Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

Plant ID

Posted: 22/06/2015 at 17:33

I have an allergic reaction to this plant too, just the smell of it I think. Be cautious with it.

Allotments and creatures.

Posted: 22/06/2015 at 12:15

I think it's best to regard an allotment or veg patch as an enjoyable hobby that pays for itself. If you tried to pay yourself an hourly rate, it would be costing you a fortune, but with any luck you'll eventually pay out less than the value of the produce.

And there are some things you can't put a price on, like the taste of that first strawberry or raspberry, or the first bunch of baby carrots; and having something home-grown to give as a little gift to friends and relatives, or people who've done you a favour.   Recently an elderly neighbour had an attempted break-in and was quite shocked by it. I don't know her well, but I called to commiserate, and took a little punnet of strawberries to give her. A bought gift would have been inappropriate, but home produce is always appreciated.

Allotments and creatures.

Posted: 21/06/2015 at 17:53

You're doing fine - but watch out for badgers, cats, rabbits or mice!

Seriously, not all you're doing now will have to be repeated or re-purchased, and now that you know some of the enemies you will be able to take preventive action sooner next year. And when you do manage to harvest a crop without one of them getting there first, the triumph adds to the enjoyment of eating it!

Last few mystery plants in my garden - Help please...

Posted: 20/06/2015 at 11:06

I agree with other posts so far. The Buddleia will flower soon, so you might as well let it do its stuff and see how you like it. Later (winter or next Spring)  it  can be cut back really hard and it will come up a bit less leggy. You could also take softwood cuttings from it any time now and start again with a new, more manaegeble plant.

Pyrocanthus will have red berries soon, so again you might as well enjoy it before any cutting back.

My Strawberries are all being eaten

Posted: 20/06/2015 at 09:38

I think strawalso provides a comfortable footing for mice. The first time we put straw around, last year, was the first time we had mice. But they returned this year, even without straw.

Apples falling

Posted: 19/06/2015 at 17:41

It's just a natural thinning-out process. Sometimes I even help this along by picking off the smallest fruitlets, because if more than 3 or 4 are in a cluster, they will be too crowded to grow properly.

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? 

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