London (change)
Today 13°C / 5°C
Tomorrow 12°C / 7°C


Latest posts by blackest

Cells or Flats and for what?

Posted: 19/03/2013 at 09:27

Hi I was wondering what is the best method for starting seeds both flowers and veg

I've been mostly starting in cells but obviously it takes more space and you get the odd failure. With flats you have to separate the plants and transplant but i guess you use less space although you might lose some due to handling the tiny seedlings.

So what rule of thumb do you use? What should be started now?

MOB rants

Posted: 19/03/2013 at 09:15

well i live in a small country cottage nearest town is Buttevant about 5 miles away. Currently the garden is a bit boring mainly lawn and little else. I intend to change this

I lived in the UK for most of my life but found a better way of living here. Climate wise it varies between craggy island and warm sunny days weather is changable sometimes within an hour. Unfortunately Ireland is picking up bad habits from the UK such as water bills and council tax but even so a good place to be.


MOB rants

Posted: 19/03/2013 at 07:45

You don't have to use teabags and you don't have to use selfservice checkouts. I hate self service checkouts too and I make a point of not using them. There are too many people unemployed already so I do my bit to keep local jobs.  I am an occassional drinker as in i can't recall the last occassion so I buy good coffee and good tea, and butter, For the small saving you get from instant coffee and margarine it's not worth bothering with, tastes revolting once your used to the real stuff.  Food generally comes fresh or frozen or fresh then frozen. I over  prepare veg and freeze the excess. Processed food is junk and you eat better and cheaper when you can prepare from natural ingredients. I'm in Ireland and here it costs to have your bins emptied so I don't bother any cans get washed out most packaging goes on my fire and helps keep me warm at night. Coffee grounds and tealeaves go into the soil. Every so often I take a trip to the recycling bins and recycle my bottles and cans.  Blimey this is quite theraputic



WEATHER this week

Posted: 19/03/2013 at 07:18

I'm feeling lucky now, nights are cold but getting some sun in the days though 7,8,9 degrees but in the greenhouse when the sun is out its nearly t-shirt weather.

Bit cloudy this morning but it should warm up in an hour or two. Right about the weather in this part of ireland snow was prctically unheard off till 2009 and now winters are getting harsh a lot of palmy type trees got killed and red robin is now becoming much more valued for hedging, the price has shot up. 


Posted: 19/03/2013 at 06:03

I don't know yet but it will start with fleece off and likely finish with fleece on ...

Probably going to sow a few more seed trays, and check on progress. Yesterday I noticed some of my viola seedlings were starting to develop thier first true leaves.

The heated propagator I made seems to be working well with a soil temperature of around the low 20's. It's brilliant to look at in the morning and see how many new seedlings have come through over night.

I'm also looking forward to checking the temperatures inside and outside my greenhouse overnight I just want to get a feel for the amount of frost protection in my greenhouse.

I have a couple of silvercrest digital thermometers designed for cars they have an inside thermometer with the display and an outside probe on a couple of meters of wire. The outside probe is great for monitoring soil temperature. They also record maximum and minimum temperatures which can be reset automatically daily or reset manually. The reset is at midnight so i set the clock out by 12 hours and to cap it off there is a frost alarm.

Heat is an interesting subject I was told by a nurseryman to open the vents a little to help protect plants from frost and that works because moisture in the air condenses and that gives off latent heat which has a warming effect in the green house by venting the drier air in the greenhouse is replaced by moist air from outside which then repeats the cycle.

Clematis Should I get 1 or 2

Posted: 18/03/2013 at 11:15

I bought two miss bateman as they seemed the strongest with buds and leaves down to the top of the pot.  First job to transplant to 20/25 litre pots  there was a good selection of more colourful Clematis but I figured best chance was to grow strong plants

Clematis Should I get 1 or 2

Posted: 18/03/2013 at 09:04

Thank you Derek, your right on the money with the pricing these are €5.99 each and I think they will be out the door quick this morning I love where I live but the garden is quite boring at the moment, when i moved here last summer I couldn't do much except a few window boxes so this year i am aiming to get some colour around the place.  

Do you think they will grow much this year or will it be 2014 before they establish themselves?


Clematis Should I get 1 or 2

Posted: 18/03/2013 at 08:39

There is an offer on at lidl (Ireland) they should have 3 types of Clematis coming in this morning and the doors open at 10.  So should I go buy 1 or 2. I live in a small cottage and the door is on the south side I was thinking perhaps of growing them around the door way in containers  (these will come in 2 litre pots). Never grown them before. Do I go for it or not ?


