How to Pot a Rhododendron

At this time of year many of us think about rhododendrons. Although the different types flower for a long period, it is in May that they really make an impact on gardens across the land. But rhododendrons must have lime-free soil and that can make them tricky for some of us that garden on neutral or limey soils. Planting in the garden is a waste of time and money. If you want, you can make a raised bed and fill that with acid soil but digging a hole in your garden and filling it with acid (ericaceous) compost only works for a while. The water from the surrounding soil will drain in and spread the lime and although you can acidify soil with sulphur chips you really are making life hard for yourself.
By far the best way to grow rhododendrons in these circumstances is to put them in pot. Rhododendrons have compact, fibrous roots and grow well in containers. But before you rush out and plant one in your favourite container, consider a few basics. Choose a dwarf rhododendron — many can get huge but there are lots of compact varieties, such as the ‘Bow Bells’ I chose, or all the Yakushimanum varieties (‘Yaks’). Then think about the pot. It should not be made of concrete or contain lime and must have straight sides so that, when the time comes, you can get the roots out of the pot to move it into the next size. It must also have drainage holes but if it has a saucer which can be topped up with water in summer, that is of benefit. You must use a lime-free compost. There are many brands of lime-free, or ericaceous compost but most are loam-free. Most are not, in my opinion, good for long-lasting plants and I prefer to use lime-free John Innes compost, possibly mixed with some fine bark.

BBC – Horizon – The Secret of El Dorado

New evidence that advanced societies flourished in the Amazon Basin before the arrival of Europeans .It was the most notorious wild-goose chase in history: the Conquistadors’ search for El Dorado, a fabulous kingdom of gold that Indians said lay hidden in the jungles of the Amazon Basin. But now, at last, archaeologists have uncovered the truth behind that myth. They have found evidence of a huge society, as advanced as the Egyptians or the Incas, right in the heart of the rainforest. And this is more than the story of a lost world rediscovered.For it seems that the people of the real El Dorado possessed a secret with the power to transform our world and their secret in the soil could be the solution to solving famine in the third world and other nations once and for all. You need to have flashplayer enabled to watch this Google video

Natural farming information about soil biology

Natural farming information about soil and the importance of microbes in the soil biology and the need of natural, organic, sustainable farming methods without chemical fertilizers. This video clip features Dr Elaine Ingham, PhD of Soil Food Web.You need to have flashplayer enabled to watch this Google video

Natural farming information to save water and prevent diseases

Natural farming information about soil and the importance of a healthy soil biology to prevent diseases and to retain and save water usage. This video clip features Dr Elaine Ingham PhD, Soil Foodweb Institute. You need to have flashplayer enabled to watch this Google video