mootube
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I made my own soil for cranberries based on what was around but they haven't been planted yet so no guarantee of sucess, it may even turn out a disaster. 30% dead leaves, 30% compost and 30% earth (possibly pine poisoned but what the hey, might even help) and the rest, sand. I also mixed in a few handfulls of grass to aid decomposition and mixed it up in rainwater which won't raise the pH like tap water. It now sits in my back yard in the cold weather, which won't exactly aid decomposition, thinking about it. I've also got doubts about the calcium content of the sand.

All that because I wouldn't know peat if I was standing on it, despite reading a lot about it and my area being basically made of it. I found out a lot of historical facts about peat and my area though.

Well, I'm interested in anything else I could add to reduce the pH. Horse manure, seaweed, superacid... these things I can get.

Pointers welcome.

The Helpful Gardener
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Peat is a mined product, so we're not huge fans here, but it does acidify quickly...

HG

mootube
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There's no way I'm buying peat or anything else for that matter if there's a DIY option. You didn't comment on my ingredients which is probably a good sign and the cranberries survived a night in it too. :lol:
I was going to make a thread on DIY ericaeous ingredients after my previous post but there's a lot to go on in the forums already. Searching Google for this topic is what brought me to the forums originaly, my lack of gardening skills makes me post quite a bit.

Question: Is there any bit of household waste or natural material that's particularly good at acidifying? I've heard about sulphur flowers being excellent but where to find sulphur without buying it. Matchheads? Think it's worth making a thread on DIY acid soil in a different section?

The Helpful Gardener
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Might sub sand for the earth in the next batch, but cranberries are blueberries at heart, pretty forgiving about conditions. It'll sure work...and that stuff about pine poisoning is a bit of a wives tale; it'll hold back seedlings but it doesn't do much other than that once they are broken down...

HG

opabinia51
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Hi Mootube, lots of acronyms flying around out there, what is DIY?

mootube
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The Helpful Gardener wrote:Might sub sand for the earth in the next batch, but cranberries are blueberries at heart, pretty forgiving about conditions. It'll sure work...and that stuff about pine poisoning is a bit of a wives tale; it'll hold back seedlings but it doesn't do much other than that once they are broken down...

HG
I'll do that HG and the reassurance is good to hear.

I've got a lot of earth that could be affected by pines. Nothing is growing on it except the occasional bramble. With it being so easy to dig, it's the soil I've used for all my potting, mixed with compost. Strawberries, haw and gooseberries were planted straight in to it outdoors and they're looking good and all my potted plants are showing no ill effects either. The only one that may have a problem is Rubus Pentalobus. It went from the lush vivid green that I bought to sparse rusty foliage in it's new pot outside. I split it before I repotted it so that could be the cause but I've also read that it does change colour in winter. Looks like it's dying but not quite dead. I had hoped to grow this to replace most of my lawn too. I really hope some survive.
opabinia51 wrote:Hi Mootube, lots of acronyms flying around out there, what is DIY?
It stands for Do It Yourself. It's a general term used for things like home decorating and flat pack furniture where you put most of the labour in yourself rather than paying for workers or finished items. A very well known term here in the UK. I thought most Americans had heard of it too.
Try Googlong it, you'll find plans and kits for lots of different things.

The Helpful Gardener
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Hey Moo,

Tried that one myself here; did the 'Emerald Carpet' sterile groundcover version and it was a dog for me (in a sunny south facing raised bed with great drainage that should be perfect). I just think it's not that great a plant...

Scott

mootube
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It certainly hasn't made a fan of me either. It was among the first live plants I bought and it looked very healthy so I thought it could stand a little manipulation. After lovingly dissecting and repotting it, I watched it shrivel up over the next few weeks. :shock: That was my introduction to gardening! I thought I must've been heavy handed or used the wrong soil so for some reason I just put the pot outside in the icy weather and left it alone. It's still alive I think and if it does survive I'll have a bit more respect for it but I can't see it ever replacing my lawn at that rate. Great looking plant though, iirc. :lol:

Isn't this plant supposed to be very rugged?

The Helpful Gardener
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Yea, but N.Z. is a whole different climate; sometimes it just doesn't translate for some not-so-readily-seen reason, like a micorhyzal fungus or some missing mineral in the soil...

There are other plants; move on my friend. Unless you HAVE to have it and then love will find a way... 8)

Scott

mootube
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:lol: I would love to see it do some ground covering, Scott but I won't go as far as buying another one. If the one I've got pulls through this near death experience there may be a success story after all.
Have you got any good fruiting ground cover in mind? Preferably Rubus but I'll give anything you can recommend a go. Not necessarily fruiting plants either. Anything edible, useful or just very pretty would be considered. I have to draw the line at toxic though, just in case.

The Helpful Gardener
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I love you are doing cranberries; another good one for that kind of soil would be wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens). Evergreen, nice berry...

Tried lowbush blueberry yet? They actually sell it as turf in Maine (they are a hardy lot but often a bit eccentric) I will give them this one though; a good plant.

HG

mootube
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The Helpful Gardener wrote:I love you are doing cranberries; another good one for that kind of soil would be wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens). Evergreen, nice berry...
The cranberry plants were very cheap so I jumped at the chance, then realised about the soil requirements. If I can make a lot of acid soil myself, I'll get a decent sized ericaceous bed going for Vaccinium, Gaultheria and the like. You've mentioned procumbens before, I'm not sure the taste of wintergreen is that attractive but I'll get it if I see it along with other Gaultheria.
I've got Highbush Cranberry on the list too but haven't come across it yet from my usual sources. Plenty of Viburnum opulus around though and I always check just in case it's a trilobum. Tree space is way too much of a premium to get the wrong one so I'm taking no risks with this one.
Tried lowbush blueberry yet? They actually sell it as turf in Maine (they are a hardy lot but often a bit eccentric) I will give them this one though; a good plant.

HG
I've held back from getting Blueberry since I read that there was one cultivar that was much better than the others and I stupidly forgot to note down which one it was. I find that the Blueberries on eBay are very expensive too, with an occasional exception. High on my list though, I think I've only tried the fruit once which was a blueberry pie when I was in the US. And very nice it was too. If it comes as a turf over there, that's got to be a good sign when it comes to lawn replacement, I'll definitely bear that in mind. Always thought it was more of a shrub. 8)

The Helpful Gardener
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Lowbush is Vaccinium angustifolium; many of the other cousins are bush and tree types, but there are lots of low ones. We have dozens of different species, like whortleberry (V. myrtillus), lingonberry (V. vitis idaea), a native of both here and the Scandinavian countries that love it so, and the list goes on and on. Lots of bluberries to play with...

Scott



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