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Latest posts by Boater

attaracting birds to my garden

Posted: 16/04/2015 at 12:21

Pete B is ornithologically correct although trying to be amusingly pedantic in the way he said it

Gulls are land birds that often feed at sea, there are no pelagic gulls and there is no species of gull properly called a seagull or sea gull.

But everyone calls them sea gulls don't they? It's a cultural term not a scientific one  Icall them seagulls even though I know its wrong.

The 'classic' seagull is of course the herring gull.

The gulls around here seem not to care about my feeders, the biggest birds that have had a go are crows, but mostly I have spuggies, finches and tits.

Habitat is going to be a key feature for how many and what type of birds you can attract - someone living near a wood said they can't encourage any into the garden, maybe they simply find enough food and cover in the wood?

Interesting that some of you find peanuts popular, my peanuts don't seem to go down unless the sunflower hearts run out, and even then they go down more slowly. I don't know if this is because there are lots of places to get peanuts, or if the birds are preferring different food at this time of year, or if they just take a lot more work to get out than seeds?

Also - I don't think whole peanuts fit through feeder mesh do they? Surely the birds have to break them to get them out, thus rendering advice about breaking irrelevant if you use a cage feeder - maybe something to think about if you leave them on a tray or table though?

One thing I have noticed is the effect of different feeders. I bought some inexpensive feeders that worked well, but after another minor vandalism incident one got broken I bought a couple of really really cheap ones that outwardly look similar, but on further investigation supply seed at a slower rate and have the holes much further above the base of the feeder. Side by side with the same food as the other feeders, the birds ignore the cheaper ones until the others are empty. The better design of feeders the birds will cheerfully empty in a day, so no concerns about food going mouldy, the cheaper ones, well I went on holiday for a week and one was still half full when I got back. I don't know how you can tell which feeders are good or bad, good value or unecessarily expensive, but if you are struggling to attract birds and you know there are birds about, it might be worth considering that maybe your feeders are too difficult for them....

Autumn flowering raspberries sprouting far from canes

Posted: 16/04/2015 at 10:52

Raspberries are related to brambles, hence the way they shoot up wherever they feel!

For autumn fruiting you should cut the old canes to ground level in February, if you don't you seem to get growth from the old canes which either doesn't fruit or fruits early and poorly. If you cut them back the growth comes from the ground next to the canes which is what you need. If you haven't cut last years canes down already do it ASAP and you should still get new shoots and fruit this year - I think it was June last year before I realised my mistake and still got a crop so don't panic!

I grow mine in a half whisky barrel which controls the spread, the shoots next to where the old canes were are stronger and bigger than the shoots everywhere else in the barrel as you would expect.

Note that raspberries like slightly acidic soil - my dad has terrible trouble growing them in his fruit cage where he has obviously managed the soil, but has wild raspberries growing outside the cage in an area that used to have pine trees. I have suggested to him a couple of times that soil ph might be his problem but you know how parents can be

Clay soil drainage issue

Posted: 31/03/2015 at 14:17

I'll re-iterate the advice to consider where you are draining too - if you are on a hill it will probably just keep moving down and become someone elses problem (unless you are close to a river), otherwise you are just movign it around your garden.

When I was a kid my dad built a soak away for rainwater drains in the paddock before he turned it into a veg patch. 8' x 8' x 8' hole into mostly clay, backfilled with several tons of rocks and then some topsoil put back on top. Then he built a network of concrete paths and bought a couple of lorry loads of topsoil - I earned my pocket money one summer rotavating the clay based original topsoil and then shifting the new topsoil from the front garden to the paddock. Rotavating clay is extemely hard work.

Er, the main point was that the soak away worked OK, the veg patch was never waterlogged even though all the house gutters were drained to it.

Few newbie questios (mainly tomatoes)

Posted: 31/03/2015 at 13:48

I got it right in the previous paragraph - clearly a case of wandering fingers....

Weather warnings issued

Posted: 31/03/2015 at 11:21

Another terrible night here in the west of Scotland, it was just like January again.

No sleep lost, I'm used to it!

