- In the Last Quarter moon phase it’s recommended you either rest or complete maintenance tasks. In Spring there’s so much to do, we save up our maintenance jobs for this week.
Caring for our blueberry plants
- Blueberry plants need an acidic soil of around 4.2 pH and boggy, swampy conditions to grow well. See here for how to plant blueberries.
- These plants have been in now for a year and it’s time to add more acidic material to the soil and mulch them.
- Firstly we sprinkle on Flowers of Sulphur – about a handful for every 3 plants which is not much. You could do a pH test after a couple of months and if the soil is not acidic enough, add more.
- Then we add a good layer of coffee grounds which is an undervalued resource – it’s free, acidic and acts as a mulch.
- Next is a layer of well-rotted chicken poo. The wood shavings in the mix add carbon to the soil and the animal manure provides nitrogen.
- Then comes rock dust which grows healthy, strong plants that can ward off pests and diseases and the fruit is nutrient-dense.
- And finally we layer on sphagnum moss, a renewable resource unlike peat moss. Sphagnum moss is acidic and helps retain moisture in the soil.
- Water it all in well.
- Before the fruit appears on the plants, we’ll have to stake and net these beds to keep the birds off.
Dividing and replanting rhubarb
- Our rhubarb has been in the one bed for 5 years and now needs to be divided and replanted to keep the vigour in the plants.
- You’ll get enough new plants out of one old one if it’s big enough. It’ll take a year for the new plants to establish themselves though, so we won’t dispose of all the old plants this year. We’ll feed them up with chicken poo and rock dust so as to get enough rhubarb to last us for this season.
- Start by pulling many of the stalks off the plant you choose to divide, leaving a few young stalks and leaves on.
- Using a spade, carefully dig the old crown out, trying to keep as much of the root system intact as you can.
- Work out how the crown can be divided up. Each piece should have some growth on it and some root. Some of it can be pulled apart by hand, other parts will have to be chopped into pieces with your spade. If there’s a hugely long root system, you can reduce that with a spade.
- Two plants is enough for most families. Try and find a space for rhubarb on its own as it’s a gross feeder so will rob other nearby plants of nutrients.
- When planting rhubarb, make sure the crown is above the soil level, otherwise it could rot in wet conditions.
- We add chicken poo to the bed (can be sheep pellets or other animal manure) to give the plants a nitrogen boost to get the leaves growing.
- Water the new plants in well and if the weather stays dry, water again in a couple of days’ time. As you’re establishing new root systems, it’s important the plants don’t dry out at all in the first two weeks.
Camera: Davian Lorson
Editor: Thomas Asche