London (change)
Today 18°C / 11°C
Tomorrow 18°C / 9°C

Charlie November

Latest posts by Charlie November

Useless ideas and inventions

Posted: 15/01/2015 at 22:19

Utterly useless inventions?

Radio 1.


It's not for cleaning mushrooms, and it's not useless but there is a little brush I want.

From Nature: Writing in this week's Nature1, the Caltech team shows that, in mice, a particular type of neuron, identified by molecular markers, responds specifically to stroking. The researchers used a custom-designed brush to pinch, poke or stroke mice on their hind limbs, as seen in the video above, and identified the responding neurons by imaging spots of fluorescence that represent the increase in calcium that occurs when a neuron fires. Another type was identified that was activated by the uncomfortable pinch stimulus but not by stroking.

I want a custom-designed brush for pleasurably stroking the back legs of mice. I would carry it around, so that people would ask me what it was for and I could tell them it was for pleasurably stroking the back legs of mice.

Room 101

Posted: 15/01/2015 at 19:35

Why can they send  a man to the moon yet not manage a cure for the common cold.


Room 101

Posted: 14/01/2015 at 18:36

Ramesh Tawadkar

Can anyone recommend a good quality cold frame...

Posted: 14/01/2015 at 18:35

For a "simple" job that description sure got long, eh? Still, I don't think screwing a sheet of plastic to four bits of wood is all that hard!

I had a thought about this today: does a cold frame have to have opaque sides? If you're alright with having windows for sides, the angled tops of the end walls cease to be an issue. You can just make the whole thing out of acrylic sheet, with wood at the corners. You could even make it "double glazed," although it'd be bound to fog up.

what would you do

Posted: 12/01/2015 at 17:28

Pub? Oh dear. You'll want some thickness between you and that, then.

Compost heap, hedgehog home, insect homes and maybe bird boxes along the back wall. It's a little low for bird boxes but you can put some berberis or pyracantha under it to deter cats and shoot every grey squirrel you see. Also a heap of sticks for the wrens and a patch of nettles for peacock butterflies. Trust me on this: it's great to have a designated place for a heap of small sticks. It save you coming up with anything else to do with all the small sticks.

In front of that, and down both sides of the garden, "architectural" and just dense plants up to 8' high so you get privacy from the pub and from both sides. Buddleia might make a good choice.

Three quarters of the way along, your quiet space in the garden. Grass, bark chippings, gravel or paving, your choice. Seating. Barbecue stand if you're into permanent barbecue facilities.

North of that, between it and the house, the pond. This way round, it gets plenty of sunlight. Have paths both sides of the pond, and pretty plants north of it and along both paths.

Your greenhouse can be conservatory-style against the house or even a conservatory. It's like a greenhouse, but without the air gap where house and greenhouse both lose heat into the wind. Other than that, paving in front of the house, with a little table and a few chairs, at least big enough for a bottle of wine, four glasses and a plate of nibbles.

Problem bamboo

Posted: 11/01/2015 at 19:06

I've seen a glyphosate product that claims to work on the freshly cut stump of a tree. Can't say it did, but I've seen it claim to.

Normally, glyphosate is sprayed or wiped onto green leaves. Mix as per instructions, apply very little (if it's dripping off, you're wasting it and killing the other plants below) and leave it to dry. If it rains, you'll have to try again. If you're after an invader that's right next to a plant you really want to keep, protect your desired plant with an upturned bucket, an upturned water butt, a decapitated 2l drink bottle or whatever else you can put over it, then wrap the target plant in kitchen roll, soak that in weedkiller, put a plastic bag over it and tape it into place, so the weedkiller is held against the target and can't go anywhere else. Wash your hands twice before you remove the protective bucket.

Something to know in advance: glyphosate is systemic, meaning you apply it to the leaves of "this shoot over here" and it goes down into the roots and kills the whole plant. This is great if you want to take out the bindweed, because you only have to unwind one vine from your hedge and poison that and it'll get the whole colony, but it does mean you could target a plant in your garden and find out a month later than you've killed the parent plant next door.

