It maybe mid November, but the good news is that it is not too late to plant tulips. In fact it is the ideal time as Tulips are best planted in November, even into December.
Tulips are best planted before the first frosts whilst the soil is still workable. One of the reason to plant tulips late is so that they enjoy a period of cold weather which helps to reduce the chance of tulip fire disease.
Tulips are best planted in areas of the garden which are not too wet which can cause the bulbs to rot. Tulips did not originate in Netherlands, as maybe thought, but in Central Asia and Caucasus region, also Afganistan, Jordon and Kurdistan which enjoyed, broadly speaking, hot dry summers and very cold, but dry winters.
We could learn from the honeybee. Researchers at UCL have evidence that honeybees increase social distancing when the hive is under threat from parasites.
They reduce the amount of foraging dancing and grooming increases, along with distancing . Clever bees, and very interesting research from UCL.
It is a fascinating bit of research which involved studying the behaviour of two colonies of bees one with, and one without, the parasite threat to consider how their behaviour differed.
Co-author Dr Alessandro Cini (UCL Centre for Biodiversity & Environment Research, UCL Biosciences) said: “Here we have provided the first evidence that honeybees modify their social interactions and how they move around their hive in response to a common parasite.
“Honeybees are a social animal, as they benefit from dividing up responsibilities and interactions such as mutual grooming, but when those social activities can increase the risk of infection, the bees appear to have evolved to balance the risks and benefits by adopting social distancing.”
Fallen autumn and winter leaves are not good for ponds and are best skimmed off and removed. .
This is because the leaves will rot down and add to the slurry at the bottom of the pond, but more importantly, decomposition will add nitrates to the pond water. Nitrates enrich the water which process can upset the natural balance, which in turn will make algae more likely and increase the chances of having a green pond in the spring.
If these are a problem for you with your pond, consider skimming off the leaves. Similarly, cut off any decaying vegetation which may die back at this time of year.
How to start a compost bin and keep it at its best
As we look for sustainable solutions to reduce our carbon footpring, making rather than buying compost is a good starting point. According to the RHS in their recent greener gardening launch :
"Carbon saving quantities linked to home composting (as opposed to buying bagged retail compost) are equivalent to 1.85 miles (driven by average car) saved per kg of home compost made.
Every 1kg of homemade compost saves 0.1kg fossil carbon, which could save more than 15 - 19kg carbon, per gardener, per year."
At Wheelie Bin Solutions we're seeing more and more customers ask us about how to start a compost bin and the best ways to make a success of it.
Compost is a great way to reuse organic waste by turning it back into fertiliser for the garden. It's a closed-loop process and requires very little external energy or material input, making it a good eco-friendly option.
The good news is that it's quite easy to start a compost bin even in a small garden, while in larger gardens you might want to consider starting a compost heap at the back of a flowerbed or shrubbery instead.
For a self-contained compost bin, all you really need is a food waste wheelie bin and the right kinds of food and garden waste, and away you go.
What food waste goes in a compost bin?
Raw vegetable waste including fruit and vegetable peels, off-cuts like carrot tops, and leftover ingredients that you didn't fully use up can all go in your compost bin.
You can also put garden waste in there, like dead leaves, grass clippings, and dead flowers you pull up from your borders - just be careful not to let any invasive weeds get in there.
Avoid anything that will make your compost bin turn nasty, such as meat that can become infested with maggots, or dairy which will cause your compost to smell awful.
Top tips for healthy compost
Although it's not too hard to maintain a healthy compost bin or compost heap, there are a few things you can do to give your compost the best chance of rotting down to a rich fertiliser instead of a mouldy mess.
Here are a few of our top tips for the best compost:
- Put your compost bin on a flat, level and well drained surface.
- Turn your compost regularly to introduce air into the mix.
- Add worms to digest the waste faster for even quicker quality compost.
If your compost is too wet, introduce some dry materials like dead leaves or even some old shredded paper or egg cartons. These will also create air pockets as they rot down, helping to aerate your compost even more.
Do's and don't of composting
There are just a few final do's and don't of composting to keep in mind:
- Don't put large twigs and branches in your compost bin - these may me allowed in your garden waste wheelie bin or you could repurpose them elsewhere in the garden.
- Don't put non-compostable waste like plastic plant pots in your compost. Again, you might be able to put these in your plastic recycling bin instead.
- Do regularly turn your compost so any undigested material is mixed through and not just left sitting on top.
- excess fluid from your compost bin so the mix does not get too wet.
- your compost when it is well rotted down and looks a deep brown, rich and fertile, and free from any large undigested items.
Follow these tips and you should be well on your way to a wheelie bin full of fertiliser, instead of a mouldy maggot-infested mess!