I read a fantastic post today on blog Middle Sized Garden, by journalist and author Alexandra Campbell. The post is all about “guilt free” gardening and the small but highly effective things we can do in our gardens to be more environmentally friendly and encourage biodiversity back into our world. A scratchy hair shirt does not have to be worn. And a placard does not have to be waved about. But we can make a big difference with small actions.
In her research – with the Soil Association, the RHS, and Garden Organic – Alexandra noted that all three said “start with your soil”. Building and nourishing a healthy soil is THE most important thing gardeners can do to get us on the road to environmental nirvana.
So, that makes me very pleased that I’ve received a selection of peat-free compost, made in the Lake District by Dalefoot Composts, to try out in the garden. Where to start? Well, the blueberries need re-potting and, as one of the bags is Ericaceous compost, this will be ideal for the acid-loving tastes.
Now, these blueberries are in a pretty bad way. I had a bumper crop from them a few years back when they were new. Since buying them, however, I’ve moved house three times and forgot about them. I kept looking at them all this summer and thinking “You next… I promise” but something else always got my attention. Each is still in its nursery pot, straggly and unkempt. On closer inspection I see some twigs are dying back and, even though I know it’s autumn, they seem decidedly deciduous. It will be a miracle if they weather the winter, bounce back in the spring, or bear berries next year. I could get some new ones, but thought I’d see what’s still possible with these.
So, a challenge indeed for the new compost. Do I hear the Dalefoot Compost makers shout “Bring it on!”?
Here’s a bag of ericaceous compost: ideal for acid-lovers like azaleas, rhododendrons and….
… Blueberries! Oh dear… as you can see, in a sorry state.
… one solitary blueberry, hanging on for dear life…
In a small garden, it’s useful to keep a few big bits of plastic in the shed for mucky moments like this.
This Dalefoot Ericaceous Compost looks, and feels, great. A mix of bracken and sheep wool…
I mix it up with a 25% top soil to make sure I have enough to go round. A bit of Strulch mulch around the top for good measure. And there we have it. 3 blueberries, trimmed and re-potted in some nice big pots of new peat-free, best-there-is compost. “Ping!” (that’s the sound of the halo)
If you’d like to get your hands on (and in) some of this compost, and you can’t find it locally, you can buy it direct from the Dalesfoot Composts website. Here’s some of the good things being said about it by top-notch gardeners.