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Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

Underachiever Award

Posted: 05/06/2014 at 17:09

My parsnips have scarcely germinated (grand total of 9 so far, in three whole rows). My mange-tout have not all appeared, and many of those that did have been ravaged by weevils. Autumn raspberries look a bit slow but may come good. Dahlias have vanished without trace.

Hope this makes someone feel better!

Lobelia for wedding at end of May

Posted: 04/06/2014 at 21:17

Just a follow-up to the above: I kept the plants indoors or on a sunny terrace for most of the last couple of weeks, and they were great! Each basket had dark blue, light blue and white lobelia. We found that a little balloon-weight would just tuck in among the plants, so the balloons came up out of the flowers. Then the baskets and flowers were given away to friends and family afterwards.

experiences with free offers of plants

Posted: 03/06/2014 at 12:22

I ordered the free perennials in the autumn/winter of 2012. They were very tiny and I didn't want to have to nurture them all through the winter, so I put them out in the beds, but very few survived and they were all feeble.

Last autumn I ordered the three free clematis. They were also very tiny, in little plugs with only a few centimetres of top growth. The instructions were to plant them out at the time, but I knew they would just get lost or eaten by snails, so I left them in a sheltered corner. I planted them out (still tiny) early in the spring, and found that they had quite strong, healthy roots. I am happy to report that all three have shot up into proper grown-up plants now and look as if they'll do well.

Potato help

Posted: 25/05/2014 at 08:08

Some potatoes (my Charlotte, for instance) don't seem to flower much but the potatoes may still be ready even without/before flowers. The best thing is to put your hand gently into the soil and have a bit of a grope around. If you find any that seem suitably potato-sized, pull them out and you can start to eat them. If not, leave them a bit longer. I do this for a week or two before I pull up any whole plants, thus giving the rest of the spuds a chance to carry on growing.

Don't worry too much about the planting dates. This year mine are way ahead of where they were last year, and I'm planning to have an exploratory furtle around in the soil in a week or so, even thought there are no flowers yet.

ladybird poppy seeds

Posted: 24/05/2014 at 16:16

The instructions on the packet said just to sow them direct. But a friend of mine bought seeds for these poppies last year, and told me that when she sowed some direct, they didn't appear (as for most of us here). So she sowed the rest in a seed tray and then planted them out when they'd germinated, and they were fine. I was too lazy to follow her advice, but if anyone hasn't sown theirs yet, it might be worth a try.

ladybird poppy seeds

Posted: 24/05/2014 at 14:01

Glad to hear it's not just me! No sign of my spotty poppies yet either. But then I'm not much good with annuals. I do know that poppy seeds stay viable for many years, so perhaps they'll spring into life one day when we're least expecting them.


Too early for beans?

Posted: 23/05/2014 at 11:03

My French beans have been out in the bed (in a warm, sunny spot) for over a week now and they are starting to get away quite nicely. On the other hand, in other years I have left them until late May to sow directly into the soil, and they did well that way too. If yours look ready, then put them out now rather than let them outgrow their pots or get too thin and lanky.

Sewing seeds

Posted: 23/05/2014 at 10:56

Some seeds should have been in earlier, but some will be fine if they go in now - French or runner beans, courgettes, cucumbers, and (yes) broccoli should soon catch up. And it's not too late for carrots, beetroot, parsnips, and salad leaves.  I wouldn't bother to sow tomatoes or peppers now, it's a bit late - better to buy a few plants and then you're much more likely to get a crop.


Posted: 20/05/2014 at 09:35

One of my tomato plants got damaged in transplanting from the seed tray to the pot several weeks ago. I pushed it back into the soil so that the fractured bit of stem was buried, and left it in a pot, out of doors. To my surprise it survived, so I have now moved it into a corner of the veg plot. Although smaller than the plants that were in the mini-greenhouse, it seems to have grown huge roots while in the pot, so I'll be interested to see how it fares. As Italophile says, they're tougher than they look.


Posted: 19/05/2014 at 18:31

My tomatoes are a bit feeble so far but they've gone out in the bed and I am hoping they'll come good, as they have done in previous years, when they get used to the soil and get a bit more sun. It's surprising how well they can do once they get going, so don't give up.

Discussions started by Green Magpie

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14 threads returned