Posts

good topsoil

...angels dust!

...angels dust!

If you are buying topsoil – buyer beware – this really is a case of cheaper can often be more tearful than cheerful. Buy from a reputable source and before it is tipped in you’re driveway… jump in and have a rumage around.

The [generally speaking] golden rule for good topsoil is the darker the colour [ie. on a scale of concrete block to peat briquette – the closer it is to brown/ black the better]. The second rule is that it should not be overly clumpy and stick in lumps [too much] to the soles of your shoes when you walk on it [ie. it should be akin to walking on a sandy/ yet soily beach-ish], but colour generally tells so much.

Whilst I admit I do have a funny way of describing things, you can *see* what I’m saying…?

notice the difference in colour?

notice the difference in colour?

Poor soil, means longer labour hours and when the 20 tonne load – approximately 800 wheelbarrows – has to be moved by wheelbarrow and loaded by hand, believe me paying €50-100 euro more for you’re product, is [when you know what you’re getting] well worth it. As a rule of thumb, good soil should cost about €350-400 per load.

That said one can go a stage further and buy a graded mix topsoil or compost which comes in large bags. Expect to pay €150 per tonne approximately. This is a lot more expensive but – depending on the task at hand – it might just be the one for you. Sometimes 20 tonne is just too much and a load delivered – no matter the size – is a load delivered. That said, the pre bagged mix also allows you to calculate exactly where you want it placed and calculate.

In all things soil, remember it can often cost more to get it removed!

growing pumpkins from seed

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I hear you… it’s only mid July. No matter. You need them for October – but they have to grow! If you ever want to know when to start growing anything the easiest [cheaters tip!] advice is to check your garden centre once a month – when they’re available by seed – that’s when to start. Easy!

This is from the Johnsons range. I actually thought they’d be difficult to grow? no – easy peezy. really! There’s the packet [left] and the seed just below. I just bought them in my local garden centre.

How? who? what? Take a tray or a small plant pot about the size of a tea cup; fill with clean compost; soak first with water [from the bottom up is better – ie. sit in a basin of water and let in take up the moisture until the compost goes from dry brown to damp black] and then push the seed [it looks like a leprechauns surf board] sideways a little [half an inch] below the height of the compost until you can see it no more.

Jack O lantern [cucurbita pepo] is the more common or the ‘typical’ pumpkin as we know it and the plants will need to be planted about one metre apart outdoors when the roots fill out the tray. As you can see mine [after just two weeks! – click here] have a just little more to go before I allow them into unprotected typical irish weather.

Books and catalogues generally base sowing times on an average/ mean temperatures and as long as I understand what the plant needs to grow then I can work away and pretty much garden away as I please.

The ‘book’ tells me I’m a little late sowing – but the book obviously hasn’t seen the barbados like weather that’s been coming to North Dublin recently!!

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UPDATE:

here are my plants as of 28th of August as promised:

UPDATE: A Real Pumpkin Farm