Sunday, November 23, 2008

Winter is here - garden still looking (not bad?)

Globe artichoke making new growth NOW! adding a touch of life to an otherwise wintery scene. Solidago rugosa to the right standing well. The first stages of a prairie planting behind - actually part of a septic soakaway scheme - same idea as a reedbed, soaking up nutrients.

Grasses (mostly Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster' and perennials in November sunlight. Anything which has collapsed into a soggy mess by now has been cleared away - leaving things which should stand a few months more. I'm re-organising and re-planting around these surviving stems - so much easier working around landmarks than a site cleared of all above-ground growth, especially since these are all the good long-season structural elements.

Box blight - latest idea from Germany

Thought I had better pass this on. This is a summary of a letter to GartenPraxis which I recently spotted.

The fungicides Chlorthalonil and Prochloraz are carcinogenic and persistent enough to possibly present a danger to water supplies – both are in the process of being de-listed from the EU list of permitted fungicides

Acute cylindrocladium infections  have been treated with a thick dusting of rock flour on the foliage. Apparently the results are surprising in their effectiveness. It is suggested that the high pH of the material is what is negatively affecting the fungus. The article goes on to suggest that soil acidity is detrimental to box health – it is a plant of calcareous soils.

From GartenPraxis 11-2008, p. 7

So – what the **** is rock flour?? Can I make bread with it?
Rock flour or rock dust is finely-ground rock which bio-dynamic companies are promoting – don’t ask me where you can get it. The bio-d brigade claim that soils are deficient in essential minerals after years of cropping which this stuff puts back in - fair enough, but since this gardening methodology is inspired by the  quite honestly barmy Rudolf Steiner philosophy, there is an awful lot of guff about “life-force energy” in any of their literature. On this occasion though it looks as if one of their products may just do the trick.

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