Latest posts by Bookertoo

Blasted squirrels!

Posted: 17/11/2012 at 14:01

As ever there is this myth around that squirrels don't like chiili - oh dear, I do so wish it were true!!  We have a batch of squirrels in our immediate area, who watch me when I plant bubs and are digging them up before the back door is closed - prickly cuttings from the pyracantha and holly hedges stuck in the ground or around the pots seem to help, nothing else does.   They are particularly fond of purple crocus bulbs, and yes, they can tell them from the other ones - they probably smell differently.

I soaked my caged 'squirrel proof' feedrs in chilli paste and oil, and put the powder in the feed,  they sniffed at or a day or two, then came back and licked and chewed it all off with signs of great pleasure.  The birds come and tell me now when the feeders are full of squirrels!!  I have managed with one where the holes seem too small for the adults, but this years young - told by their less bushy tails, so they look even more like rats than the older ones -  though of course that is all that they are, can get inside.  If the house door is open I can creep out and spray them with water as one does with cats, they're not too keen on that.   We have tried the above mentioned chillie, white pepper, garlic, soap amd just about everything else you can think of - and probably a few you haven't.  Stll they eat several pounds of seed feed a week.  i am reluctant to give up feeding the birds, but feeding the squirrels was never on the agenda.  

Pease do not tell me about squirrel proof feeders that slide over the food, they know all about those and how to evade them, they can climb under domes, go up and down the poles until the grease or oil is off then climb up or down and feed - I reallly don't want rats in the garden - if anyone has a new idea that actually works I'd be delighted to hear about it - but so far nothing we have been offered deters them for more than 24 hours.

 We have been fighting this battle for 15 years, and so far it is squirrels 15, us 0!!!!


Posted: 17/11/2012 at 13:46

Indeed, you can gorw anything in a pot, as long as a) the pot is large enough, and b) that you are willng and able to provide for all the plants needs. This means watering, feeding, pruning, insect removal where necessary, changing & topping up compost and so on.Some plants adapt to living in pots very well, others take a bit more persuasion. We have over 400 pots in our garden, with ] a range of plants from an oak tree, to little sempervivums.  Many of my spring bulbs have been planted in pots, thoough by no means all.  Fruits do well in pots, if you want to grow trees that are potentially very large, you can use a root bag to contain the roots, thus keeping it smaller thanf it would otherwise be. 

Pot growing is great fun, but does need alot of attention, thus we do not go on holiday from March till October, you cannot ask a neighbour to pop around and water your pots at these numbers!!  Go for it, but don't say you weren't warned when you get hooked!!

sambucca black lace

Posted: 14/11/2012 at 21:24

Yes indeed, it is autumn, just let it rest  - then  wait till spring and see those glorious young leaves arrive from the virtually black buds - stunning. 

Growing hyacinth in a glass vase help please

Posted: 14/11/2012 at 21:23

I usually grow these to flower in February or so, when the decorations have all gone, the days are dark and wet - then fresh hyacinths with their perfume just makes me realise how good life is and that Spring really will come!

Is it a plant or a weed

Posted: 14/11/2012 at 21:03

Any plant can be bith a weed and a delightful addition to your garden, depending whether you like it or not.  There are a couple of things in my garden that I know are considered weeds by my friends, but I like them, the bees like them, and I do my best to keep them under control - tis all a matter of what you want and where. 

Grafted tomato plants

Posted: 14/11/2012 at 20:59

I must say that when I tried them 2 years ago I was very underwhelmed.  I had 2 grafted and3ordinary plants, and all had about the same success - or failure -  for the price I found them quite disappointing.  I shall not bother with them again, but stick to the seed grown ones I have always used - I do not regard this year as anything typical anyway. 

Water butts

Posted: 10/11/2012 at 20:08

We have four water butts - 2 large ones from the house roof, and a smaller ones from both the shed and the greenhouse.  I would not be without them, makes life much better for the plants, and when we have the usual hosepipe ban, especially when it rains all summer, they are really so worth it.  It is worth looking about for recycling large plastic bins, the ones for fruit juices for example are really good - not all are 1,000 litres.  

I give up!

Posted: 10/11/2012 at 20:04

Lets be honest here, this year was the most awful one for growing veggies for many of us, your experience is not typical of most peoples experience in most years.  Lets just hope the commercial growers, who also had a dreadful year, don't give up as well, or we'll all have a pretty tough time this winter!!

It's always fun to grow veggies, it an be very hard work, and it certainly is not the cheap way to go - but oh, the taste and satisfaction of a plateful of food you produced yourself from seeds int he ground? Nothing, but nothing beats it!  Yes, there were indeed very few of those occasions this year - but the next year will be perfect for all crops.  Next year always is - go on give it a go, don't expect the world, keep it simple, and who knows - it might be a perfect year after all. 

Bulbs sprouting now??

Posted: 10/11/2012 at 19:57

This happens, they will slow and stop when the weather gets really cold - don't worry, they know what they are doing even if we are still learning!

Protecting container plants in Winter

Posted: 07/11/2012 at 20:10

We grow a huge number of things in pots, and find that it is far more the pot that you need to protect rather than the plants.  I had camellias in very large clay pots for several years untilt he very hard winter of a couple of winters ago - then lost them - well, it did get to -25 so not surprising really.

I don't use bubble wrap because it catches water between the bubbles and these hold water which then freezes,  Newpaper, hessian, fleece, old curtains - whatever is absorbent and warm for the few that really do need it.  Of the list erhat you gave,  I would say all are fine outdoors - if it gets to below -15 then a bit of fleece will protect the pots.  We have 65 hostas in pots, and although we have lost the odd pot, rarely a hosta.  Tulips I regard as annuals now, plant now, enjoy in spring then do it again in autumn - daffs last longer but eventually give up in pots. 

Clay pots will stand alot, but glazed ones will give up if there is any sort of crack in the glaze where water can get in & greeze = yjod eill then push the glaze off the pot. Plastic pots get bitterly cold, and I would rarely use them out of doors in the winter.  The new resin pots seem good, though I have not had a great deal of experience with them yet. 

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