All Muck and Magic, by Geoff Hodge

This month Grayshott Gardeners learned all about our soil – including how to care for it and how to improve it. Geoff Hodge gave us a very entertaining lecture which unlocked some of the science behind the topic, and gave us a real insight into what is going on with our muck.

Geoff started by underlining how important a plant’s roots are to its health and well-being.  The roots absorb water and nutrients from the soil, which are vital for growth and establishment.  If you want good plants that perform well, you need to look after their roots.

Healthy plants show much more resistance to pests and diseases – and with many pesticides now withdrawn from home use, it is important to grow plants as well as we can so they can fight off problems themselves.

Geoff explained how to look after your soil, by adding BOM (Bulky Organic Matter) to improve its structure and feed the micro flora and fauna that are so important to plant growth.  He then took us through examples of the wide array of fertilisers available on the market, and explained which was best for what function.  We now know how to use liquid, granular and slow release feeds, what to look for in an N:P:K ratio, and the dangers of over-feeding or feeding at the wrong time of year.

It’s a complicated topic, but Grayshott Gardeners are now armed with a little more knowledge that should help us successfully navigate the Garden Centre shelves (and keep our President’s pension in fine fettle).