal’ sweetcorn has to be planted in a square.

In summary therefore plan your planting schedule and then next dig in manure where you want rich soil and consider building it up in mounds like a ploughed field to let the frost get at it over winter before taking it down in spring. After that don’t dig at all other than to plant or harvest so that you don’t bring weed seeds to the surface; just hoe to keep weeds down.
That is what my dad did, you describe it so well.
 

Whinging pom

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A woman that lives near me does a lot of office work from home, and gives me a bag of paper all shredded now and then, the compost bin loves it.

On that note, Pom, why is my compost wet? I noticed a bit of oozing and investigated, temperature has dropped and it's wet at the bottom.
Is it covered?
( Mind you we haven’t had much rain). Probably too much green stuff ( unless your using it as a midden!) and may need a bit of coarse along with the paper.
Have you got a shredder ? At the moment I’m doing perennials that have gone over and brown ( holy hocks delphinium etc) , lavender clippings, hornbeam hedge clippings etc through the shredder which is nice and dry and high carbon.
I keep it on one side and mix it in with the green and the kitchen waste as it goes in.

I don’t think the bottle trick will work again now.
if you’ve only one bin Probably best to turn it out, turn it over back into the compost heap and cover it over. It’ll soon get back upto a working temperature to finish it off.

If it’s brown oozing liquid out of the bottom after you’ve been up to heat then that’s fabulous liquid fertiliser. I have an outlet at the base of mine to decant it .

edit: thinking about where you are if your close to Bracken . When that starts the dry up sept /Oct it’s an ideal addition ( as are the fresh frond in spring ). None of the toxins are a problem when it’s composted Great for people growing spuds! Just be careful and cover up if there’s sheep about and your in a lime disease area.
 
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ohanzee

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Is it covered?
( Mind you we haven’t had much rain). Probably too much green stuff ( unless your using it as a midden!) and may need a bit of coarse along with the paper.
Have you got a shredder ? At the moment I’m doing perennials that have gone over and brown ( holy hocks delphinium etc) , lavender clippings, hornbeam hedge clippings etc through the shredder which is nice and dry and high carbon.
I keep it on one side and mix it in with the green and the kitchen waste as it goes in.

I don’t think the bottle trick will work again now.
if you’ve only one bin Probably best to turn it out, turn it over back into the compost heap and cover it over. It’ll soon get back upto a working temperature to finish it off.

If it’s brown oozing liquid out of the bottom after you’ve been up to heat then that’s fabulous liquid fertiliser. I have an outlet at the base of mine to decant it .

edit: thinking about where you are if your close to Bracken . When that starts the dry up sept /Oct it’s an ideal addition ( as are the fresh frond in spring ). None of the toxins are a problem when it’s composted Great for people growing spuds! Just be careful and cover up if there’s sheep about and your in a lime disease area.

I put a bin back over it, which was soaked with condensation(might be a clue there) I mince it up regularly with a fork to let air in but it's getting claggy, this is super fast though, last years was at this stage after a year, I mixed in a load of shredded paper, see how that goes.
 

Whinging pom

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I put a bin back over it, which was soaked with condensation(might be a clue there) I mince it up regularly with a fork to let air in but it's getting claggy, this is super fast though, last years was at this stage after a year, I mixed in a load of shredded paper, see how that goes.
Make sure the whole heap is covered not just the contents or the water will just leak down the sides. ( you see this a lot with people putting carpet on the top ).
 

Oldbones

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In that case it might be an idea to get it PH tested, adding lime if required to let the weather do the work over winter, then add compost etc in the spring.
I have a couple of compost bins, I have started one and when it works if it works, I will then start another.
I also bought a bag of manure today.
 

Whinging pom

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8F4743DD-D5B2-44A9-BD76-B44A0EEDFEF5.jpeg
This is a random picture grabbed yesterday of the inside of my compost bin, I’d have liked to hav shown more fresh green.
Notice there’s a mix of food, twig, some brown paper, and shredded plant material from clearing the borders ready for autumn, and weeds , but with weeds I cut off perennial roots and seed heads….they go in the rubbish bin!
As does any diseased material such as rusts, blights and canker. Bin or burn them, erase them from your system.

It’s not often I put tree leafs in and when autumn comes I keep them separated for leaf mould (garden gold).
compost is a heat bacteria/ enzyme process.
Leaf mould is a cold fungus process that takes much longer.

Saying that I used to regularly work in a large garden in France where I was redesigning and renovating the ancient orchards. They had a huge avenue of deciduous trees and the Gardeners for many years used to dump mountains of lawn clippings there. These would get layered with autumn leafs then more grass over the years layering up into a composting lasagne. We dug down and found a deep thick rich seam of the most beautiful compost/ leaf mould I’ve ever seen.truck loads of it!!

Any way compost! :-
Compost should run at heat and you’ll read people claiming it’s hot enough to kill seeds, perennial roots, and safe enough to put all kitchen scraps including cooked food. Believe you may get the centre hot for some of the process but unless your running a big windrow your never going to get that efficiency so don’t tax it. Don’t expect miracles.
Mine in the picture shows I’m running too cold at present, but from experience turning some green lawn clippings into that surface should raise it back up.
Don’t put in cooked food. It will start to stink and attract vermin
Don’t put in citrus peel, the acid stops the process around them and you end up with slimmy balls of gunk.
don’t put in branches or thick twigs unless at the bottom for aeration or have been shredded to get the maximum surface area for the heap to work on.
If you have piles of green plant material to go in from clearing beds and no shredder, run them over with a rotary mower a few times to break them up,
Don’t throw in whole vegetables from the kitchen chop them up first!
And mix and layer your stuff as it goes in.
carbon/ nitrogen balance is the mantra!
I keep a bag of woody shreddings by the side of the heap that I feed in as I’m adding the geen stuff.
paper shreddings from an office shredder are great! Sawdust is good if your really short of carbon,, but take it easy, a little goes a long way and it’s easy to overdo it.

Don’t wet it, it rarely needs more moisture and do turn it out and turn it over.
i swear by insulated lids for keeping the temp
It needs mixing up especially if you want a quick turnaround and nothing gets the heat back up like mixing it up.
my favourite bins are doubles or triples made from pallets ( with fronts and lids).

In my own garden I don’t have space and have to use a foam box so I’m careful about what goes in as it isn’t turned.
B8AA5A0C-C4C6-42E9-839E-4620A36096C0.jpeg This is 12 week old compost from a foam box I’d prefer to have turned it and break it down a bit more, especially if used for mixing seed or potting composts, but if you can get that to that stage it’s perfectly good for adding organic matter to a vegetable garden.
good luck
Oh and the thermometers for compost heaps are less than a tenner on Amazon . Well worth it !
 
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