Green Magpie


Latest posts by Green Magpie

Seeds

Posted: 24/01/2015 at 09:09

It makes a lot of sense to keep notes on what you sow when, if only to avoid making the same mistakes each year. It also helps you know when to expect things to germinate and crop. I also add notes like "Do not plant so close together next year!".

Some things you can sow in succession, some you don't need to. Courgettes, chilis, tomatoes will ripen when they're ready and go on fruiting for many weeks, but peas, beans, carrots, and especially salad leaves can be sown in several batches. Don't sow too many courgettes! Things that take many months to cropping (broccoli, parsnips)  might as well be sown all at one time.

Seeds

Posted: 22/01/2015 at 18:59

With some small seeds,  you need plenty so you can sprinkle the seeds in the bed and then thin them out as they germinate (e.g. carrots, salad leaves).  With bigger seeds such as peas, beans, courgettes, you only need a few spares as almost every one should produce a plant. Tomatoes and chillis should almost all germinate if you sow them carefully.  Some crops you can sow in succession, so you need enough seeds for several batches. But sometimes they just give you far too many seeds!  You can save some types (see other posts) and you may manage to give away or swap some.

Potatos

Posted: 16/01/2015 at 23:14

If potatoes  are exposed to frost, this can turn the starch to sugars and make them taste sweet . It may be nothing to do with the variety, could be just a faulty batch.

planting stuff at the wrong time

Posted: 16/01/2015 at 17:28

We keep hearing about how kids are out of touch with the rhythm of the seasons, so they need to learn that Spring, not winter, is the time when seeds germinate. But they could be doing what I like to do at this time of year: making a plan of the plot and deciding what to grow, choosing and ordering seeds, perhaps preparing the soil by adding some compost and clearing weeds, etc. Then by March they could begin the seed sowing once the soil begins to warm up and the days lengthen. Onion sets or shallots are easy and can go in quite early (but not yet!)

The children will only get discouraged if they sow seeds at the wrong time (which may not even be possible if the ground is frozen). Peas and beans would probably just rot, and it's really too late for garlic. I wouldn't even move strawberry runners at the moment. Somebody somewhere needs to learn a little about horticulture before attempting to start a garden in January!

Weighing fruit and veg harvest

Posted: 14/01/2015 at 22:26

I often take photos of my best veg (and also my biggest mistakes).  I have recently taken up painting, and did a nice "still life" of some beautiful Hooligan squash I grew.  Some people in our local art group paint dogs, or trains, or boats, so I think I may make vegetable subjects my speciality, although I  can't see many people wanting to commision a portrait of their potatoes or carrots. But it makes sense to paint something you care about, and I love my veg!

So for me it's about quality and beauty rather than quantity.

Has anyone successfully stopped a planning application before?

Posted: 31/12/2014 at 15:47

TPOs and LIsted Buildings are not things the council will overlook - they will knwo about them (they probably initiated them in the first place) and they have to take them into account. Developers can usually plan the development to work around features such as this and incorporate them into the development, so they wouldnt necessarily prevent the permission being granted.

As someone has pointed out, there is a presumption in favour of development, and the fact that lot of local people don't like it is not in iteslf enough enough to prevent it. People almost always oppose new housing developments close to where they live, but there is an urgent need for more housing, so councils need valid "plannng reasons" if they are to reject an application. Otherwise it will just get taken to appeal and the Government inspector will overrule the Council.

The Council will have a Local Development Plan covering the coming years, and if this land is earmarked for housing on this plan, it's likely to go ahead in some form. I don't think the Parish Council can prevent it - as far as I know their role is just advisory.

It is still worth getting involved, though - in a similar case in our village, local people had some input into the final design and density of a housing development, and to the provision of footpaths, car parking, play areas, etc, as well as to the preservation of natural features and protection for wildlife. You may not be able to prevent it entirely, but you could still make a difference.

 

Coffee Grindings

Posted: 30/12/2014 at 21:57

I think coffee grounds are on the acidic side, so would be good for mulching acid-loving/ ericaceous plants.

Waterproof Garden Shoes

Posted: 22/12/2014 at 13:17

Good idea! My favourite garden shoes are just like wellies that have been cut down, so cutting down old wellies should work well. 

Family traits

Posted: 14/12/2014 at 22:13

The flip side of this is when you see your adult children turning into you....

Kindle e readers

Posted: 10/12/2014 at 20:48

I have a Kindle Fire HDX and love it. It's great for browsing the web as well as for reading books. I like the backlit screen and adjustable font size, which make it easy to read in poor light (but not great  in bright sunlight). I use it a lot and need to charge it every day or two. OH is quite envious, as our desktop computer is so slow, so he's getting a Kindle Fire for Christmas! The desktop PC will still be used for writing and storing documents etc.

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