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Charlie November

Latest posts by Charlie November


Posted: 10/09/2013 at 13:06

This autumn's big plan: extend the existing flowerbed.

I worked out on paper how to lay out all the bulbs I'd ordered, and I dug a trench more than large enough:

 You can see that I carefully built up a turf wall to protect the apple trees that I'm using to plug the gap in the hedge there where all the privet died.

Having dug that, I lined it with compost, tipped the bulbs out of the box and sorted them:

 Then it was simply a matter of putting them in place ... which was going fairly well until I got to the grape hyacinths, with anemones, glory of the snow and crocuses still to place:

 Hrrrrrmmm ... oops?

Well, maybe I'll dig all the way along a little wider and put some of those 200 of the same thing along the front edge of the existing bed, to keep the front straight. It'll mean the tiny crocuses aren't at the front, but they tend to come up on their own anyway.

Sure. That'll work. No problem. Just let me get a cup of tea and my spade and I'll have that half tonne of turf shifted and some more compost laid in there in time for tea. No problem.



Posted: 08/09/2013 at 22:53

Caterpillar tracks was the first thing that crossed my mind, but they tear the place up when you turn, because they're dragged sideways. I'd actually think your best bet would be something like this for a chassis ... ah ... scaled down, obviously. It steers with and drives all 8 wheels.

Other things that might help: feet sprang to mind, as in hydraulic arms that swing out and put down feet to stabilise the thing, but then I thought that people with mobility problems wouldn't be leaning over all that far anyway so it probably doesn't need them unless you're going to build a 1/5-scale JCB digger arm on it. What might be very useful is a tool rack, or rather a set of tool racks for different sizes of tools. I'd suggest checking out some gardeners' tool collections and then building racks to hold those.

A frame on which a spade can be pivoted could also be a good idea.

Oh, yes. Buckets. Taking cuttings requires a rack for the plant pots, a bucket of water and a supply of compost. Something that can hold a sack of compost may be a good idea, preferably with a lid so it only has to be put in once.

The tricky part there is that a gardener won't want to be taking that sack of compost with them the whole time. Ideally, this thing would have a garage in which it was parked, with all its add-ons parked in their spots around the sides, and one could drive up to the compost box add-on, connect it to the vehicle, fold up its feet and drive off with it, use it, drive back in, fold its feet back down, disconnect it and drive off without it.



Posted: 08/09/2013 at 22:42

Don't dump the poo over the fence. Take it round and hand it back to the owner. Smile sweetly while you do so.

Get it off your chest

Posted: 08/09/2013 at 17:20
tea drinker wrote (see)

lol waterbutts in my teens i met a lad who worked in a garage he had a motorbike  arranged a date he duly turned up my mum  was standing by the window then said oh my god hells angels have descended into the road  oh no hes coming here i said its ok its clive hes taking me out she opened the front door pointed to the bike and said loud enough for the neighbours to hear "my daughter is NOT going on that " before i could stop him  he said well i gave her a lift home yesterday  "realy well shes not going on it today or any other " he had to wheel it round the back and we had to walk where we were going he was told not to bring me home late and she told him that iffshe saw so much a black hand print on my underwear he would be wearing the bike 

i thought there goes that date but you know he thought she was hilariouse and the next time he came round he bought her a ton of cigarettes certainly won her round  lol

love tea and son and grumpy xxxx

So, er, she smokes a lot but won't have motorbikes around? 


Someone mentioned Boots. Boots sort of bothers me. There's just something about having to tunnel through the tampons and pregnancy tests to find the "active adult" vitamins. I've seen the adverts. You know the ones. "Are you one of those girls for whom time stands still once a month?" I know those things are advertised as allowing us to go on with our active lives. It's just a little odd for a single man to be digging through them for the vitamins.

Then I got to the end of the aisle. "Custom Baby Order Point." Stop. Stare. Think. Shake head. Stare. Finally work it out. Start giggling.

Wouldn't that be awesomely handy, though? "I'll have a 7lb 2oz, girl with straight, dark hair, pale skin that tans rather than burning, no hereditary diseases, green eyes, dimples, Vietnamese cheekbones and nose, Norse physique and ... natural singing talent's a bit expensive but she'll get a lot of pleasure out of it. Let's add that. Due date ... oh, why wait? Is October 5th available? That'll do nicely.

Neighbour has sprayed pesticide on my vegetable patch

Posted: 08/09/2013 at 13:26
Monkey in the garden wrote (see)

... does anyone know what are the strongest weedkillers you can buy and how long do you have to wait before you can plant any vegetables again?

Agent Orange, and at least 500 years.

