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Latest posts by Boater

11 to 20 of 24

Rat In The Compost Bin

Posted: 03/10/2013 at 20:56

One of our Collies was a determined mouser, once she had a sniff or a sighting she would sit and wait until one appeared. Admittedly I only defintiely know of her catching one, and I may have helped by flushing it her way....

Intelligent dogs Collies and Labs, if they are interested in rodents I'm sure they would be good ratters. Now I think of it, I think my boss' Lab used to get rats when he was younger.

Fairy rings

Posted: 03/10/2013 at 20:48

I seem to remember that the mycellium Dovefromabove mentions in the other thread can be a huge underground network, no chance of eradicating it. Had a few fungi myself a couple of weeks ago, still I'd rather have them than ragwort (which I am getting sick of pulling)

Legionnaires desease in compost

Posted: 03/10/2013 at 20:38

I think there is more to it than seems to have been reported, as I recall legionnaires disease is only transmitted by inhalation of infected water droplets which are found in a relatively fine spray mist (my dad was a building services engineer and occasionally had to rush to work at odd times to sort out HVAC systems that had found to be harbouring it), not by inhaling dry soil dust. I'm no biologist (engineer) but I reckon there must have been sprayed water involved (watering in the bought compost?) as well as the compost. I think if you buy dry compost and water it with a can there should be no problem, in fact I doubt if wet compost poses any health risk unless you are doing something to make the water in it turn to spray mist.

Looking at that most reliable of internet sources , wikipedia, it seems there are 2 strains of legionella - the one that causes legionnaires is only found in water, the one that is found in soil leads to pontiac fever - I'm sure it is no less dangerous but it just goes to show that the papers have probably reported the wrong disease, either through poor research or because no-one has heard of pontiac fever.....

However since my research is what I remember my dad telling me several years ago, and wikipedia, I'm in no position to call the papers research sloppy!

I will/I won't grow that again

Posted: 03/10/2013 at 17:35

I think it's too early for me to really say, but I reckon I'll grow everything again next year!

Spinach Emilia F1 has been really easy to grow and produced plenty of leaves, I think the first batch is done, second batch may have been a bit late, not looking very strong yet. Perhaps not the strongest flavour but I have been using as baby leaves.

Radishes - FB3 I have always liked FB and they grew easily to fill the gaps. Last batch has slowed down due to recent weather.

Peas - Hurst Green Shaft have grown fantastically well and are producing loads of pods, but being so late I am worrying about whether the peas will actually fill out so I get to taste them. Unless they taste horrible I will definitely sow these again, but earlier, and with better support (they are twice the height the packet says).

Carrots - May not get a crop (sowed Autumn King and Nantes 5) due to being right at the limit of the sowing season, lots of foliage on AK but not much root. N5 maybe just too late, still not much foliage.

As my first time growing for myself (used to help my dad years ago) I'm pretty pleased with everything, if I don't get to sample some of them it's due to my poor planning and late sowing, nothing has failed, everything is growing, it just might not mature before winter!

On the plus side gardening has finally made me pay attention to the brambles along the east wall an I've had some good pickings off them although the fruit is highly variable. Also finally got round to picking some elderberries off my tree (which is in a far too densely planted patch that I really must get round to sorting out) and tried them in pies - want to try cordial next.

Next year (need to build another raised bed over the winter) I will have Strawberries (Albion), bought a finished plant this year and have been potting runners, enough to fill a bed! Will also have Raspberries (Autumn Bliss) in a pot (half barrel) - it has flowered this year but I planted it at totally the wrong time so don't really expect the fruits to form. I am thinking about more fruit, maybe a blueberry in a half barrel?

Would like to try toms and grapes but not sure they will do well outdoors in Scotland?

Wine making

Posted: 03/10/2013 at 17:09

Hmm, did I make it clear that the bung should be tight so the airlock is the only way for gas to get out and to stop any air getting in?

Wine making

Posted: 03/10/2013 at 17:07

The airlock is to stop any bacteria from the air getting into the wine during fermentation because if the wrong ones get in there you will get something more like vinegar. Thus it needs to be about half full of water  - sterilising solution would be fine but shouldn't be necessary if the airlock was sterilised when you sterilised the demijohn. You need the U-bend to be full  of water so that excess gas escaping from the demijohn has to bubble through it due to pressure build up inside, whilst air from outside atthe lower pressure can't bubble back through - simple but effective, the same technology that keeps smells from wafting out of your toilet and sinks!

I assumed there that you have a typical winemakers airlock like an sideways S tube. I actually hate wine so only brew beer and mostly use a different type of airlock (until the head forms which is usually enough to protect beer) with a tube up the centre and a lid with a 'curtain' concentric with the tube a outer wall - again they need to be about half full so the 'curtain' from the lid is covered, forcing escaping gas to bubble under it to get out.

