One of the perks of running this website is that sometimes manufacturers send me products to review. I was rather pleased to receive a barrow sized riddle the other day from soilsifter (now out of business)
I’ve got a small round riddle but for larger scale operations this is ideal. It sits nicely on top of the wheelbarrow and enables you to process volumes of soil or compost quickly. Just spade it in and move the soil around to get it through the gaps in the wire. The resulting fine sieved soil is ideal for making your own potting composts and for seed beds etc.
The price (currently £35.00 plus delivery) seemed a bit steep but the product quality is first class. The frame is made from reclaimed wood with dovetailed joints and has 3 coats of stain preservative so rot should not be a problem. The mesh is good quality and there are strengthening bars across so the mesh doesn’t sag and bend.
Overall, a simple product that does the job and will last for years. You could make your own but making one to this standard would not be that easy or, I suspect, much cheaper.
I’m not making any potting compost but the soil sifter came in useful when I planted some of the willow trees for bedding them in: round pots in square holes. I was amazed how pot bound they are. Someone told me that if you just stick a willow cutting in the ground it will grow and I think they’re right judging by the root growth on these.
The willows went in between some ash which don’t seem to be doing very well. I’m not sure why, it isn’t the dreaded die-back disease though so there’s still hope. They’re all in a line so after scattering some wood ashes over I mulched with bark chippings. I wasn’t sure about the wood ash at this time of year when the potash is likely to leach out but, if nothing else, they’ll sweeten the soil like lime. I’ve loads of wood ash stored anyway.
Val had a rose in a pot which she had me plant out in a border. I took the opportunity to add some mycorrhizal fungi innoculant which should promote growth. There’s a couple of hebe bushes in the back border to move as well but they’ll wait a while.
It’s an easy trap to fall into when planting out a new border, not allowing enough for growth. In fairness to myself, it is a balancing act. You want the border to look reasonable initially and too few plants look lonely. You know how big they will grow eventually but it can take ten years to reach maturity. It’s been 4 years since I planted up the back border (doesn’t time fly) so time to reassess and thin down.
what should I do with a rather large raspberry bush at this time of year in terms of pruning? It is still bearing a few berries at present ( first week of November) Any advice appreciated.
Basically once they have finished fruiting, I suspect that you autumn fruiting variety, you can just cut the stems back to a couple of inches. New stems come up next year to fruit next autumn. If they are summer fruiting, in which case they would have started fruiting in June, then you cut back the dark brown stems and leave the paler ones. These are the stems that will fruit next year. Important to get it right if you want fruit next year!
Here in Norfolk I was surprised to still be picking raspberries , even though the leaves are falling off the canes , I understand we can soon cut them right down ready for digging out and repositioning