Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

Weekend Work January 19, 2009

Filed under: Autumn,Flower,Spring,Weather,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 3:38 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Mini CyclamenThose sneaky spring bulbs are taking their chance to make a bid for freedom. I don’t know, a week or two of plus-zero weather and they get all over excited.

Finished tidying the last two boxes that I avoided due to last week’s inclement weather. If I’d have opened a window they might have been blown in! So the long-gone Lobelia are now no more and various rotten Dianthus have been cut right back. I was tempted just to remove them but decided to leave them there and see what happens in the spring. They are supposed to be good for a couple of years so the BBC say and there’s nothing lost if they don’t come again and need removed later.

In general one of two of the pansies have done really well whereas others have simply struggled along. They’ll get planted earlier and more profusely next Autumn and see if that helps. The cyclamen are doing pretty nicely although in one box they’re gently failing. I’m a bit surprised by this as they get the best of the low winter sun here whereas the ones with just diffuse light have done pretty well. Think there’s a little lesson in there.

The one thing that’s causing my consternation at the moment is the difference in drainage for each of the boxes. One or two of them get really soaked when it rains simply due to their positioning and the prevailing winds. Once they’re wet they just don’t seem to dry out at all. Perhaps it’s the lack of plants or the make-up of the soil, although they were all filled with the same stuff.

Anyway, any excuse to get the powertools out. I spent a half hour or so drilling another few holes in the bottom of the containers. Knowledgable gardeners are probably shaking their collective heads right now in recognition of a fundamental error. But it’s done now and we’ll see if it makes any difference. I just can’t think that it’s doing anyone any good for the planters to be so soggy, especially when the deep frosts return (which I’m positive they will).

As ever, any advice is gratefully received.


2 Responses to “Weekend Work”

  1. Flighty Says:

    My understanding is that good drainage is particularly essential in plastic containers so that the soil doesn’t remain waterlogged, so I think that you’ve done the right thing.
    Apparently more plants die from having their roots in cold wet soil than any other reason.
    I noticed that some of my bulbs have just started peeking above ground as well. Roll on spring!

  2. northernwindowgardener Says:

    It’s hardly new news but watering is certainly the area I find trickiest to judge. The six boxes are identical (width, depth, material) except for their length and the drilled holes were in proportion.

    They were all filled with the same soil type as well so in theory they should drain in a similar fashion, albeit the plants that each contained would affect this along with their positoning. But in reality this isn’t how it’s worked out, hence the extra drilling. If it doesn’t help then it might be that they get replaced in spring or completely emptied and re-filled.

    In general my problem has been on stopping to think in terms of a formula (dry+mild=water daily) and go a bit more with touch, fell and deceloping intuition. A few weeks of using a simple moisture meter saw things get much much worse!

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