In a corner of the plot, well away from the house, make into a heap about 4 ft. high and 6 ft. wide, all lawn mowings, cabbage and other leaves, gathered autumn leaves, particularly beech from nearby copses, and all vegetable material, especially soft annual weeds, which by decaying slowly make what is known as compost. The refuse of this autumn will not be ready as compost for some months as rotting takes time, but it can be assisted by sprinklings of sulphate of ammonia at 9 in. intervals as more refuse is thrown in, and a few buckets of water poured over the heap to hasten decomposition. Fork over now and again to let air and damp get in to speed up the rotting process. This mixture, when black and well rotted, can be forked out, mixed with animal manure and spread over the plot at any time or used as a mulch. In this way the organic chemicals taken out of the earth by one year’s growth are ultimately returned.

John Innes Composts:

These are standard mixtures devised by the John Innes Horticultural Institution for practically all plants grown in greenhouses. They can be mixed at home to the prescribed formulae but as so much depends on the quality of loam (which must be sterilized) in the various composts, it is probably better for the beginner to buy the ready-prepared composts from a horticultural sundriesman. There are composts for seed sowing, potting and one for striking cuttings. Their advantages over older types of seed and potting composts are many. Complicated mixtures for different plants at varying stages of growth are no longer necessary and results are more uniform, growth being more rapid and less susceptible to disease, including damping off.

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