London (change)
Today 10°C / 2°C
Tomorrow 4°C / 2°C

Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

moving blackcurrant bush

Posted: 14/09/2012 at 08:52

I had a decent crop of blackcurrants but fewer than last year. Loads of rasps and gooseberries (this is in Devon where we get more rain and less heat than further east), but no quinces and very few crab apples or figs.

moving blackcurrant bush

Posted: 12/09/2012 at 08:29

Actually, no one has questioned why you want to improve the bed in the first place. Is the blackcurrant doing well? Because if it is, there's probably no need to "improve" its immediate surroundings, and if it's not, it might be as well to replace it anyway, as it may be the bush rather than the soil that's failing.

If the bush is in good heart, you could still improve other parts of the bed in the way you suggest, and just give the blackcurrant a good mulch of compost instead of the green manure.

moving blackcurrant bush

Posted: 11/09/2012 at 16:26

Or you could take cuttings and  then try moving the bush - then if it dies, at least you'll have the cuttings to replace it.

Fig Tree

Posted: 07/09/2012 at 09:34

We have a Brown Turkey on a south-west facing fence, in Devon. It's 6 or 7 years old and is now HUGE, At first I used to wrap the shoots in fleece in winter to protect them from the frosts, but as the plant grew this became impossible. The only frost damage (in several recent hard winters) has been to the topmost shoots that protrude above the fence, and I just trimmed them down in the Spring. We've had good numbers of figs for several years - except this year, and that, I'm sure, is to do with the cool summer rather than the cold winter.

Just allow it plenty of space and be prepared to reinforce your fence in a few years, otherwise the weight of the fig tree may bring it down!


Posted: 06/09/2012 at 18:08

You'd get quicker results by digging up some of the corms of the parent plants and spacing them out a bit. They spread quite quickly.


Posted: 05/09/2012 at 18:48

I think Damson's concern is about the compost and what will happen if it is used on ground where potatoes or tomatoes are to grow.

I think it's nearly impossible to ensure that all your compost is free from anything that could have a trace of blight. I get rid of most of my blighted plants in the Council green waste bin, but there's always the odd late mini-potato, or blighted scraps of stuff that end up in my kitchen bin (which goes into the compost heap). I think I'd just forget about it and hope for the best.

As Italophile says, the infection is mainly wind-borne and will reach your plants when conditions are right no matter what you do.

what can you start now

Posted: 03/09/2012 at 17:15

I have just sown some seeds of Land Cress, Swiss Chard and carrots. I have never sown carrots so late before, so it's a bit of an experiment. The others should come up OK and last through the winter,

Talkback: Beekeeping

Posted: 28/08/2012 at 16:10

My husband took up beekeeping a couple of years ago. He has got very involved and loves it, but there's a lot more to it than just getting a hive or two. You need to choose your bees, learn to check them and treat them for diseases, cope with swarms, feed them when they run out of food, etc etc. The honey is great, but the bees certainly don't pay their way, as there's quite a bit of expense involved (hives, frames, protective clothing, smoker, honey containers, possibly an extracting machine, etc.)

Honey bees will fly 2 or 3 miles in search of food, so they won't have to rely on your garden. Usually they'll find good sources of nectar, although this summer there was a big "hungry gap" in the cold early summer, and they started eating up their stores. Honey yields are down by perhaps 75% this year. They don't share as much as you might think with other species - other types of bee, for instance, have longer tongues and can reach into different flowers.

And yes, beekeepers will sometimes put a couple of hives in a large garden and give the owner a few pots of honey in exchange, but they'd want to check it out and make sure they bees could be in a place where they wouldn't cause a nuisance to you or to others. We have two of our hives in a local cider orchard now, and it's produced some very good honey with a nice sharp tang to it. But after the apple blossom season, the bees had to go elsewhere and the later honey is very thick and crystallised - possilby they found some bean-flowers, or oilseed rape.

It's a fascinating subject and you can do various courses in all aspects of bees and beekeepng.

The best thing would be to contact your local branch of the British Beekeeping Association and talk to some local members. They will know where you could join a local class where you're taught the basics before you get as far as actually acquiring bees.



Gw subscription

Posted: 24/08/2012 at 18:36

They do different offers from time to time - sometimes they throw in a gift such as a book or a sweatshirt. I looked out for good offers and in Jan this year I took up an offer of £13.50 per 6 months. No extra gifts, but it seemed like a good deal compared with other offers.

You mya find you can cancel after your first 5 cheap issues. They count on most people forgetting or not bothering to do this, or simply liking the mag enough to keep paying the full rate.

local flower show

Posted: 22/08/2012 at 17:11

Yes, give it a go! I enter a few things (mostly veg) every year in the local village show and always get at least couple of awards. These are, I think, £1 for a First and 80p for a Second, so you won't get rich, but it's quite satisfying if your produce gets recognition. I usually do well with my carrots, courgettes and beans, while the flower entries are more hit-and-miss. I have a very blue hydrangea which sometimes does well, as it's a fab colour and no one else seems to have a pure blue one locally.

You can learn a lot from looking at the winning entries and seeing what the judges are looking for, and then at least next year you'll know what's worth entering. I also just enjoy seeing all the exhibits from the other classes, and admiring the achievements of other people. I don't see it as being about showing-off or jealousy, it's more a kind of community celebration of our harvest and our gardens.

Discussions started by Green Magpie

Leaking squash, help!

Replies: 12    Views: 371
Last Post: 19/08/2014 at 08:57

Moths and lavender

Replies: 0    Views: 157
Last Post: 08/08/2014 at 12:14

Drama in the compost heap

Replies: 5    Views: 296
Last Post: 04/08/2014 at 21:18

Tomato thriving on neglect!

Replies: 5    Views: 361
Last Post: 20/06/2014 at 10:54

Secateurs open?

Replies: 5    Views: 589
Last Post: 06/05/2014 at 21:27

Lobelia for wedding at end of May

Replies: 6    Views: 407
Last Post: 04/06/2014 at 22:39


Replies: 8    Views: 781
Last Post: 03/02/2014 at 07:50

Runners on new strawberry plants

Replies: 6    Views: 643
Last Post: 29/09/2013 at 08:39

Nettles for butterflies

Replies: 10    Views: 1640
Last Post: 22/07/2013 at 14:25

What not to grow

Replies: 25    Views: 1487
Last Post: 31/07/2014 at 18:08

Photinia Red Robin pruning?

Replies: 25    Views: 15698
Last Post: 06/06/2014 at 22:33

Searching the site?

Replies: 17    Views: 1975
Last Post: 04/02/2014 at 15:30
12 threads returned