London (change)
Today 13°C / 10°C
Tomorrow 12°C / 11°C

Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie


Posted: 16/01/2015 at 23:14

If potatoes  are exposed to frost, this can turn the starch to sugars and make them taste sweet . It may be nothing to do with the variety, could be just a faulty batch.

planting stuff at the wrong time

Posted: 16/01/2015 at 17:28

We keep hearing about how kids are out of touch with the rhythm of the seasons, so they need to learn that Spring, not winter, is the time when seeds germinate. But they could be doing what I like to do at this time of year: making a plan of the plot and deciding what to grow, choosing and ordering seeds, perhaps preparing the soil by adding some compost and clearing weeds, etc. Then by March they could begin the seed sowing once the soil begins to warm up and the days lengthen. Onion sets or shallots are easy and can go in quite early (but not yet!)

The children will only get discouraged if they sow seeds at the wrong time (which may not even be possible if the ground is frozen). Peas and beans would probably just rot, and it's really too late for garlic. I wouldn't even move strawberry runners at the moment. Somebody somewhere needs to learn a little about horticulture before attempting to start a garden in January!

Weighing fruit and veg harvest

Posted: 14/01/2015 at 22:26

I often take photos of my best veg (and also my biggest mistakes).  I have recently taken up painting, and did a nice "still life" of some beautiful Hooligan squash I grew.  Some people in our local art group paint dogs, or trains, or boats, so I think I may make vegetable subjects my speciality, although I  can't see many people wanting to commision a portrait of their potatoes or carrots. But it makes sense to paint something you care about, and I love my veg!

So for me it's about quality and beauty rather than quantity.

Has anyone successfully stopped a planning application before?

Posted: 31/12/2014 at 15:47

TPOs and LIsted Buildings are not things the council will overlook - they will knwo about them (they probably initiated them in the first place) and they have to take them into account. Developers can usually plan the development to work around features such as this and incorporate them into the development, so they wouldnt necessarily prevent the permission being granted.

As someone has pointed out, there is a presumption in favour of development, and the fact that lot of local people don't like it is not in iteslf enough enough to prevent it. People almost always oppose new housing developments close to where they live, but there is an urgent need for more housing, so councils need valid "plannng reasons" if they are to reject an application. Otherwise it will just get taken to appeal and the Government inspector will overrule the Council.

The Council will have a Local Development Plan covering the coming years, and if this land is earmarked for housing on this plan, it's likely to go ahead in some form. I don't think the Parish Council can prevent it - as far as I know their role is just advisory.

It is still worth getting involved, though - in a similar case in our village, local people had some input into the final design and density of a housing development, and to the provision of footpaths, car parking, play areas, etc, as well as to the preservation of natural features and protection for wildlife. You may not be able to prevent it entirely, but you could still make a difference.


Coffee Grindings

Posted: 30/12/2014 at 21:57

I think coffee grounds are on the acidic side, so would be good for mulching acid-loving/ ericaceous plants.

Waterproof Garden Shoes

Posted: 22/12/2014 at 13:17

Good idea! My favourite garden shoes are just like wellies that have been cut down, so cutting down old wellies should work well. 

Family traits

Posted: 14/12/2014 at 22:13

The flip side of this is when you see your adult children turning into you....

Kindle e readers

Posted: 10/12/2014 at 20:48

I have a Kindle Fire HDX and love it. It's great for browsing the web as well as for reading books. I like the backlit screen and adjustable font size, which make it easy to read in poor light (but not great  in bright sunlight). I use it a lot and need to charge it every day or two. OH is quite envious, as our desktop computer is so slow, so he's getting a Kindle Fire for Christmas! The desktop PC will still be used for writing and storing documents etc.

Bluebells as a table centrepiece

Posted: 08/11/2014 at 23:26

In most years, bluebells will be over by late May. Forget-me-nots, too, are getting a bit leggy and messy by this date. Also,  I find the Spanish bluebells make me wheeze - I can't stay in a room with them, and I think it likely that others would be similarly affected.

Our daughter got married at the end of May this year and wanted blue flowers or plants. Blue is a difficult colour to find, but we managed it: early in the spring I bought trays  of lobelia plug plants (blue and white), which I potted on and cossetted, three plants to a pot. They made very pretty table decorations.

If cut flowers would do, cornflowers are a wonderful colour.

Fleece a fan palm?

Posted: 02/11/2014 at 20:33

We have one like that in our garden in Devon and it's been fine for about 6 winters now without any protection. You didn't say where you live, but it should be OK in mild areas.

Discussions started by Green Magpie

Onion Smut!

Replies: 11    Views: 408
Last Post: 21/07/2015 at 17:08

Weird mutant bluebell?

Replies: 10    Views: 529
Last Post: 23/05/2015 at 20:02

Leaking squash, help!

Replies: 12    Views: 602
Last Post: 19/08/2014 at 08:57

Moths and lavender

Replies: 0    Views: 338
Last Post: 08/08/2014 at 12:14

Drama in the compost heap

Replies: 5    Views: 474
Last Post: 04/08/2014 at 21:18

Tomato thriving on neglect!

Replies: 5    Views: 513
Last Post: 20/06/2014 at 10:54

Secateurs open?

Replies: 5    Views: 876
Last Post: 06/05/2014 at 21:27

Lobelia for wedding at end of May

Replies: 6    Views: 598
Last Post: 04/06/2014 at 22:39


Replies: 8    Views: 1013
Last Post: 03/02/2014 at 07:50

Runners on new strawberry plants

Replies: 6    Views: 825
Last Post: 29/09/2013 at 08:39

Nettles for butterflies

Replies: 10    Views: 1949
Last Post: 22/07/2013 at 14:25

What not to grow

Replies: 25    Views: 1825
Last Post: 31/07/2014 at 18:08

Photinia Red Robin pruning?

Replies: 29    Views: 22216
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 10:01

Searching the site?

Replies: 17    Views: 2244
Last Post: 04/02/2014 at 15:30
14 threads returned