Latest posts by Gold1locks

Sprouting Dahlia Tubers

Posted: 11/04/2013 at 13:56

You will only get side shoots from a stem if the stem has formed a leaf node, as that's where the side shoots develop. I thought that you only got one shoot per eye but I might be wrong. 

Identification of Tree!!

Posted: 11/04/2013 at 13:46

Looks a bit  like a flowering cherry. t would help if you could post a picture of the trunk bark, and of a fully opened leaf when they open out. 

GardenIng jokes

Posted: 11/04/2013 at 12:53

A man went into his local shop and asked the sales assistant “Do you sell potato clocks”? 

“Potato clocks sir? I’m not sure what you mean,” replied the sales assistant. 

“Well” came the explanation 

“I’m always late for work, and my boss said I would get there before nine if I got a potato clock. 

What does rotivation do?

Posted: 11/04/2013 at 11:25

One other benefit of rotavation is to improve soil 'conditioning'. Heavy clay soils are rich in nutrients, but the fine particles stick together (a complex process involving chemical ions that I don't fully understand), which makes the soil claggy and saturated in winter (plant roots hate this) and it dries out like concrete in summer, with cracks that allow moisture to run through into the sub-soil so the upper leyer dries out. And walking on this type of soil compacts it much more readily than sandy or loamy soil. So plants are more likely to drown in winter and die of thirst in summer, despite all those nutrients. And planting is harder work, and in summer the garden hoe just skims off the surface.

 Digging and turning  the soil so it becomes 'friable' - i.e. small particles - helps aerate the soil. If organic matter such as manure or garden compost,  or lime or gypsum are added at this stage, they have special properties that reduce the ionic effect that attract the fine soil particles to one another, so that the soil behaves a lot better in retaining moisture without going 'claggy'.

Digging heavy clay soil is hard work at any time of the year, but a rotavator makes light work of it. And if you chuck your conditioning material onto the soil while rotavating, it becomes permanently improved. 


Posted: 10/04/2013 at 18:18

I don't think they will survive just on gravel with no access to nourishment. They do well in gritty compost in shallow pots with gravel on top and survive well in drought conditions, but they do need somewhere for their roots to dip into.

My OH calls them semperviviums too (there's no second 'i' ) and I tease her about it, but she is mad keen on them, so keen we went to Devon on holiday last year just so she could call in on the National Collection holder (and visit Rosemoor!). She can't bear to let 'babies' go, and keeps finding homes for them. they survived a really cold winter, even some that were planted in a heavy clay border. 

japanese knot weed

Posted: 10/04/2013 at 10:24

sam is right - don't dig it, treat with strong glyphosate. The best way is to cut into each leaf stem and pour some glyphosate into the hollow tubular stem, as well as treating the leaves.

At a school where I used to teach a new carpark was laid and 6 months later knotweed had workrd its way under an 8 ft tall brick wall and lifted the tarmac. No one had realised that the land the other side was infested with the stuff. 

Coffee Grounds

Posted: 10/04/2013 at 10:18

A US reseach study says that coffeee grounds are good as a soil conditioner but do not act as a fertiliser. A bit like adding sharp sand, gypsum, grit etc., stopping the soil from clagging up, improving drainage etc.. However, coffee grounds arw acidic, so are best used lightly. I compost mine.

I would not use coffee grounds on seedlings. Seed compost has practically no fertilizer as it can scorch tiny seedlings, as can acidic grounds.  In fact, you can grow seedlings well in perlite or vermiculite, which are totally inert. the seed capsule has all the nutreients needed until the seedling is ready to prick out at the first true leaf stage. 

Taking up turf by hand

Posted: 10/04/2013 at 10:08

This is one. My best value tool by far. 

I bought mine years ago on a market stall for around £12 - you can pay a lot more in a garden centre so look around. You need a heavy one, about the same weight as a pickaxe. You can get ones a lot lighter but they aren't any good for this sort of job. I use mine a lot. Great for digging holes to plant stuff if the soil is tough and it is difficult to get through with a spade or fork. It is great for digging out shrub / trees where the roots are hard to sever. Yesterday I dug a 20 ft trench in my garden preparing for a beech hedge. After I had removed the turf I found the soil underneath was heavy clay down to 12" and then lumps of limestone. I used the mattock to break away clumps at a time and then turned the head round when i needed to break up bits of rock.  Once I had lifted out the rocky bits I ran a Mantis Tiller rotavator through it to mix in garden compost. (My tiller is my second favourite garden possession. It is light, manoeuverable, and has saved me a lot of back breaking digging. It started first time yesterday, 8 months after I last used it.) 

Heating a greenhouse

Posted: 09/04/2013 at 21:07

The black stuff is carbon, whiich, in very small quantities isn't likely to be harmful. Nor is the smell going to harm the plants. Burning paraffin produces carbon dioxide and water. The carbon dioxide is good for plant photosynthesis, but the water can lead to condensation on the plants, which can lead to a problem with moulds, especially in winter. Give the plants good ventilation when possible. 

Greenhouse base...securing to sleepers?

Posted: 09/04/2013 at 19:51

I erected an 18 ft long greenhouse secured to sleepers, and it worked a treat. The garden was quite exposed but in 15 years it never moved. The sleepers were very heavy, anc combined with the weight of the greenhouse it was very solid (and easier for me to bolt the greenhouse to sleepers than to concrete. 

the main reason for opting for sleepers was that I was not confident I could get a concrete base absolutely level all the way round. i was worrried that the frame mighte nd up being distorted and the glass hard to fit. With the sleepers I was able to pack the underneath with sharp sand and make fine adjustments befire erecting the frame. Itw as also a lot less effort than digging a trench and mixing lots of cement. 

Discussions started by Gold1locks


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Very slow response time 
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Who else loves the humble sempervivum

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BBC Gardening Arrivals - Meeting Point

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