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Latest posts by Dovefromabove

Hedgehogs near extinction

Posted: 11/11/2012 at 06:39

I think that you may be right, or that the first litters may have perished early on so they had another 'first' litter, meaning that the following 'second' litter came along much later than usual.

The big problem with the banana chips is that they're so tasty I dip into the bag as well and they're very calorific!  And as they're so sweet I worry about the hoggies' teeth, but I added them to the mix during the autumn to add to the calories to make sure they all fattened up nicely (I'd be really good at hibernating ).

Talkback: Hedgehog spotting

Posted: 11/11/2012 at 06:31

Make sure they can find their way in to your garden - we have cut archways (we call them hedgehog gates) in the bottom of our garden fences so that the hoggies can wander from garden to garden.   As well as putting food out a bowl of fresh water is essential as they get very thirsty (that's why they try to drink from garden ponds, often with sad results).


Filling a raised bed

Posted: 11/11/2012 at 06:23

Whoops, I've not quite made it clear - some purchased compost is soil-based (described as loam-based compost on the bags) and is used for potting.

Some purchased compost is peat based and can be used for potting or can be added to a bed as a conditioner.

Some purchased compost is peat-free but still not soil-based (made from composted materials with nutrients and other stuff added) and can be used in the same way as the peat-based.

You could make potting compost as the old gardeners did, by combining the compost from your bin with a combination of good quality loam, grit, perlite, in appropriate proportions and adding nutrients such as blood, fish and bone or one of the range of John Innes fertilisers, but your compost would have to be really good and you'd then need to sieve it, and you'd have to have access to good quality loam - nowadays it's easier to buy your compost in bags from the garden centre.

Filling a raised bed

Posted: 10/11/2012 at 20:42

Compost from your compost heap is a soil conditioner.  I use it to dig into beds to improve the structure of the soil, make it more moisture retentive and add nutrients, and mulching with compost has the same effect.   I dig manure in to do the same (slightly different nutrients, depending on the make up of the compost/manure).

Use potting compost to put in pots.  There's soil (loam)-based potting compost, usually described as John Innes Nos 1, 2 and 3 (and seed and cutting composts).  The JI refers to to the level of nutrients, 1 for pricking out seedlings and cuttings, 2 for potting on and 3 for established plants that are going to be in the pot long term.  Then there's peat-based composts and peat-free composts for pots and tubs etc.  Some good, some awful, some so-so.

I would always use loam-based ones if I could afford to.  I use loam-based seed and cutting compost and JI No 3 for potting up large plants into pots (my fig and my apricot will go into No. 3).  Apart from anything else, the added weight stops plants in pots becoming top-heavy. But for potting up my toms, pots of bedding plants etc I use 'compost' - this year I used Levington - I'd rather not use peat-based but the peat;free I tried this year was full of rubbish.

All bagged composts have fertiliser in them, and don't usually need additional fertiliser for the first couple of months after potting.

Raised beds are more or less permanent and will have plants growing in them year after year, so a mixture of topsoil and good manure is more like a permanent flower/veg bed and produces the best results.

When planting a plant or shrub out into a flower bed you are sometimes advised to dig in some compost or add some to the soil around the plant.  For this I use compost from my bin if I have some, but if not some potting compost from a bag is fine.

And then of course there's specialist composts, ericaceous for lime-hating plants, cacti compost for cacti etc, etc 

Buddleia pruning?

Posted: 10/11/2012 at 17:40

I chop them back this time of year to prevent windrock, then prune properly in the spring (thinning out, removing weak and crossing stems etc).  As Jean says, they're pretty indestructible. 

Bulbs sprouting now??

Posted: 10/11/2012 at 17:37

They'll be fine 

Bluebells often send up some leaves early, as do daffs and some of the little bulbs like grape hyacinths.  

Don't worry about them but make sure you've got a camera ready so you can put some pics on here in the spring 

What's so good about fruit trees?

Posted: 10/11/2012 at 17:25

There's some information here about growing peaches

the biggest difficulty is that because they flower very early they need to be protected from frost over the winter and spring so pot grown peaches need to be moved into a conservatory or greenhouse then. 

Making a cold frame and where to buy a manger.

Posted: 10/11/2012 at 17:15

The chap in the video mentions that he's also done one on perspex  coldframes.

autumn colour

Posted: 10/11/2012 at 17:01

I think what I've noticed most about the colours this autumn is how really good the yellows are - I think they've been stronger than in recent years. 

Hedgehogs near extinction

Posted: 10/11/2012 at 15:56

Hi, yes I thought that might be the reason - the leaves are very wet overnight.

We bought a rather posh Chapelwood hog house, which I think may be being used, as I've seen a hedgehog looking out of there, and there are definitely leaves being taken in there.  

The one I made was out of a sturdy fruit box, with a covering of polythene stapled to it (with an air vent) and I put some fresh pet hay in there and put it facing into a sheltered corner  which makes a little sort of tunnel to the opening.  I've heaped the  old sweetcorn stalks from the garden over it to add to insulation, and in front of it is quite a large potted hydrangea, for more protection - I put some banana chips in the entrance and the hedgehogs found it straight away and seemed to approve   I think it's quite cosy - I'd like it if I were a hedgehog 

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