Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

Weekend Work – Part 3 May 14, 2009

Filed under: Indoor,Spring,Summer,Weekend Work,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 8:00 am

Forlorn PlantsYesterday we mixed our soil so today we get cleaning …

As you can see from today’s picture, the boxes were looking a bit sorry for themselves. The tulips were dying back and the cyclamen had gone kaput so it was easy to dig everything out and start again.

One of the other boxes, Shelly to those of us who know her, gave me a quandry. Despite being in the shadiest spot in the garden (or perhaps it’s because) the cyclamen were still really healthy, compact and one had recently flowered. By the time I started to clean that box out I was ready to throw everything away but I slightly regret that now – even though I don’t know what I would have done with them.

Generally though, everything else from winter and early spring was dying back so it’s was a simple, if laborious, task to remove all the plants, tip the soil out, remove the base layer of crocks or polystyrene and give the boxes a good wash.

RootsIt was interesting to see how everything had developed in the boxes. They were first planted almost a year ago and have had a mix of summer bedding, winter bedding and bulbs taken in and out of them since then. One or two didn’t drain too well and on cleaning them out gently, it seemed like those that had the thinnest base layer were the ones that had the poorest drainage. It probably isn’t quite as simple as that but as a general observation it seemed reasonable.

The soil had worked its way into the gaps and was quite compacted so I decided to use some more polystyrene that I’d saved and make the base a bit chunkier and thicker this time around. There would still be enough depth to the soil to allow for root development so long as the boxes are filled just short of the top.

As you might be able to make out from the second picture here, the ivy had really managed to make itself at home – curling its root system around the pieces of polystyrene and binding it all together. Being able to see this type of development has been really educational – maybe there’s a market for transparent window boxes for beginners?! – and I’ve decided to repot this ivy alone so that it doesn’t inhibit the surrounding plants with its voracious root growth.

One by one I cleaned each box out and gave them a good wash, inside and out, to prepare them for the next stage – the refill.

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3 Responses to “Weekend Work – Part 3”

  1. Glo Says:

    Very interesting series of events! As you say, it’s educational finding out what’s been going on ‘underground’. Here’s hoping your new soil concoction will have just the right components for healthy plant living. I think you can also keep bulbs in vermiculite in a closed box in a dark place. Looking forward to next installment.

  2. Flighty Says:

    I came across this blog earlier which may be of interest, as could some on the blogroll. Cheers!
    http://containergardening.wordpress.com/recent-news/

  3. I’m going to do a little experiment with the tulip bulbs by trying a couple of different ways to store them then seeing how they do. I’ll probably forget which is which when I plant them in autumn though!

    Thanks for the link Flighty, I have a good nose around the site 🙂

    Have a lovely weekend whatever you’re up to. I’m finally going to plant everything this weekend!


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