Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

My Strawberries are all being eaten

Posted: 19/06/2015 at 17:35

If it's birds, the berries will have beak- shaped peck marks. If  it's mice, they tend to mess up the whole bed, squashing some of the berries into the soil, and leaving some just torn off the plant,while eating up the best ones.

J Arthur Bowers Compost

Posted: 18/06/2015 at 13:20

I used the JAB with added John Innes, and had very good results from it this year - it was the first time the tomatoes have stayed green and not needed corrective feeding while still in the pots. But I suppose it may be better for some crops than others.

Fruit Set

Posted: 18/06/2015 at 13:17

Thanks for the reminder, it's time to do that with my first row of beans. I tend to do it as soon as blackfly appear, but so far there's no sign of them, and anyway the bean tops are far from appetising once the blackfly have landed.

Coffee grounds and slugs

Posted: 17/06/2015 at 21:39

That's a good point,  Katherine, about food production vs cosmetic purposes. I am prepared to do whatever it takes to protect my fruit and vegetables, but am much more relaxed about ornamental plants, lawns etc.

 It's the same with watering - my ornamental plants just have to make do with rainfall but I water the food crops as necessary.  When we had a water shortage I was quite angry when farmers could use mains water on crops, while gardeners were not allowed to do so. I feel rather the same about using chemicals on food crops, although I can see that it would be impractical to ban certain substances from use on flowers and allow them on fruit and veg.

If I were to lose my  whole tomato crop to blight or all my salads to slugs, I'd end up going to a shop to buy replacements which would almost certainly have been subjected to much higher levels of pesticides etc than I would have used - how often do  you find a slug or aphids on a bought lettuce? 

Which Clematis

Posted: 17/06/2015 at 20:00

PS: and I don't think even they flower until about May.

Which Clematis

Posted: 17/06/2015 at 19:59

The very vigorous types (species clematis, I think I mean) such as Montana and Armandii flower quite early. but they can get a bit out of hand and might not be manageable on an arch with a rose.

Which Clematis

Posted: 17/06/2015 at 14:52

I can't think of a clematis that flowers so early, except perhaps clematis cirrhosa "Freckles" or similar, which have sporadic flowers from autumn to spring, but are quite subtle and delicate, not very colourful.

Is this ragwort

Posted: 17/06/2015 at 14:48

Well, the actual legislation states that if there is a medium or high risk to nearby livestock, there is a legal obligation on the landowner to put in place a policy to control ragwort. This is in the Code Of Practice in the 2003 legislation.

Regardless of the law, I would prefer not to risk poisoning my neighbours'  livestock, or introduce ragwort to fields that I know are used for hay and silage, which can become contaminated by ragwort.

What do you carry you hand tools around in?

Posted: 17/06/2015 at 12:43

I lost my Felco secateurs, and they turned up over a year later, in the compost heap. I cleaned them up and they still work OK.

Is this ragwort

Posted: 17/06/2015 at 11:45

Ragwort is very poisonous to horsesand cattle. If you have it on your land, you have a legal duty not to let it spread to grazing areas, so rural gardeners should take care. The seeds are wind-borne, so I wouldn't want it in my garden as we are quite close to farmland.

Having said that, there's a big field nearby that is waste land (disused private allotments); I believe it's now owned by a pension company who are hoping that one day they can sell it for development. It is now full of ragwort (and cinnebar moths) but is just across the road from open farmland. No one attempts to control or manage it.

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