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  • Goodbye cherry tree, hello apple trees

    Miranda Hodgson on 23 Jan 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Last autumn, the lovely old cherry in the garden had to be felled. Estimated to be about 120 years old, we knew its days were numbered but were still surprised when we got up one morning to find a large branch had fallen off in the night. The wood of the fallen branch was clearly rotten.


  • Improving the soil with trench composting

    Miranda Hodgson on 14 Jan 2013 at 12:21 PM

    There is a corner at the end of the garden where we’d like to grow a few vegetables – it is sunny and warm but, for a couple of reasons, the soil needed some major work on it. Firstly, I have wondered if the previous occupants here ever added any organic matter to the soil; it seems a bit thin and stony and there isn’t a great deal of worm activity. Secondly, to screen the really rather inoffensive shed they’d planted six conifers, (some variety of Chamaecyparis lawsonia, I think) with the result that the soil for many feet around is bone dry. With not a little pleasure, we removed them. Even with the incredible amount of rain in 2012, the soil was still very dry indeed and I decided to try an idea new to me: composting trenches.

    Instead of adding your vegetable kitchen waste to the compost heap, you dig a trench or a hole, at least a foot deep, and bury it. This adds moisture and nutrients at the root zone and encourages the activity of worms and other soil creatures. Starting in late autumn, a trench was dug where the conifers had been.