Heated Bench

Posted: 15/03/2013 at 22:06

I'm now getting to grips with mark II propagator, this time its  a bit more complicated having thermostat control and a plate warmer as a heating element.

The Plate warmer comes from aldi  €17.99 and claims to be 60 watts (it might be about half that) its essentially a heating pad wrapped in aluminium foil and with a fabric cover. It claims to be able to warm plates to 65- 70 degrees C after 20 minutes but then its supposed to be used as a stack. I am testing it open and temperature seems much lower.    dimensions are 22cm by 1 metre with a wire loop running up and down just the once.

For temperature control I bought a room thermostat these go for as little as €8 plus vat mine was a little more at €12 total. These are very simple devices you can set the dial to between 5 and 35 degrees C and they open a relay at the set point no power required. This will need to be in close contact with the heat pad to avoid measuring air temperature instead of soil temp. my first version there can be a 15 degree difference between air and soil temperature. I  will have to monitor the system when its all together to ensure i don't cook the roots.  

 The wiring mods will be simple enough i just need to switch the live with the thermostat the relay is strong enough to switch 10 amps of ac. so my little current will be fine. the rcd on the circuit should trip if any water gets where it shouldnt. An extra layer of plastic should ensure the heater element stays dry. it will probably get built into a box Tomorrow.  I have a plc knocking about so if i wanted i could use that for control but i think its not needed at this stage. (a suitable plc can be had from 25 euro up used).  Maplin have a little project board for a temperature probe and relay but its 12volt and about 15 euro. 

 I wouldn't recommend doing this if you are not qualified, if you don't know what you are doing you could manage to kill yourself. It'd probably be easy to adapt this to 12 volt dc which would make it portable and safer.

 It looks like the thermostat is going to be over kill as it has one built in the temperatures climbing but still only about 23 degrees so far

 overnight it reached 28 degrees 5 more tomato plants were born using an average of 27 watts an hour, when on it draws 57 watts. Today I will build a box for it which hopefully will reduce the energy use further (room temp was around 8-10 degrees)

Supermarket seeds

Posted: 14/03/2013 at 11:59

Some of the packets don't contain many seeds at all, which is one reason for them being cheap. Some of the poundland type packets are pretty good on quantity i especially like the mixtures where you might get say 6 climbers in a packet.   "garden treasures" is the brand I got. Ranging from 800 - 2000+ seeds in a packet. Some of the other brands have say 15 seeds of Verbina. which seems a bit miserly even if it is just a euro.

Discussions started by blackest

weeding especially grass

best way to remove without losing too much soil 
Replies: 5    Views: 120
Last Post: 23/03/2014 at 11:43


Replies: 17    Views: 453
Last Post: 20/08/2013 at 08:58

more mystery plants to be identified

with photo's shot with the lens i got in the post today:) 
Replies: 28    Views: 895
Last Post: 13/07/2013 at 09:30

what am I growing?

Replies: 3    Views: 341
Last Post: 07/07/2013 at 23:27

another mystery plant

Replies: 9    Views: 408
Last Post: 19/06/2013 at 11:24

Weed or Not? Photo's here

identifying unknown plants that may be weeds  
Replies: 27    Views: 971
Last Post: 16/06/2013 at 17:15

Where we are. the Big Map.

A Map Project for GW Members. 
Replies: 275    Views: 9427
Last Post: 11/04/2014 at 07:49

Email notifications are back

Replies: 9    Views: 422
Last Post: 08/05/2013 at 14:46

Bee news from The Beeb, Eu Ban pesticide

The European Commission will restrict the use of pesticides linked to bee deaths by researchers, despite a split among EU states on the issue. 
Replies: 6    Views: 540
Last Post: 08/05/2013 at 03:36

what makes a good window box / Basket

How do you like to fill yours ? 
Replies: 6    Views: 505
Last Post: 10/05/2013 at 10:26

circular formal raised bed what centre piece

Replies: 8    Views: 786
Last Post: 27/04/2013 at 19:27

Plant id and rescue plans

Replies: 24    Views: 901
Last Post: 20/04/2013 at 20:09

companion plants chart

Replies: 4    Views: 617
Last Post: 30/04/2013 at 00:27

Good Evening FORKERS - Page 2

Replies: 11    Views: 405
Last Post: 14/04/2013 at 20:59

Good Evening FORKERS

a continuation of 
Replies: 20    Views: 642
Last Post: 13/04/2013 at 22:17
1 to 15 of 26 threads