Brian Kidd says little weeds make great compost – for just 1p

Weeds galore on the allotment
Weeds galore on the allotment
he South East In Bloom judges visited the Fareham area where they concluded their tour with a visit to Ferneham Hall. From left: Fiona Phillips, Stuart Lees and The Mayor of Fareham Councillor Geoff Fazackarley     
Picture Ian Hargreaves  (170760-1)

South East in Bloom judges praise standard of gardens in Fareham area

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My word the weeds are growing like mad at the allotment. The ground was clear – and then the rain fell as if there was no tomorrow and weeds smothered the soil.

Keep in mind these weeds are absorbing nitrogen in the soil and if they are hoed off before they flower they make an excellent layer in the compost bin.

Remember: keep sprinkling on one part urine in seven parts water and sprinkle, don’t pour, on to the layers in the compost heap.

Meanwhile, it’s been a bit difficult to find colchicum bulbs this year.

Perhaps it’s because people bought them as soon as they arrived at the garden centres.

They are popular, especially if you would like to give a child a nice surprise.

Here’s what to do...

Buy a colchicum bulb as soon as possible and put it in an egg cup on the children’s bedroom windowsill without any water. It needs to be in the light, indoors.

Children like things to happen quickly and after a short while your phone will ring and a little voice on the other end will say ‘grandma, you know the bulb you put on my windowsill? Well, it’s got a lovely flower like a water lily’.

Things like that make my day worthwhile and I expect you feel the same.

The children will enjoy more flowers and after flowering the bulbs are planted into the garden and labelled. This is because in spring leaves will appear and they look a bit like the leaves of the dreaded dock weed.

You wouldn’t be the first person to dig them out and then realise they were colchicum.

If you like quick results in the garden, plant a group of three colchicum in a light place which is sheltered. It’s worth thinking where they will look good because they are often ruined by strong winds.

Prepare the soil by forking over to a depth of six inches. Scatter on a tablespoon of blood fish and bone meal over an area of a square foot and plant the bulbs so the tops are just above the soil’s surface.

Plant the bulbs about five inches apart in a circle and wait for the lovely surprise.

If you are like me, you will have a look every morning to see if the blooms have emerged. Depending on the size of bulb, there will be three to nine flowers on each one.

During the summer the leaves become larger.

They produce sugar which is passed down into the bulb.

The bulb swells and produces a daughter bulb alongside the original and during the autumn both the original bulb and the daughter bulb come into flower.

There are no leaves. They will have all died down.

And this is why they are commonly called naked ladies.

Or is it that the name will make men take notice?

TIP OF THE WEEK

Have you stopped watering your indoor amaryllis? I hope so. The pot needs to be put on it’s side somewhere sunny and not watered at all. The leaves should all die back by October.

Then re-pot in dry John Innes 3 compost and don’t water again until February or once the fat flower bud emerges.