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  1. #1
    Chef_uk is offline Tuber
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    Default Ultra Newbie Here

    Hi, registered here after buying the mag for the first time and then promptly set up a years subscription

    After reading through the mag, some terminology kept cropping up and i'm unsure what each means exactly

    Chitting?

    Overwintering?

    Sowing?

    The first two went right over my head but sowing i take it is the planting of the seed in trays so to grow a stem ready to plant out in the new year? And if this is the case, what will be easy'ish to grow from seed if i sow in the plastic trays in the greenhouse over the winter months?

    Like i said, i'm an ultra newbie but i pick things up fast

    Our veg patch is 100m2 or there abouts with one shed and one greenhouse situated at the back. Our compost heap is 2m wide x 1m back x 1.2m deep and we have covered the lot in Weed suppressing membrane (the decent stuff) to die down the weeds which is alot and to make the plot manageable in sections. Right now we just have a 6ft x 8ft patch cleared and ready to go.

    Finally with regards to the compost heap. We erected it back in July last year and used it for all the lawn cuttings throughout the remainder of summer 09, and all of this year. We also chucked in food waste from the kitchen and all of winters ash from the coal fire. Would these ingrediants be enough for compost? Or is it a case of balancing the right amounts? I only ask as it seems to be very sticky like there's too much ash in it. Could this be true and should i avoid adding this coming winters ash?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    Default

    Welcome to the vine Chef UK.
    Hope you enjoy the forum as much as the mag.

    Chitting is the process of placing seed potatoes in a cool, light place to encourage strong sturdy shoots to grow before they are planted in the ground. The aim is to have a small number of sturdy shoots, not masses of elongated sprouts, which dissipate the energy of the seed potato. If you rub sprouts off, then you'll get a smaller crop but larger potatoes. Commercial growers never bother to chit their potatoes and it seems to make little difference to the yield. However, they are able to keep their seed potatoes dormant by providing very exact storage conditions and this is very hard for the home gardener to do. For this reason, most amateur gardeners do chit their seed potatoes but any you have bought late can go straight in the ground, unchitted, at around Easter time.

    Overwintering covers a variety of ways of protecting plants through the cold of winter either by bringing indoors, applying a layer of bark compost or mulch or covering up outside in some way. During the dormant period, many plants succumb to frost or to cold, excessively wet soil. Leaves may become frost-bitten and roots can rot. So it's important to protect your plants before first frosts strike, to ensure a good display the following year.

    I am sure others will be along shortly with more expert advice than I can offer.

    Compost could be you have added to much grass cuttings all in one go. This makes a sludgy mess if it is not mixed with sufficient browns like cardboard, newspaper, bedding from vegetarian pets, wood shavings, sawdust.

    “If your knees aren't green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life.”

    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Charles Churchill : A dog will look up on you; a cat will look down on you; however, a pig will see you eye to eye and know it has found an equal
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  3. #3
    Chef_uk is offline Tuber
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    Default

    Ahh, thanks, that explains them for me You're probably right too with the grass actually. Our lawn is quite big and two thirds of the back garden fill's the brown bin full so i guess 1 bin + another third for the front has gone on to the compost each time i cut. Never thought about adding none food items though so thanks for that, will get some browns (another term explained ) in the mix.

  4. #4
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    Gemmalaveen is offline Sprouter
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    Default

    I am a relative newbie myself and this forum has been excellent for picking up tips and expert advice, so you have come to the right place.

    On your point about sowing... this term also refers to sowing directly into the soil where the plant will grow, especially during the warmer months when there is no need to start off seedlings in a green house. Most summer vegetables can be sown directly outside. Tomatoes and courgettes should definitely be started off in the greenhouse before you plant them out.

    On your question about what to plant now... I am planning to plant some garlic in October and overwintering broad beans (Aquedulce).

    Best of luck!

  5. #5
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    Two_Sheds is offline Compost Everything...
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    Wood ash is OK for the compost heap, but coal ash should never be used on the garden.
    All gardeners know better than other gardeners." -- Chinese Proverb.

  6. #6
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    rustylady is offline Gardening Guru
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    Default

    Welcome chef. I wouldn't add coal ash to a compost heap, but everything else that has been mentioned so far should be fine. Don't add any meat, fish etc though, this will encourage vermin and doesn't rot down. Only vegetable matter and "browns". It helps if you can turn the heap to mix stuff together - as you've already noticed masses of grass turns to a sludgy mess.

    In your cleared area you can plant onion sets (available now) to overwinter and produce a crop next June as well as the garlic and broad beans already mentioned. I find it's always good to get something planted asap - it makes use of the land and gives you a bit of encouragement to see things actually growing.

  7. #7
    Chef_uk is offline Tuber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Two_Sheds View Post
    Wood ash is OK for the compost heap, but coal ash should never be used on the garden.
    Oh no, thats all it has been, coal ash. Does that mean its all unusable now?

  8. #8
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    That's for you to decide ... coal ash is full of sulphur, arsenic, lead, barium, chromium and manganese (it says here)
    All gardeners know better than other gardeners." -- Chinese Proverb.

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