Neighbour has sprayed pesticide on my vegetable patch

Posted: 08/09/2013 at 13:24

Document what plants you have or had in there at the time.

Yes, definitely need more info, especially WHAT was sprayed. Him refusing to tell you makes it sound Dodgy As Hell (TM). You could assume it's dangerous. You probably SHOULD assume it's dangerous and illegal because it's dangerous and he won't tell you because it's illegal. That would mean someone would have to come round with rubber gloves and boots (to be discarded afterwards and replaced) and dig it all out to maybe 9 inches deep. I charge £15 / hr including driving time plus 20p / mile. Then you'd have to get lots of that environment-friendly peat-free compost Because it's ORGANIC, you TWIT. It'll COST more! with which to refill the bed, then you'd have to replace all your plants. Then you can send him copies of all the receipts for that and an invoice for the total, and if he doesn't pay up tack on £15 an hour for yourself and sue him for it.

I'm happy to see the rain because ...

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 15:59
Heather Michaels wrote (see)

 Rain dances anyone?!  

Putting the bedding out on the line usually works for me. If I want sunshine, I take it back in. 

Horrible garage roofs

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 15:57

That first garage roof is sagging already. I just copied your photograph into GIMP and drew a straight line along its ridge, and there's a gap under the line, as big as the ridge structure where it's in line with the garage door.

If you do rebuild that roof, you could put a solid roof there and put a trellis over it, but I suspect the supports for the trellis would be ingress points for rainwater. An alternative would be posts mounted on the end wall to support wires stretched to the barn wall, but then you're putting a lot of force on the posts and bolts, increasing as plants on the wires get heavier. Also, you'd be waiting a while for plants to grow from ground level to the wall top and then along the trellis to its peak, and I reckon most climbers would find their way under a tile somewhere eventually and up behind the barge boards almost immediately.

I'm not sure how the succulent roof was done, but I assume it could be achieved by putting wooden rails around the outside of the roof, leaving slots for drainage, and placing potted plants on the roof. As long as it's not delicate and they can't slide around, they shouldn't make holes in it.

A variation of that would be a stepped planter. You could have a series of low walls along the roof, filled with soil between them to make beds, and leave a couple of spaces to walk up there to check on them, feed them or whatever. Bury a perforated hose or length of 50mm drainpipe in each one with an open end by the steps so you can just pour diluted feed into it and reasonably expect it to be spread along the full length. Two down-sides: one is that it's one heck of an engineering project, to the extent that I'd want to get the walls' max load checked before I put that much stuff on them, and the other is that when it needs replacing it'll be another huge project (and a real mess if it comes down on a car because you put it off too long).

For a lightweight option, replace the existing roof with big 4mm acrylic sheets and seal the edges with gutter sealant. It'll save you using electric lights in the garage during the day. You may need to get slightly clever with the woodwork underneath them to get the overlaps rights, but it's not that big a deal. I was going to do that for a covered washing line here, but the company went for exposed rotary ones instead.

Talkback: Seeds - how to collect allium seeds

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 11:55

tucker2010: seems to be the machine for the job, but I found that via instructables and the write-up says you have to have black oil sunflower seeds not the munchy kind, so grow from bird food (25kg for £42, 2.25kg for £6.25), not from a tiny packet from the health food shop (500g for £3.19).

The manufacturer's website says minimum 25% oil and this page says that includes striped sunflower seeds ... barely ... as well as black sunflower seeds and also peanut, safflower and nyjer.

Get it off your chest

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 11:34

Oh, ye gods, BT?

Yeah, maybe I should ask my father to post his saga.

For now, I shall provide this link to a newspaper column:

Discussions started by Charlie November

Holy glyphosate, Batman! What's that?

Huge thing with tiny white flowers and heart-shaped leaves 
Replies: 16    Views: 622
Last Post: 24/06/2014 at 16:52

Rose cuttings: timing

Replies: 7    Views: 427
Last Post: 31/03/2014 at 17:26

When is honey fungus not honey fungus?

At least I didn't spend anything. 
Replies: 18    Views: 1704
Last Post: 26/10/2013 at 16:46

Apple tree with white leaves

It seems to be healthy enough, if slow-growing 
Replies: 2    Views: 369
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 18:34


Not a lily. Not an apple tree. 
Replies: 6    Views: 538
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 22:29


Planning? Measuring? Me? 
Replies: 17    Views: 934
Last Post: 07/05/2014 at 16:57

Leaving tulips in the ground

Can they be left in if the drainage is good? 
Replies: 14    Views: 2330
Last Post: 13/05/2013 at 08:09
7 threads returned