RollMix Composter

  • Grow at Home: Cauliflower

    Growing Cauliflower

    cauliflower_purple

    Cauliflower can be a tricker crop than many to succeed with, but the effort is well rewarded, with beautiful white or purple heads (also known as curds) that taste delicious and leave the shop bought versions behind.

    Soil and Aspect

    Cauliflowers need a well-consolidated soil which is deep, fertile and moisture retentive, so best to dig several months before planting, incorporating well-rotted manure or garden compost.  Alternatively plant after a crop of nitrogen-fixing green manure.

    Best planted in an open sunny site, it is important to avoid frost pockets if growing winter varieties.

    Sowing Cauliflower

    Sow the seeds of summer varieties in a cool greenhouse in mid-winter for an early crop. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough and harden off for a couple of weeks before planting out in rows 50cm apart with protection in early spring.

    Autumn and Winter varieties can be sown outdoors in the late spring.  Sow thinly in nursery beds before planting in a permanent site. Thin to 5cm apart and transplant seedlings when they are 10cm tall and bearing 5 to 6 leaves - take care in lifting them.  Remember to water in well.

    Depending on the variety the final spacing should be 60-70 cm apart.

    Aftercare

    After planting, mulch the crop with garden compost - quick to produce in a Rollmix Composter.

    Water in dry periods with occasional feed and cover with netting to protect from birds - Giant Easy Net Tunnel will help shade from the sun too.

    Fold the leaves up around the head to protect from rain and frost.  Then use collars around the stems to protect from cabbage root fly.

    Harvesting and Storage

    Start harvesting when the heads are small so that not all of the crop is taken at the same time.  Florets separate or turn brown when they are too mature.  So better to opt for smaller specimens than leave it too late.

    Cauliflowers can be stored on the stem, hung upside down in a cool dark place for up to three weeks - mist occasionally.

    Pests and Diseases

    Cauliflowers are susceptible to the issues as cabbages - pick up some tips in our Spring Cabbages Blog.

     

     

     

  • The Potty Gardener and Manure in the Garden

    Haxnicks Garden Products can be brought online

    I have been busy helping Grandpa Haxnicks to dig manure into his vegetable plot and learning some of the ins and outs of using various types of animal excrement in the garden. What comes out of the animal and goes into the soil is so much more than a pile of poo. All creatures great and small can provide free plop for your plot that will vastly improve soil texture, boost nutrient levels and give you bigger, better and healthier crops.

    Poultry Manure for the Garden

    Chicken droppings

    If you happen to keep chickens, then as well as eggs you have a readily available source of useful fertiliser. Fresh chicken poo has high levels of ammonia so should be dug into vegetable plots at least 4 months before planting. Or you can add it to a compost heap and let it rot down before using it. It makes particularly good top dressing for blackcurrants and plum trees.  It tends to be quite alkaline so not so suitable for acid loving plants such as blueberries, or camellias.

    Horse Manure and its nourishing factors

    Cow Poo

    Cow poo is great for improving soil structure. Again, it should be left to rot down in a compost heap or dug in a few months before planting. Autumn is the perfect time for digging it in, particularly if you want to use it in areas where you might be planning to grow root vegetables in the spring. If you try to grow root vegetables in freshly manured soil the results can be a little alarming. Carrots will grow into multi-limbed aliens, beetroot will go barmy and potatoes go scabby. A great plus point for cow poo is that it has been well digested, passing through multiple stomachs a process that kills off any weed seeds.

    Horse manure

    Weed seeds are something to watch out for with horse manure. So be sure that it is well aged to give time for any seeds to compost. Another benefit of horse poo is that it is considerably less stinky than chicken or cow. But if you want a completely non-stinky manure then worm poo is your best bet. Obviously, it is going to take a biblical proportion of worms to create the equivalent of a few cow pats.  However, I am told that you can make worm poo tea out of worm casts from a wormery.  You can then feed it to your potted plants!

  • 5 Ingredients for Home Made Seed Compost

    Carrot Seeds in Seed Compost from Haxnicks

    Hello Gardeners, I have some advice for saving money and making your own seed compost. Making any kind of compost does of course require advance preparation, and I am beginning from the assumption that you already have some mature compost. If you don’t then perhaps you might be inspired to get some going for next year. Haxnicks have already considered those of you who may not have space for a full scale composting area in your garden. Have a look at our Rollmix Composter page where you will find plenty of advice on the easiest way to create compost in a small space with our amazing rolling compost bin.

    Haxnicks Rollmix Composter for Seed Composting

    Here are the 5 Free ingredients for seed compost:

    One part mature Kitchen/garden compost

    One Part mature Leaf mould

    One Part Mole hill/topsoil

    Water

    Elbow grease

    Haxnicks Easy Riddle Compost

    It is far simpler and less time consuming to simply buy a bag of seed compost, BUT it will not come with wholesome ingredients of physical effort, self-satisfaction and thriftiness! Any good seed compost should be nutrient rich, moisture retentive, and have a fine uniform consistency that allows for good air circulation. The mix of above ingredients should give you all that. You will also need to sieve the mix to take out the lumps and achieve the fine airy consistency. For many years I have used a large heavy wooden riddle to sieve compost, but since being closely involved in the product design of Easy Riddle  I am well and truly converted to using this lightweight garden sieve. Far less elbow grease required!

    Strictly speaking home garden compost should be heated to kill off pathogens. There is a fine balance between killing off pathogens and destroying the nutrients in the heating process. Frankly, I have never bothered and can’t say that my seedlings have suffered as a result, besides I am certain that my homemade seed compost would not be welcomed in the kitchen! For more information about composting and our composting products please go to our composting page. In the meantime,

    Happy gardening!

    Grandpa Haxnicks

  • What to add/what not to add to your Compost heap

    It’s easy to make your own compost with the right mixture of organic kitchen and garden waste.
    What to put in your Compost from Haxnicks

    When composting on a small scale it is essential to get the right mix of ‘greens’ (waste with a high nitrogen content) and ‘browns’ (high in carbon and useful to create air pockets). Add them in thin alternate layers and shred waste for easier composting, smaller pieces = faster decomposition.

    Do add:

    GREENS
    Tea bags/coffee grounds
    Grass Cuttings
    Organic kitchen waste (eg vegetable peelings)
    Old flowers
    Annual weeds

    BROWNS
    Twigs and shredded prunings
    Small strips of cardboard
    Scrunched up paper
    Eggshells
    Straw or hay
    Dry leaves
    Sawdust

    Don’t add:
    Meat
    Fat
    Cooked food
    Dairy products
    Animal droppings
    Diseased plants
    Perennial weeds (in particular roots & seeds)

    Compost makes a great soil conditioner, excellent mulch for borders (adds nutrients and suppresses weeds) and can even be used as potting compost if you put it through a sieve before use.

    Find out more about home composting from our friends at WRAP: click here for their web site

    Watch Rabbie as he tries his hand at composting - click here for the video!

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