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Latest posts by Boater

people moving into an area and paving over the front garden

Posted: 03/08/2015 at 14:41

Sorry annmarie2 but I strongly disagree about cycle paths, they are much more dangerous to regular cyclists than cycling on the road. When I used to commute 15 miles by bike I had a choice between off road cyclepath and roads running almost parallel to each other.

On the cyclepath I had constant hazards from broken glass (its where the yobbos go to drink at night), from pedestrians who change direction randomly without thinking that there might be a bike approaching on the shared cyclepath (and no, a warning shout, horn or bell doesn't help, it almost guarantees they will turn into your path and stop to see what is going on), worse still are the dog walkers who use those reel leads and set them up across the path as near invisible trip wires ,dogs are great - the people with them are generally idiots - even when a dog is off the lead aware of the bike and staying clear many dog walkers seeing a bike approach will call the dog to them across the path of a bike....

That's without mentioning the varying surface conditions, some sections were almost unrideable in heavy rain, and the fact that unless they are on old railways or canal paths, cycle paths are constantly stopping to cross roads, often via complex barriers that either force you to get off or weave through very slowly (presumably to prevent cars and motorbikes using the paths).

My commute was much faster and very much safer on the main road where the tarmac is generally better (although not great), where I could ride at a sensible speed without having to alter course for pedestrians and animals, where, because I was riding in accordance with the highway code (don't get me started on those red light running idiots or the ones who hop on and off the kerb) cars were able to treat me the same as any other traffic - at times they may have felt held up, but most of the route was on roads easily large enough for a car and cycle to pass, even a lorry and cycle.

On the cycle paths I had a near miss almost every day, on the road I have only ever had 2 near misses, both with buses which deliberately cut me up - no they weren't pulling into bus stops, one of them was out of service and returning to the depot.

Cycle paths are OK for occasional cyclists with no road sense who go very slowly, indeed they really should be off the roads for their own safety, but please don't assume that every cyclist who uses the road is wrong, even though there are some who don't use helmets or listen to music instead of picking up vital audio clues from traffic, for many of us the road is the right place to cycle.

Serious bird feeder question!

Posted: 03/08/2015 at 13:54

I don't really have a problem with the squirrels getting food, although I'd rather not encourage them to move in as they can be destructive, and I live not far from red habitat so would prefer there weren't greys in the area at all, but the biggest issue I have with the squirrels, is that they chew through the sides of the feeders ruining them and spilling the seed onto the ground to attract rats.

I guess I could just buy more expensive metal feeders?


Posted: 03/08/2015 at 12:42

Yeah I stick my finger in to check the moisture deep down and leave watering until they are dry right down, so I'm actually watering about once every 9 or 10 days at the moment, and only feeding on every second watering.

The well known brand feed says to mix 3 caps per 9l of water, and to apply 4.5l per growbag, which is what I have been doing. It does say to feed twice per week for growbags under glass but advice on here is usually once per fortnight hence my strategy of doing it every second watering.

I thought the idea was to let them dry out and then water deeply - by the time I finish watering, the water is still in the compost it hasn't leaked out into the trays (I usually spill a little in the trays) so I don't think I'm adding too much water, just wondering if I would be better off waiting until each bag is completely dry before watering. They wouldl soon be way out of sync and I'm likely to get muddled up!

I may have misrepresented the flowering situation - the 2 shirleys closest to the house have stuck out massive trusses that I didn't spot before (too many plants too close together and too much foilage in the way). I have been flicking the trusses almost every day since they first came out, and as I say the higher trusses are doing much better in most cases. There is actually quite a lot of fruit developing, and pollination seems to be more consistent in the higher trusses, I suspect conditions just weren't good early on (still aren't really, more rain and gales forecast for tonight).

I have been taking out sideshoots, except a couple where I have accidentally broken the growing stem and left a sideshoot to see if it will take over. Most plants have 5 trusses now, although the top one or 2 aren't open yet, so will soon be time to stop them.

Like I say, plenty of mistakes - too many plants in too little space, thinking I could train them out when they reached the ceiling because it worked with sweet millions last year, accidentally breaking bits tryng to reach through the dense foliage, or training. I'm starting to wonder if I let them get too leggy in the first place, the stems get much thicker the higher you go up.... All things considered they are doing pretty well, I'm just trying to work out how I could have done better!


