ISSUE 19, October 2006
Editorial
Historic: Rabbi and Mason
Travel: Morocco's exotic charm
Quarterly Communication: Address by the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Working with Youngsters: The Grand Master goes fishing
Community Relations: Saying it with flowers
International: Spanish Freemasonry under the microscope
   Events: Grand Lodge Award; Royal Masonic Variety Show
Specialist Lodges: Masonry on the canal
Freemasonry and Society: A Churchman's view of Masonry
Education: Toast of the town and Events
Young Masons: The Universities Scheme
Library & Museum: The Freemasons's Tontine
Masonic Charities: The Grand Charity and NMSF and RMTGB and RMBI
Letters
Book reviews
Gardening

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   By choosing your varieties carefully, a whole range of fruit and vegetables can be grown in containers from flower pots to large tubs. Container-grown plants, however, need more care and attention than those grown in open ground.
    If appearance is important, then both pears and apples are excellent choices and, depending on the variety, can have a very pretty blossom. However, they are not self-fertile, so need at least two different varieties to provide cross-pollination to bear fruit.
    Red currents, too, can look spectacular in pots. Strawberries grow well in containers, but it is essential to buy healthy plants as they tend to suffer from viruses.
    Raspberries need canes to stabilise them as they grow, but there is a limit to the number of years that they can grow in a container.
    Figs and grapes have extensive roots, so need regular feeding and watering. Figs are particularly suitable for pots, as to fruit well they need root restriction, and have to be brought inside when there is a frost.
    Generally, for fruit you should use a loam-based compost such as John Innes No. 3, although for strawberries you could use a peat-free or lighter compost. Pots protect the size of the plant, although every couple of years, in the winter, it is important to take off about one-third of the roots and remove and replace about the same amount of compost.
    If re-potting into a bigger pot, make sure that the pot isn’t too big to move around if, for example, you want to put them in a sunny position when fruiting. Plums and cherries in particular need regular repotting, probably every year, and also require plenty of watering and feeding as they can get stressed very easily.
    Vegetables benefit if they are not in the sun all day, so the ability to move them into the shade is useful. It is equally important that they are not subject to drafts. Quickgrowing vegetables with compact habit are perfect for pots such as tomatoes, redskin peppers, little gem lettuce, dwarf French beans and salad potatoes.
    If possible, aim for containers with a depth and width of at least 45cm. This will avoid having to water and feed frequently.
    Use sterile potting compost such as that from a growing bag. There are also many peat-free composts available which are of equal quality.
    If you are using containers on a longterm basis, it is better to start with a loambased compost. After using it once, it will require a dressing of fertiliser before you put in the next crop. Compost can only hold a certain amount of fertiliser, so top up nutrients in the growing season.
    Be aware that crops planted before the end of May could be subject to frost. If the temperature drops, move pots into the most sheltered position possible, and cover with horticultural fleece. When they have been in the container for four to five weeks, start liquid feeding with Tomarite – a highpotash fertiliser – at least once a week.
    Mixing well-rotted manure into the compost in the lower half of the container is a very effective organic fertiliser. If plants are looking sick or yellowing, foliar feeding is very handy.
    Containers should be frost-proof or will need wrapping to protect them from the frost. Make sure that they are raised on feet, which not only provide drainage, but also minimises the risk of pests. Ensure the holes are not blocked by using crocks or a layer of gravel in the base.
    Even if you are not a member of the Royal Horticultural Society, you can benefit from their advice at:
www.rhs.org.uk


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