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Talkback: Compost and green manures

What do I do about persistent moss on my borders, both soil and shrub stems? Would lawn sand kill the plants?


  • I have a white foam type substance growing in my compost bin. i presume it is bacteria. Do i need to get rid of it, and if so how. I would be extremely grateful for any advice. Many Thanks
  • Beware, however: In garden centres there are bags of seeds labelled as "for organic growing", but if you look at the small print you'll see that the seeds weren't organically produced! Just something to keep in mind if you're interested in these things
  • Useful comment Alex. Thanks. Don't worry about the flies, Ben. Lots of 'creatures' get involved in the composting process, and shouldn't be causing any harm. Do remember to mix up the contents of your compost bin from time to time. Either plunge in a fork and turn the material, or tip out all the contents and mix-up as you return it.

    Moss in borders and growing on shrub stems indicates a very moist environment, high rainfall, etc. Sometimes you'll be able to improve drainage, fork over borders, and reduce the tree/branch canopy to let in more light and air. If none of this is possible you'll just have to put up with the moss!

  • I am lucky enough to have a plentiful supply of horse manure from a neighbour but is there something about the fixing and lifting qualities of green manure that warrants alternating these two composting techniques.

    Also would composting alone be sufficient to restore the quality of a neighbours soil that I think has suffered from coal ash being tipped on it. Nothing seems to want to grow, we have removed the ash but will it need topsoil as well as manure.

  • please can you tell me why the rhubarb that has been growing in my mams garden has,over the last three or so years, started to come up really well and healthy looking then died off before getting to full size. it has been there for about thirty odd years growing perfectly every year, is it just to old? what if anything can i do .
  • My lavetera seeds where coming brilliantly and suddenly when I moved them into the green house they died! My greenhouse is shaded and I would most like people to reply to me!
  • I dug up a very sad neglected (over many years)rhubarb root and transfered it to our new home in Somerset, where I promptly forgot about it, leaving it in an old bucket. When I eventually found time to attend to it I simply slit the root at the obvious places where there was a glimmer of life. A portion of the root looked very dead and was discarded. Now after some four or five months I have up to half a dozen healthy small clumps of rhubarb. I will not pick this but we do look again at the very high prices being asked in the local shops for "Yorkshire" limp stems, and look forward to the tasty cheap crop we will be pulling next spring, and cursing not planting it last spring.
  • 1. How can I get rid red lilly beetle organically?

    2. I have two Strelitzia, which I grew from seed from a friends garden in Thailand. I recently transfered them too a mini green house in my front garden where it gets full sun. Since transfering it, dark grey mold has appeared on the large leaves, and I also noticed a grey bug on the leaves, it looks like a mini armadillo, its 2 to 3 mille metres long, what are they and what can be done about them? Can anybody help me?

  • I have just received a delivery of 'top soil' and it is full of clay. What should I be doing to try to make the soil suitable to grow vegetables.
  • We are looking to use a green manure for our vegetable patch that we can sow in october and leave till march. We hope to plant out our first vegetable crops in early April. Can you recommend a green manure that will suit this time frame?
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