(Always) read the instructions!

A while back one of my friends gave me a bag of woodash to put round my apple tree. She recommended March as a good time to do it, so the other day when it wasn’t windy or raining, that’s what I did.

I also thought ‘If it’s good for the apple tree, maybe the blueberry bush would appreciate some, too’. Oh yes, a handful went round that as well.

Then I thought that I had better check in case woodash was alkaline rather than acidic. Just as well I did… It is alkaline and blueberries really don’t like that. So, I quickly scrapped away the ash and put down all the coffee grinds I had been collecting, in the hope that this would make good any damage.

Of course, only time will tell if the blueberries produce fruit but having made a mistake once, I was a little more cautious today.

Having spied a spot to do some planting, the plan was to sow a green manure: phacelia.


It would be nice to see some flowers for a change and I was eager to plant these in particular, as they are new to me. However, the packet says to be sown from March. Oh no! I was disappointed but it would be such a shame for them to be lost to frost. So, instead some buckwheat has gone in.


I’m not too keen on this, when all is said and done. I planted some back in 2010 and was a tad underwhelmed, with the result that this packet of seeds has languished in the seed box ever since.

I hope that the buckwheat still grows as the soil in my garden does need plenty of tender-loving care. Whilst digging today I was reminded that the soil is very heavy, so perhaps the buckwheat will break it down a little. If not, at least the hooverflies will enjoy the flowers and then I can plant the phacelia later in the year.

Β© Helen Butt, March 2014

About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
This entry was posted in Gardening, Good for the environment and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to (Always) read the instructions!

  1. andy1076 says:

    I had no idea there was certain qualities to things that you can and can’t add to plants, especially that acidic and alkalite, those are mostly terms I hear when I used to have my aquarium πŸ™‚

  2. Lovely post Helen we nearly into April could you start the other green manure indoors ? then plant out later

    • I don’t actually think it works like that. I’m going to cover a large amount of space so I would lots of pots inside. It will be May before we know it though, won’t it?

  3. I have heard that coffee grounds are beneficial to certain plants, do you know why this is, and is it good for black/red currant bushes?

    • Off the top of my head, I don’t know about currants but the grounds have nitrogen in them, which is good for growth. It also seems to speed up action in my compost heap. Then again anything like grass cuttings will have the same effect.

      Re your black/red currant bushes, I’d see if they prefer an acidic soil – if so, then coffee grounds would promote an acidic environment for them.

  4. Oops! Glad you were able to save the day. I’m sure you got it up without any damage to the blueberry. We’ve been trying to grow ours for years. It just limps along. Finally we have flowers. Fingers crossed.

    • Maybe your bush is just one of those plants that struggles to thrive. On the other hand, maybe it has been gathering its strength for a bumper crop this year!

      Mine got some of the ash on its branches and now that it has rained there might have been some caustic vapours hurting its branches. Oh well, it will get lots of tender loving care from now on and it seems strong enough.

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