Nothing to secure in the garden, I keep everything permanently secured

I think the only reason I haven't had any trees down this year is that the weak bits all came down over the last few years, although the hospital's fir tree looked to be leaning quite a bit this morning. At least this time it is leaning towards the hospital rather than towards my and my neighbours gardens - we have already had a couple of trunks from it come down our way a few years ago!

But nature doesn't seem to mind too much, stuff still grows

Hope everyone else's gardens, greenhouses and fences have survived!

Sometimes when you gamble you lose....

Posted: 31/03/2015 at 11:05

When the grass is higher and when it was mostly moss, it is impossible to tell how much the water lies so I don't really know how frequently it gets like this.

Drainage problem, yes  - I buried a cable to the garage last year and found about 1.5 - 2 spade depths of topsoil (with some large stones) under that was clay running almost immediately to what felt like rock (but may have been compacted clay). But I'm not in a hollow or anything so it does dry out reasonably well after the rain stops (it was still hammering down when I took the photo!)

I am in the west of Scotland so stormy wet weather is not rare, but this does seem to be a particularly intense spell we are having right now. I wouldn't be surprised to get home tonight and find a tree down over the back part!

I did note that the photo will be a useful reference next time I get a chance to level the lawn!

I'm not aiming for a perfect lawn for garden parties or playing croquet or anything, it's a boaters lawn, which needs to be nice and soft to gently support my boats when I'm working on them - adjusting outfitting etc. (mainly kayaks and canoes). Ideally not just a moss bed - most of my boats are too tight to wear shoes in and I don't like getting damp socks from stepping on wet spongy moss getting in and out of them

I had a look this morning (the rain was much lighter and may have stopped overnight) and I could see that there is still grass seed on it so hopefully all is not lost! Fortunately I will be able to keep off it by going away for a few days - hopefully the weather will clear up and I will see some results when I get back!

Removing raspberry runners

Posted: 31/03/2015 at 01:47

Raspberries are from the Rubus family, same as Brambles - as long as the soil conditions are good for them, they have the same tenacity as brambles so I doubt if weed control fabric will stop them....

Sometimes when you gamble you lose....

Posted: 31/03/2015 at 01:33

Although perhaps a little early in the year I thought I'd take a chance and use the recent good spell of weather to some work on my lawn.

Scarified, raked, aerated, selectively top dressed to even out some hollows and finally overseeded.

I don't think I need a sprinkler, the weather came back:

It's less polo field, more water polo pool!

I guess if we have frost whilst it looks like that it will damage the seed and probably kill off the remaining grass? Oh joy, latest forecast is for wintery showers for the next 24 hours! I can't even tell if the seed is still there or has floated/washed/blown away, still it has probably stopped the birds eating it.

What do we all think the chances of the grass surviving this experience are?

strawberries in raised beds

Posted: 29/03/2015 at 02:02

Mine have been doing fine in multipurpose compost for a couple of years now, they really love to grow all you need to do is keep those varmints off - I have a wire mesh cage around my raised beds to keep cats out rather than bunnies.


Posted: 27/03/2015 at 23:41

I have been keeping my conservatory at about 15-20C to help get some things started - the sunflowers were sown in pots and just kept on the floor without any kind of cover - 6 out of 8 have come up already.

Discussions started by Boater

Sometimes when you gamble you lose....

Maybe I shouldn't have started on my lawn yet? 
Replies: 5    Views: 255
Last Post: 31/03/2015 at 13:51


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Peas - Powdery Mildew?

Strategies to avoid spores overwintering? 
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Last Post: 19/09/2014 at 13:24

Topless Tomato

Where did the main stem go? 
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Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 21:44

Carrots, hard in centre?

Replies: 3    Views: 300
Last Post: 14/07/2014 at 10:23

Tomatoes - Fungus/Lichen in growbag?

Am I heading for a problem? 
Replies: 4    Views: 247
Last Post: 12/07/2014 at 16:09

Giant Peas?

Replies: 4    Views: 550
Last Post: 23/09/2013 at 22:58
7 threads returned