London (change)
Today 13°C / 8°C
Tomorrow 12°C / 9°C


Latest posts by chrissieB

71 to 79 of 79

Is there anything I can't compost?

Posted: 17/10/2012 at 17:24

Good point re the teabags although didn't realise it was plastic that made them linger! I always mash mine up a bit before they go in the bin and that seems to work.


Posted: 17/10/2012 at 17:22

Agree with blairs re possible problems/extra work keeping them in the greenhouse. If this is to give them  additional 'squirrel protection' you could try putting a layer of chicken wire just below the surface of the soil. You won't see it and the bulbs will happily grow through it but it should deter the squirrels - it did ours. They were also less keen to take them from pots anyway so good luck!

The bulbs from garden centres sitting on the surface of the soil have often being forced undercover and its cheaper for them (as less compost used). Bulbs have everything they need to grow in the bulb itself re food etc so don't need to be buried if they are grown indoors where the environment is controlled (eg right temperature, watering etc)


Is there anything I can't compost?

Posted: 17/10/2012 at 17:12

You can be as obsessive or relaxed as you wish and still end up with usable compost so don't worry too much about layering. My mum has composted since the 70's and laughs at all the detailed instructions given out on what you must and must not do now that it is fashionable.

You do need to have a mix of green (eg garden and kitchen waste) and brown (dry eg paper, cardboard, dry leaves etc) but don't get too worried about proportions or the size of layers - if you are putting stuff in on a daily basis as the result of cooking/gardening and reading the paper - the layers will probably be fairly even anyway. Just remember that it it goes slimy and smelly you need more brown. As you have said if you are planning to regularly turn is the layers will all get mixed up anyway.

Turning it will make it compost quicker but is not essential if you are happy (and have room to wait). The biggest factor in getting compost wuickly is the size of your heap/bin - 1m x1m  - is the minimum to have a 'hot' heap. If smaller and not turned you may have to wait 12 months before you have usable compost but it will keep reducing in size so there will be room for you to keep adding your kitchen waste. When I was working fulltime we just kept adding stuff to the bin and the only turn it got was the odd stir at the top and then when we emptied it once a year to get the fully composted stuff from the bottom.

You can compost any veg or fruit waste - bananas and citrus peel are great (it's worms in wormeries that don't like too much citrus). And yes add manure by all means but make sure its not too fresh (as that can get quite a time to become usable on your garden). A spadeful of garden soil can help add bacteria/worms etc especially if your compost bin is not sitting on the ground (eg on soil not a patio/drive).

The benefit of compost is not really the nutrients but the fact it adds organic matter to your soil which is essential if it is too have a good structure which retains nutrients and allows plants to obtain the nutrients and water it needs

which way up

Posted: 16/10/2012 at 15:44

Does the way the fibrous roots grow give any clues - they would normally grow downwards? sorry if seems an obvious thing to say

Other that that I don't suppose they would object if you planted them horizontally? it may be less risky than a 50:50 chance of being upside down as some plants really resent that.

Broad beans - Who attacks them

Posted: 16/10/2012 at 15:34

You don't need netting. You may get some taken by mice (I know they like peas) so you may want to plant a few extra just in case as replacements.

Main problem with broad beans is black fly on the new growth in early summer  - you can spray but good organic tip is to nip off the top soft growth once the beans have set (its this soft growth that attracts the flys). Also autumn planted beans are less susceptible as they are growing earlier in the season.

You might want to have some sort of fleece/cloche to protect them from frosts depending on how sheltered your plot is 

Plant closer together in containters or raised beds...

Posted: 16/10/2012 at 15:28

One of the main reasons is that you don;t need to allow any space for walking between rows for weeding, harvesting etc.

Most distances quoted in books and on seed packets allow for this. A lot of veg are quite happy to be planted closer anyway you may just get a smaller sized crop eg carrots, onions, beets etc

New Garden, need help to design

Posted: 11/10/2012 at 17:38

You can grow vegetables in a shady garden you just need to accept that you wont get bumper crops and some will do better than others. A general rule of thumb for veg and herbs is that leafy crops will do better than those that flower and fruit. So salads, spinach, chard, kale, cauliflowers (although these are tricky anywhere), brussel sprouts etc should be fine. You can grow beans but crops may not be as large as on a plant in the sun.

Mint, parsley, chives and lemon balm are all quite happy in the shade.



How to prevent damping off?

Posted: 04/10/2012 at 17:21

Damping off is caused by a fungus and good ventilation and hygiene are key to trying to prevent it. Also try to ensure that you are not sowing too thickly so that the seedlings are not overcrowded.

If you spot it again, remove the affected seedlings immediately to try and prevent it spreading.

Always wash your trays before re-using (whether you've had problems or not)



Talkback: The strange case of the wilting wisteria

Posted: 14/03/2012 at 15:03


Most wisterias are cultivars grafted onto a rootstock. One of the tutors on my RHS course advised me that these grafts can suddenly start to fail even on mature plants. As the graft fails you will start to see the symptoms many of you have described and suckers growing from the base are also a sign that the graft may be failing.

Unfortunately there isn't anything you can do to cure the problem. If you get fresh growth from the base of the plant this should grow healthily but remember it won't be the same variety as your original plant. It should be vigorous but may not have the same flowering properties (colour, scent etc).

71 to 79 of 79

Discussions started by chrissieB

Living Walls

Any advice/ideas on how to create one 
Replies: 12    Views: 829
Last Post: 01/10/2013 at 19:44

Protecting broad beans?

Advice please 
Replies: 10    Views: 912
Last Post: 26/11/2012 at 16:20
2 threads returned