Coir v. Peat etc
Fri, 02 Jan 2009 14:18:40 PST
Thanks for picking up on this Mark. In reply, additional to composted bark which we do have to buy and despite seeming to pander to the stereotypic Scot I am very reluctant to pay money to do so. Essentially the forest here is effectively the western end of the Boreal forest and therefore dominated by conifer, in my case Scots Pine... Pinus sylvestris ssp. scotica therefore apart from Birches we have little broadleaf component in the autumn to rely upon for leaf mould as we call it. However amongst the various houses in the village gardens are a fairly eclectic range of broadleaves so being the village idiot they prefer if I don't come in to collect it in case the sight of me frightens the horses so every autumn they all rally round and the leaves are bagged up for delivery here to the gardens, these are tied tight and stacked up in piles of bags for around three years by which time the leaf mould is perfect albeit only c. 20 - 25 % by volume and used for almost any kind of plants whether bulbs or shrubs. In fact we never have enough of it, the pines produce very little through the needles but we also have growing a lot of mosses and lichens that themselves suppress weed growth while looking attractive. All grass here, such little as there is, [ its mostly heathers.... Calluna and Erica's.growing on the cleared areas....] these grass cuttings being fed to the Highland Cattle here as a supplement to what they get foraging either in the forest or moorland fields. The cows "output" is collected up and stored for three years again by which time it is just perfect especially for lilies which everyone on PBS knows mustn't be planted in or near fresh cow dung. We stopped using horse manure because the winter supplementary feeding in the mountains for the Highland Garron ... a pretty big working pony/horse used to bring the deer carcases off the mountains in the autumn stalking season is derived from material which has chick weed and of all things celery seed in it. Like tomato seeds celery's is not damaged through the digestion process, nor chick weed. Also the latter is highly resistant to the only weed killer we are now left to use, which is why, or one of the reasons why, we rely so much on composted bark as a weed suppressant. Much of the narrow weed spectrum is restricted to naturally regenerating heathers, pine and birch seedlings as well as a few juniper.  I do appreciate we are lucky to have so few weed species but the other side of the coin is that we have long winters, poor daylight in the winter and our fair share of frost right now for several weeks bumming around between - 8 C to - 14 C so far and the winter hasn't even started yet.


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