Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

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.

Coffee grounds and slugs

Posted: 17/06/2015 at 09:15

If there are envionmental reasons for a pesticide ban, then the bad results would not be immediately obvious. The annoying thing is that commercial growers are still allowed some of the chemicals banned to the rest of us, even though we would use them on a small scale and in a very targeted way.

But in practice I can't imagine even the UK police knocking on my door to ask what precisely I was hoping to achieve by putting coffee grounds on my flower beds. If it's lawful to use as a soil conditioner, it can't be harmful as a pest deterrent.

I think the trouble is that there's some blanket rule saying that any substance used to kill or even deter wildlife has to be approved. This is where it gets silly, as some creatures are deterred by harmless substances - and some, like slugs, are not likely to be an endangered species anywhere!


Posted: 16/06/2015 at 22:42

Oh don't start me on mice in the strawberries! We lost so many to mice last week, it's full-scale war now.... traps (useless), deterrents such as clove oil, ultra-sonic scarers and poison.  

Coffee grounds and slugs

Posted: 16/06/2015 at 22:31

I think coffee grounds tend to make the soil more acidic, so in this case it wouldn't be the best thing to use around brassicas, which like an alkaline soil.

Is this ragwort

Posted: 16/06/2015 at 22:27

Just enjoy it. It's not ragwort, it's just a really pretty euphorbia, and it won't become a pest. If it ends up in your flower beds, it looks wonderful against blue or purple flowers in Spring.

Is this a flower or weed

Posted: 16/06/2015 at 22:22

This is becoming a menace in my flower beds this year. Thanks for the tip about the seed heads, I'll be a bit more careful now when weeding.


Posted: 16/06/2015 at 22:19

This year my gooseberries are so thick and heavy that I have started picking some in order to take the weight off the branches, which are old and straining. Even when they're still quite sour, they're fine for cooking.

The birds don't ever show any interest in my gooseberries. Even when they are ripe and quite sweet, the berries are still quite hard, so maybe that's why. 

What do you carry you hand tools around in?

Posted: 13/06/2015 at 22:46

I use a caddy like this (below). I have had it for 40 years - I first used it to carry our baby's nappy-changing kit around the house, and that "baby" is now 40!

What do you carry you hand tools around in?

Posted: 13/06/2015 at 21:50

I admire your methodical system, hogweed, but it wouldn't work for me. In my caddy I carry not only a fork, trowel and secateurs, but also gloves, scissors, string, a small table fork (great for transplanting seedlings), a knife, a marker pen, spare labels, pegs for netting or fleece, a small dibber, a plastic container of bone meal, another of slug pellets ..... and sometimes some seeds or bulbs.  I am not very organised, but this way I usually have everything to hand that I need. I do still lose things - it's a big garden, and sometimes I even mislay the whole caddy - but mostly I can find what I want.

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