The key to success with any brewing is sterilisation and cleanliness, keep the bad bacteria out and natural forces do most of the rest!

If I fail to make elderberry cordial again at the weekend (ended up with jam before) I might have to try wine next year, I guess it will be different than grape wine so maybe I'll like it...??

Easy veggies and fruit

Posted: 27/09/2013 at 11:03

I started this year and tried to plant stuff I like and always buy from the supermarket without any real consideration of how hard they are to grow, but then added a couple of others that I like but never think to buy.

I used raised beds - I only have a spade of topsoil over what looks like industrial slag! Being all compost the soil has held moisture well - I check it before watering and have never found it dry, on days when it rains I haven't needed any extra watering and if it has been cool and the soil still feels damp I have sometimes skipped watering if I have been short on time. I have never watered more than once a day. Mind you, I am in Scotland....

I started late in the season and not everything is ready yet!

My main crops of frequent buy stuff are peas and carrots, apart from outgrowing the supports the peas have been easy to grow and nearly twice the height on the packet. I have loads of flowers turning to pods now so as long as the frost stays away I should get a good crop.

Carrots are a bit trickier, I didn't spread them very well and have had to thin a couple of times, I was aiming to use my dads trick of waiting until they are baby sized and then pulling alternate ones for the pot leaving others to mature but I was finding 2 or 3 basically growing together so had to thin them out. Also best to water often to prevent roots cracking. Mine are just getting to baby size, some haven't filled out at all so I may not do very well this year.

Spinach is something I like but never buy, I eat it cooked or instead of lettuce. Seedlings come up quick and then grow very slowly for a while before suddenly bulking out. Had several pickings of the larger leaves leaving the small ones so the plants continue to grow, more than packet suggests! Very easy crop if you like it!

Radishes take about 4 weeks from sowing to picking so can grow between rows and have them eaten before main crop needs the space/light - I think they are a bit marmite, love them or hate them, but if you like them they are another very easy crop. I think some varieties of radish and spinach can still be sown for another week or so if you have a bare patch amongst your flowers.

I also like strawberries, and knew they send out runners after cropping so bought a discounted plant that had cropped, put it in a pot (half whiskey barrel) and have potted up 7 or 8 runners already (there are more nearly ready to pot) - so next year I will have 10-12 strawberry plants. Definitelty easy to grow, the trick is keeping the fruit off the ground so it doesn't rot, traditionally straw was put under them hence the name but it looks like fleece from a garden centre is an easier modern alternative. I will have to build another raised bed and it will be filled with just strawberries looking at the spacing they need.

My final buy was a raspberry which I also like but tend to find they are often ruined from the supermarket. I knew least about these so bought it at completely the wrong time! It has however survived (planting depth is critical) in the same half barrel as the strawberry (it will get it to itself next year), there are only 2 canes but they have grown tall and finally started to flower last weekend (it is an autumn variety) - since the brambles around here are still going I have renewed hope of a few raspberries off it yet. It seems that once established strawberries and raspberries will spread easily and need little maintenance, but for raspberries the planting out is critical (I must have been lucky, although I did read up first so was aware of the depth issue).

Since I started my own growing patch I have paid more attention to the brambles that grow over the top of the wall all down one side of my garden - I have had a couple of kilos off them already and it looks like there is another kilo or 2 ready to

Are T&M having a laugh!

Posted: 27/09/2013 at 09:30

Reminds me of the episode of the Simpsons where they end up on a farm and after using uranium for fertiliser Homer manages to produce a crop of Tomacco....

So which way round will it be - potatoes that taste of tomato or tomatoes that taste of potato? I can't see Heinz being pleased if it's the former!

Where did it go to?

Posted: 26/09/2013 at 10:34


I don't seem to have needed to use my watering can much at all from about 2 weeks after sowing my seeds. Granted at times it has been hot and wet, and there have been sunny spells for working on my car and van, but not for a while. At least it has warmed up a few degrees here, I thought I was going to have to put the heating on early a week or so ago!


Posted: 23/09/2013 at 23:27

Pretty sure they need to be attached to the mother plant until they have rooted, they seem to drink quite a lot of water and I don't think they would last out long enough to root. Once they have rooted they seem pretty tolerant of being potted and moved around.

If you cut a couple off, the mother plant will put out some new ones so you could try a couple and see if it works without risking losing the whole lot.

11 to 20 of 24

Discussions started by Boater

Giant Peas?

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Last Post: 23/09/2013 at 22:58
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