Families who enjoy fresh salad vegetables, picked from their own garden, can quite easily make up their own Mesclun salad mix. Although purpose-built pots are available, the use of a Styrofoam box, 20-25cm deep, will be most suitable. Ensure it has drainage holes in the bottom. Mix together the following:
- 2 buckets of potting mix
- 1 bucket of garden compost
- a few good handfuls of coir peat (that has had water added to it)
- a 1 litre container of fowl manure pellets
- half a 400g tin of blood and bone and
- a pinch of sulphate of potash.
A variety of plants can be included, such as; lettuce (leaf-picking varieties), rocket, Asian tatsoi (pak choy), mizuna (Japanese salad green), English spinach, endive and red chickory. Water the plants in well.
A weekly application of a liquid fertiliser will ensure a continuous supply of new leaves.
Plants should be harvested regularly to also encourage new growth.
If a new box is started every two months, a continual supply of fresh leaves will be available through the following months.
Root bound plants? It's time for re-potting
Earlyspring, when many plants produce new growth, is an ideal time in which to inspect indoor plants for signs of being root bound.
Pot plants that are root bound will not be growing to their optimum level.
It may be necessary to remove the plant from its pot in order to check the root system properly.
This may require the pot to inverted and tapped gently on a firm surface.
Placing the fingers over the surface of the plant will assist in preventing the soil from falling away.
A pot plant that has become root bound may exhibit a mixture of signs.
The pot may have filled with roots so that very little soil remains in the pot.
The plant may require frequent watering as a scarcity of soil will result in the water passing through the pot. This may also be indicated by the plant often appearing to wilt, despite frequent watering.
Roots may be growing out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.The pot may have begun to crack due to pressure from a strong root system.
The plant may be top heavy and topple over.
If it is determined that the plant has become root bound, then it should be re-potted into a bigger container.
If it is desirable to reuse the same pot, because of available room, or preferred decoration, then this may be achieved by pruning off some of the roots.
This will create sufficient space fresh, new soil to be added to the pot, thus adding nutrients that will encourage the plant to produce healthy, new, attractive growth.
If the plant is to be replanted into a bigger pot, then choose a pot that has a diameter that is 3-4cm larger than the original pot.
Replanting into a pot that is too large will generally result in poor growth as there will be too much soil, and moisture, for the plant to use. Disease may result.
It is advisable to water the pot a couple of hours prior to the re-potting. Immersing the pot into a container of water, so that the soil surface is covered will ensure a good soaking.
It will also make the removal of the plant from its pot easier to achieve.
When the plant has been removed from its pot, its root system will generally appear to have encircled the inside of the pot.
These roots should be gently unwound.
Any damaged or diseased roots should be cut away from the plant.
Excessively long roots may be shortened. If the root system has become very tightly packed, preventing the teasing out of the roots, cuts may be made from the top to the bottom of the root ball, using a sharp knife or pair of secateurs.
Cuts should be made five or six times around the root ball. This will encourage the formation of new, feeder roots.
An amount of a good quality potting mix should be placed into the base of the new pot.
The plant should then be placed onto this soil, centering the plant in the pot with the surface of the soil about a centimetre from the top of the pot.
Extra soil can then be added to the pot, gently tamping the soil so that potential air pockets are removed. Water should be applied gently to the surface.
A seaweed mixture will assist in the formation of new roots. The pot should be placed in a saucer so that water can be retained as it drains through the soil.
Excess water should be removed after about 30 minutes. A soluble fertiliser can be added after a couple of weeks.
Wisteria is a deciduous, climbing plant that displays its beautiful, pendulous flowers during spring.
When grown over an outdoor shade area or over an extended framework, wisteria creates a stunning effect that is also very cooling in appearance. Wisteria plants are also very effective when grown as standard specimens, that is, plants with a single trunk forming an umbrella shape with the overhanging branches.
Wisteria should be grown in full sun and are frost-hardy plants.
If young plants are well fertilised, they will soon establish a strong framework. Reducing the application of fertiliser to mature plants will encourage more prolific flower production.