Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

A Novice Starting A Compost Heap.

Posted: 14/05/2017 at 20:21

I have two large compost bays, and this works fine.  At the moment, last year's compost (up to late autumn)  is sitting there under a piece of old carpet, while this year's garden waste etc is rapidly accumulating in the other side. I don't turn the whole heap, I just fork in each layer of fresh material and mix it up with the rest a bit. Then in about November I will cover this lot over and leave it for a year, and I'll take out the old stuff and spread it around.

I think if you turn it all more regularly, it rots down faster, but leaving it for a year achieves the same result with less effort.

Isn't it lovely to have a place where you can come and discuss compost with like-minded people, and no one thinks it strange!


Posted: 01/05/2017 at 18:58

Looks more like frost damage to me. Blight typically occurs in warm, damp conditions, not when it's cool and dry.

Potting up theory - why in stages? How does a large pot stress a plant?

Posted: 29/04/2017 at 23:11

I think also that some plants are more liable to rock around and be unstable if they're put into a pot much larger than the rootball. It's easier to plant them firmly in a pot that's not too big.

Frost hit spuds!

Posted: 29/04/2017 at 23:04

This late frost and north wind after fine weather have caught a lot of plants out. My potatoes caught it too, and even the new leaves on the ivy on the top of a wall are blackened with frost. I've never seen frost-damaged ivy before.

Planting out courgette

Posted: 22/04/2017 at 20:26

I have just sown mine in pots,and they're on the kitchen windowsill .They won't go out until well into May. If you try to hurry them they just get knocked back by the cold. They'll be galloping away by June.

By the way, Michele, they're very easy to grow from seed, don't bother with plugs next time.

Sowing veg seed outside

Posted: 20/04/2017 at 09:55

Yes, I'd say all of those could be started off outdoors now. I have already sown carrots, chard, and salad leaves (as well as peas and broad beans).  Beets will go in very soon. No point in watering an empty bed, though; perhaps water lightly before sowing, and then afterwards. You only need to top layer of the soil damp for germination. Covering with fleece until the seeds are through can help by retaining heat and moisture.

When should I see growth appearing on soft fruits & apple I planted as bare-root last autumn?

Posted: 19/04/2017 at 21:04

I put some new raspberry canes in last autumn (some summer, some autumn). Most of them have some signs of growth, some of which have only appeared in the last week or so. I have left all the canes at about 8 inches tall, and so I tried slicing through the dormant ones; in all cases I could see greenness around the edge, so I think they're all OK. 

In other words, it's a bit early to panic yet - I am in south Devon and the canes are in a sheltered, sunny spot.

Climbing French Beans .

Posted: 17/04/2017 at 12:10

My climbing French beans always do well, but this is in south Devon and the veg beds are in a sheltered, sunny spot.  Weather could be the key.

Climbing French Beans .

Posted: 16/04/2017 at 22:40

I grow climbing French beans up a pair of wigwams with a cane running horizontally across the top. They climb up without much encouragement, as soon as they touch the cane. I have settled for Cobra, which crops well, and I save the seed from year to year.

Looking at my notes from previous years, I would advise holding back and sowing them quite late. I start mine indoors,  in modules, but I'm not even going to start them until May, aiming to put them out towards the end of the month.

Seed to buy

Posted: 16/04/2017 at 22:33

I have used many of the above, but also Moreveg and Simply Seed, which are good online suppliers, very good value.  Moreveg is good for smaller quantities of seeds, while Simply Seed has a huge range of varieties.

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