Friday, 29 February 2008

Getting ready for the spring

At Claines Canna we are getting ready for the great moment when we can start planting out the Canna collection and the hundreds of seedlings we normally grow. This year is different, as we will be planting out several hundred one year old plants. They are last years seedlings, which, because of the bad weather last year, we never had flowers from them. So, this has put us a year behind in our breeding programme, but it can't be helped. We are anticipating some fine new specimens from them. They are the 6th year of a carefully planned, line-bred, program and we cannot let them go to waste. We plan to grow some new seedlings this year, but probably less than 100, space permitting.

On the main collection beds we have turned over the soil, and covered them with the compost we create each year.

Following several recent revelations, we are going to give the soil a trace element top-up. We are planning to use Chempak T.E. which contains iron, manganese, zinc, copper, boron and molybdenum in a slow acting product.

This works best on acid or neutral soils. After a lot of work over the years, our soil is now about 6.0pH, so falls into the category of being slightly acid. The acidity is important, because that dictates how much of all minerals the soil can retain. This chart illustrates the effect that acidity has on this most important feature for gardeners.

A lack of minerals affects plants just as much as we humans, and plants reflect their poor health through their foliage and flowers. This can often be mistaken for a sign of virus.

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