Posted: 31/07/2015 at 15:42

Because I am growing in a conservatory, the growbags nearest the window end dry out quicker than the ones at the house end. They were ready to be watered last night at least the window end ones were getting very dry, so I fed them all.

I feed with 4.5l of diluted feed per growbag first, I then go round again watering until the water starts to pool and drain more slowly, so the house end ones got maybe another 3l per bag, whilst the window end ones probably took aother 6 or 7l per bag.

Is this a sensible approach or should I try to keep track of watering different bags at different times as each dry out?

There is no significant difference between the sizes of the plants but the window end ones have more flowers and tomatoes generally, a couple of early trusses on the house end plants failed to turn into tomatoes (they got left out of feeding first time around), but the later trusses are going well now.

I have learned a lot, I could probably write a short book on the mistakes I've made!

Strawberries in pots, purchase now?

Posted: 31/07/2015 at 15:26

I've potted up runners and left them out all winter with just some horticultural fleece over them. They are all producing berries now (although it's too miserable for them to ripen this year)

Spuds in containers help

Posted: 30/07/2015 at 14:39

I think you want the compost wet when you plant, but then don't water until the plants are established (or just enough to stop it drying out) and start actually using the water - presumably to avoid waterlogging the soil and making the seed potatoes rot. But once they get going they need plenty of water, I was probably a bit mean with my earlies but will be watering my supposedly christmas spuds more frequently.

Fetrtiliser I don't know about, I followed instructions before to add fertiliser every 2 weeks, but my plants were green and bushy but when they died back there weren't many big spuds - trouble is I put 5 per bag which is too many so I don't know if my small crop of small spuds was mainly down to too much fertiliser, or overcrowding? Anyone got views on that?

Either way I figured that the compost still had plenty of nutrients in it (I know I probably shouldn't have planted in the same compost, but the earlies were all disease free) so was planning to try without adding extra fertiliser during growing this time, although I did add some blood, fish and bone before planting just to be sure.

My only experience of harvesting is to take the expected times with a pinch of salt and watch the plants for flowering or dying back before going for a rummage.


Posted: 30/07/2015 at 14:25

Mine are due their second feed about now, but the soil is still quite damp because it's been so cold a miserable recently so I haven't done it yet.

Finally have a warm day again so they will probably be ready to water tonight. Not exactly easy to maintain a regular pattern with this summers crappy weather.

I have been removing selected leaves when they are blocking flower trusses, but obviously you need to have trusses to see which ones need to be removed.... I have to admit though, a lot of the first trusses never fertilised, and due to the cool weather the later trusses are really slow to form and flower - I can see the first few buds, but they don't seem keen to open! I have quite a few tomatoes on lower trusses, upper trusses refusing to open and not a lot of flowers left in between! I'm pretty sure this is just the plants reacting to growing conditions and if it warms up again the upper trusses with open up.

Storing Potatoes

Posted: 24/07/2015 at 15:11

I'll move them to a cupboard, although they probably won't be in the fridge long enough to turn to sugar!

Can I grow veg next to Bracken?

Posted: 24/07/2015 at 14:43

The problem is that airborne spores are very fine and can cause respiratory problems if you breathe them in, swallowing them with food should not be an issue. Strike that, it seems the plant can be poisonous and there is a possibility of cancer from ingesting either plant or spores, not only from inhaling spores.

If you are going to cut bracken down, first look up when it spores, the last thing you want to do is start hacking it around and breathing heavily with your labour when it is releasing spores - do it at any other time of year!

If you are going to attack bracken in a field, get the owners permission first.

I have been told that just trampling it regularly will keep it away, again trample when it isn't making spores...

Wet Garden

Posted: 24/07/2015 at 14:34

Almost certainly the drainage in the top 6" that you can aerate is not a problem (if it is you need to change the topsoil), there will be a layer of clay somewhere below that that isn't draining and keeps the topsoil saturated and boggy.

Lay a single perforated pipe as shown in the link just leading from the vicinity of your soggy patch to the ditch, assuming the ditch is deep enough If the patch is large maybe spread a couple of orthogonal pipes out to each side to form a drainage grid below.

If the ditch isn't low enough you will need to ask your water authority where you can connect the drain to, or dig a soak away somewhere else in your garden (typically a hole 8' x 8' x 8' but dimensions might need to be changed depending on area to be drained, mostly filled with stones/rubble and topped off with topsoil).

Discussions started by Boater

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8 threads returned