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Green Magpie


Latest posts by Green Magpie

1 to 10 of 407

Planting out tomatoes

Posted: 17/05/2015 at 19:08

I planted my tomatoes out last Monday (11th May). I knew it was a bit early but they were over a foot tall and looking great (I live in south Devon). The forecast said nighttime temps would be about 9, which is just about Ok. Then on the late forecast he said there might be FROST!  So there I was at 10.30 pm, out there with a torch, throwing fleece over my plants, worried I would lose them all.

It didn't go down below 5, and my plants have been unprotected since Tuesday morning. I have to say they are looking very happy and green and healthy so far.

The same can not be said for the few French beans I put out at the same time. Big mistake. Luckily I have some more in the mini-greenhouse.

fruit question

Posted: 17/05/2015 at 10:07

This year I mulched the rasps with a pile of thatch and moss that my husband had raked out of the lawn. It seems to have worked well, as it was drier and less inclined to go soggy than grass cuttings. But some years they have done very well without mulching.

Repotting - a word to the wise

Posted: 13/05/2015 at 09:51

Oh, here's another tip for double-layer pots, or even pots in drip trays: before you fill the pot, place a layer of J- cloth or a scrap of horticultural fleece in the bottom of the pot, covering the holes. This helps exclude the creepy-crawlies, stops the pots making a mess, and still allows drainage.

Repotting - a word to the wise

Posted: 12/05/2015 at 19:50

Yes, I agree, any double-layer pot arrangement leaves a gap likely to be favoured by the enemy. You need to check and remove them from time to time or put in some slug pellets

Repotting - a word to the wise

Posted: 12/05/2015 at 16:59

I suppose if you do have a pot bellied container, you could line it with an ordinary plastic pot in the conventional shape.

Carrot bed

Posted: 11/05/2015 at 16:39

I've tried several varieties of carrot and to be honest they've all been pretty good. I think home grown carrots raised in good soil, not pumped full of water, and eaten fresh, are always much tastier than bought ones.   This year I am trying Tendersweet which are supposed to be very good for flavour. Autumn King can be a bit slow to sweeten up, so unless you particularly want a later crop I wouldn't recommend them.

weeping willow dead?

Posted: 10/05/2015 at 22:17

Even when they're not exactly dead, those willows can get quite ugly and clumsy and  lopsided. We got rid of one this winter and the garden looks much better without it.

Climber for a Pot

Posted: 10/05/2015 at 22:14

Clematis montana can get huge, and you may need to remove it from your balcony. A less vigorous clematis might be better. If you are near a Morrisons, they have a good choice at about £2 at the moment. Many are newish varieties from Eastern Europe and very good. Trouble is, they die back in the winter.

There are also annuals such as climbing nasturtiums and sweet peas that should do well in pots on a balcony.

Multi purpose vs seed compost for veg seeds

Posted: 10/05/2015 at 22:07

I think seed compost is supposed to have less nutrients, which is better for germinating seeds. But I have run out of seed compost and am about to sow some basil seeds (indoors) in multi-purpose. They will be in it for the entire life of the plants so I'm sure they'll do just as well as in seed compost.

Carrot bed

Posted: 10/05/2015 at 18:25

I grow good carrots in raised beds. Because the soil stays loose and doesn't get compacted, it suits carrots very well. The beds are only about 45cm deep  - the soil level being lower than this - and this is not high enough to keep off the carrot fly, although it's a good height for most purposes. 

So I use horticultural fleece. It's not pretty or convenient, but it works. You can use pegs to secure it, but I now find the best way is to lay a length of fleece across the bed,  allowing plenty of spare, and weigh it in place with bricks on the ground outside the bed. That way, as the plants grow, the fleece can be loosened off so that it doesn't squash the leaves. You might need a peg or two to secure it in the middle of the bed and stop the fly getting in the sides.

Fleece varies in quality and it's worth getting a strong quality that won't get torn apart by wind or rain.  Last year I had no carrot fly at all, although there's usually a bit of damage by the end of the season.

1 to 10 of 407

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