Green Magpie


Latest posts by Green Magpie

Everlasting Spinach....( And Chard )

Posted: 04/11/2013 at 16:30

If it's what is usually known as Perpetual Spinach (aka Spinach Beet) it's not everlasting. All that "perpetual" means is that you can grow it virtually all year ,as it's very hardy and won't go to seed as easily as the more delicate summer spinach. Chard behaves in much the same way.

You should sow fresh seeds each spring, and then at intervals through to late summer (if you want). The crops should keep going all winter on a cut-and-come-again basis. Eventually they do start to shoot up and get tough and leggy, but by this time your new crops will probably be just about ready.

A good crops for anyone with pet rabbits or guinea pigs, by the way! But also a useful standby for humans.

Leaf Mould!

Posted: 03/11/2013 at 17:51

Quite a lot of leaves in our garden do end up getting stuck in the corners, underneath bushes, etc, but we still gather up most of them for composting.

I think that if you try to use them as mulch, they'll blow around and end up in useles heaps in the corners, by walls etc, or littering your lawns and paths. I suppose this does little harm, but it may provide a cosy retreat for slugs and snails, and sometimes it may smother little plantlets or seedlings that are struggling to reach the light.

You can put them all in with the other compost, but if there are substantial layers of leaves, they may not break down as fast as the rest, and this may delay the time when the compost is ready to use. We keeps ours separate, so that if the leaf mould isn't ready but the compost is, we can use the compost and cover up the leaves for a while longer.

Leaf Mould!

Posted: 03/11/2013 at 14:55

Hope it lived up to expectations - if not, just close the bag again and leave it a while longer, maybe even another year. If it seems dry, add some water because leaf mould needs to be kept damp. Apart from that it's just a matter of time and patience.

large/gigantic flower pots

Posted: 03/11/2013 at 14:49

I have a feeling Monty said he'd picked up those pots in some bargain clearance or garage sale or something, and I remember thinking, "Wow, he was lucky!". The nearest I've found to that sort of bargain was in a closing-down sale at a GC, but the pots I got were not nearly as big as that.

Look out for garden or garage sales, maybe car boot sales, because stuff like that can turn up in house clearances etc. But if you're looking for them new, it'll cost you!

Preserving, What do you do or planning to do.

Posted: 29/10/2013 at 19:07

Sungold are my favourites too. They are simply wonderful straight from the plant - I couldn't walk past without picking one..

Compost Bins & Lovely Rats

Posted: 29/10/2013 at 18:56

We had to call in the Rat Man from the council this year. He said rats will eat anything, even each other, so there's not much you can do to deter them. I could see they'd been having a go at a banana skin, for one thing - you'd need to exclude all food and vegetable waste, not just cooked stuff. I mean, they're not going to sit there saying, "Ugh, raw carrot, I can't eat that!"

We agreed to let him put in poison, which did the trick.

Today we unpacked to compost heap and to our relief there were no dead rats or bones or any sign of them.

Preserving, What do you do or planning to do.

Posted: 29/10/2013 at 18:51

Yum. this is making me hungry.

One thing I did last year and was glad I did - I prepared a bag of mixed vegetables, all chopped ready for soups (I make a lot of soups). I used carrots, leeks, beans, peas, and courgette (they don't help much but you have to use them somehow!) and then I could make a soup at short notice without hunting around for vegetables. So I've done it again.

I've also oven-dried sliced tomatoes (with a little olive oil, bay and salt) and frozen them in cartons.

Raised Veg beds design & construction

Posted: 28/10/2013 at 12:06

My beds are about a foot deep and that seems plenty. They're on a soil base. The optimum width is from about 1.2 to 1.5 metres - anything wider and you won't be able to reach across to tend them.

Brassicas are the one thing I have trouble with, as the soil is too loose (that and the endless pests that brassicas are prey to). Eyerything else does well - carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, courgettes, peas, beans, salads, fruit canes, asparagus ...

Figs

Posted: 28/10/2013 at 12:01

Once the leaves have fallen, it's best to pick off the remaining figs and compost them - I don't think they're good for anything else. Leave any smaller than your thumbnail and get rid of the rest.

Quince Tree

Posted: 24/10/2013 at 10:08

Yes, ours is Vranja. I think if you wanted to grow one in a pot you'd need a more compact variety, as Vranja is quite vigorous.

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