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Latest posts by Boater

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Raised Bed Liners

Posted: 03/07/2014 at 17:58

For veggies it is probably best to use untreated wood, so it will rot eventually.

My solution was to use old joists, which may or may not have been treated but unlikely to have any residue to leach out now. Untreated 6x2 joists should take a few years to rot out!

If you have some kind of reasonable soil underneath (it can be quite thin under a lawn - I get about 1.5 spade depths before I hit rocks and clay) I would mark out the footprint of the bed, dig it 2 spades deep (if possible, less if the soil is not so good), temporary lift out the soil to a couple of inches deep and level the shallow pit, then position the bed so that when you refill it, it will be sunk a couple of inches below the turf level. No liner required.

Soil cannot escape underneath, worms can get in, long roots can get out, excess water will seep out between planks, the sun will warm the bed quicker than the ground and you can work you patch at a comfy height.

Every few years you may have to replace or repair a bed, but you might be surprised, where the soil sits tight against the timber lack of air may just prevent rot from living there and attacking the timber - my beds are too young to say from experience!

If you are going to fit a plastic liner in a raised bed, you might as well use growbags and fit skirting boards around them for appearance Now there's an idea - I had a spare bag of compost I decided to cut the side off and sow some carrots in (for baby carrots, hopefully there is enough depth for that, they certainly won't grow full size!), it looks a bit ugly, maybe I could clad it to improve the appearance....

Recommend a full season of strawberries?

Posted: 01/07/2014 at 10:55

Hi SFord - I think it is important that everyone has their garden the way they want it, not everyone wants their garden to look like a mini farm  or in the case of my dad's fruit cage, like a POW camp!

Recommend a full season of strawberries?

Posted: 01/07/2014 at 10:40

I'm still a relative beginner but I have learned a lot and my strawberries are doing great so I'll share my thoughts!

Conventional wisdom is not to let them fruit in their first year, so I would definitely look to get some runners in now and established for next year.

I bought a single Albion plant last year (late so it had probably cropped already) and let it put out runners. Each runner will put out some leaves and then continue to run some more - keep them trimmed back to the first runner, subsequent plants will be weak. Put a pot of compost under the bunch of leaves on each runner, lightly peg the runner stem down if it has a tendancy to move around, and over a few weeks it will put down roots into the pot.

When the roots are established in the pot, snip the runner from the main plant and bring it on independantly. I think I made 13 new plants from the single one I bought giving me 14 plants this year - and I didn't even use all the runners it put out, and only the first plant on each runner! Obviously different varieties will vary!

All plants are fruiting this year, the differential seems to be where they are planted in the bed, the ones furthest from the trees that are in the sun the most are much bigger with more stems of of flowers/fruits, those in the partial shade of the trees are smaller and have just 1 stem of flowers/fruits but all are producing good fruit (I picked the first batch last night, very tasty!)

To cover the whole season you will need to pick varieties that fruit at different times, but either way I'd say now is the time to plan the beds and get some runners in the ground. I pegged fleece over mine for the winter and they show no signs of cold problems (leaves turn red) and are coming on nicely.

Planning is the hardest part - practising crop rotation is a good idea, but strawberries are supposed to crop well for 3 years (but will go on forever) so you would need to plan beds so that you can move the strawberries every fourth year (some people like to have 3 beds of different years on the go together how many beds would that require?) and grow other stuff that uses different nutrients in the other years (consider leaving a fallow year too).

If you plant different varieties in the same bed you will need to keep on top of the runners, if you let them self root in the ground you will just end up with a carpet of all the different varieties intermingled. Of course, that might be what you desire for a more rambling stawberry patch producing fruit all over for a long season rather than a patch with distinct areas that fruit at different times?

Fungus on ones strawberries!!

Posted: 20/06/2014 at 09:30

Last night I noticed that a couple of my strawberry plants (the bigger ones with most fruit) were developing white tips to the serrations on the leaves like someone had dipped them in icing sugar - is this an early stage of grey mould or something else?

I was cutting off runners and noticed a couple of leaf stems turning brown although the leaves still looked healthy - I'll prune those out tonight anyway.

I have set up drip watering evenly over the whole bed, but the plants at the end furthest from the trees (that get more time in the sun) have grown much bigger so are crowding each other and probably need extra water....

Raspberry Autumn & summer

Posted: 10/06/2014 at 23:55


Raspberry Autumn & summer

Posted: 10/06/2014 at 23:34

I have some Autumn Bliss and I got confused with the pruning over the winter, ended up pruning them to about 6" above ground.

Was I supposed to prune back to ground level later?

I have some growth from the stumps of the old canes and other growth from completely new canes.

I was confused when some flowers appeared a while ago and was just about to ask about it when I found this thread. I'll need to go and look at them but I'm guessing from this that the flowers are on the growth from the old canes - would that be right?

So, similar to Ursula, I presume if I just cut them all to ground level in February that would get everything back in sync for the future?

What type of peas.

Posted: 17/02/2014 at 10:55

I grew hurst greenshaft last year, mine got much taller than the packet suggested so make the supports higher than you think they will need.

No problems with mice or slugs, I think I had one seed fail to show in an area a cat had been digging and I had to replant some of the seeds (not eaten just left on top). I had terrible cat troubles so ended up making chicken wire covers for my raised beds to protect things while they were small, whether that deterred mice or not I couldn't say, they could probably have dug under the beds.

I like firm sweetish garden type peas rather than marrowfat types and the hursts were perfect for me.

B&Q dead plants

Posted: 13/02/2014 at 16:49

Most of my plants come from Homebase, but I am quite picky about which of the reduced offerings I go for

I don't think I'd buy anything hidden in a box from there (or B&Q), but it's a good tip just in case I am in danger of doing it on a whim. I have picked up some of the boxes and read the labels - the planting dates were well past or way in the future so I left them...

Strangest thing I have come across is carrots - even if they will survive planting out surely there is an increased risk of attractng carrot root fly?

Daft really when there are some good garden centres not far away, but you go in for a packet of screws (because its saturday afternoon and the discount tool shop has closed already) and come out with plants too....

What's the best type of greenhouse

Posted: 11/02/2014 at 17:04

All this talk of drinking tea and listenting to the radio reminds me that my house has a conservatory which is carpeted as a sun room (I sometimes drink tea in it). It has dwarf walls, clear side glass (maybe polycarbonate) and tinted roof (I'm sure that is twin wall polycarbonate). Carpet aside, it likely to be useful for growing in or is the tinted roof going to be a problem?

I'm in Scotland so it's freezing in there now (even with the blinds drawn back) but it gets very hot in the summer.

There are certain issues, like where to move the stuff that is stored there - several kayaks and stuff out of the camper while I work on it, and the table for drinking tea at.... But it's not exactly being well utilised at present!

Raised Beds Cat Poop

Posted: 11/02/2014 at 16:25

I found last year that cats love to defecate in my raised bed, after searching all the forums it seemed that there were a couple of humane options for putting them off.

I tried scattering twigs (especially prickly ones) between the plants/rows because apparantly they don't like walking on twigs - I made pretty dense cover in the end and it seemed to work. Whilst it was empty I just covered it with chicken wire (I made little raised tops covered in chicken wire to protect my seedlings last year).

I'm building another bed now, soon ran out of space last year!

11 to 20 of 40

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