Plead ignorance!

Help! Weeds, weeds and more weeds!

Posted: 11/01/2015 at 18:53

Edd, I'd never heard of that. I wonder how much you need and how deep into the soil it is effective.

Help! Weeds, weeds and more weeds!

Posted: 11/01/2015 at 18:52

Ugh. Thanks for reminding me that I need to spend a day out in the garden, on my knees, ripping out grass by the handful ... again. It's like pruning the hedge. By the time I finish the length of it, where I started could do with another going over.

Ripping it out works for grass and ground ivy. It doesn't do so well on ground elder. That stuff ... argh, you know? Creeping buttercup seems to have eventually given in to me ripping out as much as I could for a week, painting the next several stems I saw with glyphosate, giving it a week to soak in, ripping out every bit I saw for the next week, painting the next several stems I saw with glyphosate, giving it a week to soak in ...

Brambles? Not really an issue here. I can always just chop 'em back. They're kind of fragile compared to some other plants.

A small sprayer, a topped-and-tailed 2l drink bottle and a short piece of 50mm plastic drainpipe can add up to a good kill kit, too. Mark the sprayer with permanent marker on duct tape as being for weedkiller only, then mix your spray in that per instructions on the packet. Put the plastic tube of appropriate size over the target weed, put the nozzle down into it and spray the weed. Leave the tube in place until the spray has dried. If it looks like rain, put a carrier bag over it. Obviously, this works on still days but not so well in gales. You can target as many plants per day as you can tube.

If you're going with the idea above of moving the plants to another bed for a while, kill everything in that area with glyphosate first, then dig it up and move them, then kill everything you didn't move.

Allotment - glysophate?

Posted: 11/01/2015 at 18:40

I've used glyphosate on bindweed, very successfully. I poured some into an old "mixed nuts" jar, put that on a plastic bag and stuffed the ends of the bindweed vines into it. Once they've had an hour or two, they can come out and be laid on the bag (so they won't cross-contaminate anything else) and once they've dried, they're dead. It can be a little disconcerting that they look so healthy for several days afterwards, but the whole plant will turn pale yellow, shrivel up and die.

He one that's so far seemed to defy my herbicidal battering is ground ivy. I'm thinking of taking a pan scourer to it to remove the waxy surface before I try that again.

Daddy long legs larvae

Posted: 11/01/2015 at 18:36

I was going to suggest investing in a flock of rooks, which are really keen on eating leatherjackets. As Buttercupdays says, they're just aerating the lawn, not damaging it.

Discussions started by Charlie November

3-part hedge

This is what you get for neglecting it for 20 years! 
Replies: 8    Views: 330
Last Post: 04/04/2015 at 22:42

Most embarassing failure of the weekend

Replies: 10    Views: 705
Last Post: 09/04/2015 at 19:59

An octopus's garden in the shade

No octopodes, but lots of shade 
Replies: 8    Views: 532
Last Post: 01/05/2015 at 17:05

Holy glyphosate, Batman! What's that?

Huge thing with tiny white flowers and heart-shaped leaves 
Replies: 16    Views: 738
Last Post: 24/06/2014 at 16:52

Rose cuttings: timing

Replies: 8    Views: 644
Last Post: 22/03/2015 at 14:30

When is honey fungus not honey fungus?

At least I didn't spend anything. 
Replies: 18    Views: 1995
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: 464
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 18:34


Not a lily. Not an apple tree. 
Replies: 6    Views: 643
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 22:29


Planning? Measuring? Me? 
Replies: 26    Views: 1540
Last Post: 01/04/2015 at 19:53

Leaving tulips in the ground

Can they be left in if the drainage is good? 
Replies: 14    Views: 3282
Last Post: 13/05/2013 at 08:09
10 threads returned