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Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

Subscribers' club discounts

Posted: 26/05/2012 at 13:24

I think the issue is that the lavenders are (technically) free, so you can't get a discount. The £4.90 is  P&P charge, and discounts don't apply to that. Also you can't use that P&P charge to cover other (payable) parts of an order, you have to pay it just for the free offer.

Has anyone had delivery of last month's free perennials yet?


Posted: 25/05/2012 at 19:24

I tried this last year but the courgette plant was promptly eaten by slugs or snails. it's not so easy to protect the plant from these pests on a compost heap.


Posted: 21/05/2012 at 14:10

Another form of temporary cloche (which I'm using on my courgettes right now) is those clear plastic punnets that grapes, nectarines etc come in. Those can be placed over the plant, and secured with a stick or tent peg through the drainage hole.

tomatoes-growbags or not growbags?

Posted: 20/05/2012 at 13:53

The tomatoes I mentioned that did so well were in a spot where they didn't get sun until the second half of the day. It was very sheltered, so perhaps warmth is as important as light.

tomatoes-growbags or not growbags?

Posted: 20/05/2012 at 12:31

Yes, I tried what David suggests, using two old flowerpots with the bases removed, and pushing them into holes in the growbag cut to the right size. This allowed the tomatoes to grow down through the pots into the growbag (it was a cheap £1 growbag so probably wouldn't have been enough on its own).I also cut a small hole in the middle of the bag and inserted an upside-down 2L pop bottle (with base removed) sticking up like a funnel. When I watered, I filled this up too as an extra reserve of water.

The plants - two bush tomatoes - did very well indeed, producing masses of fruits.

Talkback: Ground elder

Posted: 20/05/2012 at 12:22

Gillian, your sambucus query might get more response in a new thread, as ground elder is a very different beast and people just want to get rid of it.

But for what it's worth, once sambucus is established it's very tough. You can cut it right back in the spring and it will grown new shoots. As long as yours seems alive, I'm sure it will recover. Then next spring you could try taking out a third of the biggest stems, to encourage new growth.

Is Vermiculite dangerous

Posted: 20/05/2012 at 12:16

I think lots of dusty substances can be carcinogenic or toxic in some way if you breathe them in. I'm careful about not only perlite etc but also bone meal, Growmore, iron sulphate, and any other garden chemicals in powder form.  They may be perfectly safe to use on food crops but harmful if you inhale them directly into your lungs. Measures like handling them in the open air and staying upwind while you do so are common sense. And if I think I've breathed some in, I give my nose a good blow!

Lupins laid low with infestions

Posted: 16/05/2012 at 18:05

AAHRRGH! Sorry, I pasted that in from a Word document where I'd saved it. I think this is plain text but I'm not sure:

This is cheap to make up, safe and you can use it on a variety of insects like scale, aphids and smooth skinned caterpillars. It works well on citrus fruit, since it is so cheap spraying a small tree is no problem.

Here’s how it’s done:
1. In a blender, combine 2 cups of vegetable oil with ½ cup of dishwashing liquid. Blend it up until well mixed.
This is your concentrate and can be stored in a jar. Be sure to label it and include the dilution rate on the label.

2. To prepare the concentrate for use, dilute 1 tablespoon in a litre of water, mix it well and spray the pest as well as both sides of the foliage thoroughly.

3. Always follow this dilution rate, because you can burn the foliage if it’s too strong and there are a few other rules; don’t apply it in hot sunny weather and avoid using it on plants with hairy foliage as well as ferns as this can also cause leaf burn.

Lupins laid low with infestions

Posted: 16/05/2012 at 18:00

If the lupin aphids return (and they may well do so) you might like to try this spray. I got the "recipe" from another forum and have used it myself:

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Fruit & Veg Beginner

Posted: 15/05/2012 at 17:46

Excitable Boy has given you lots of useful info. Buying a few plants rather than growing everything from seed this year will get you off to a good start (our Sainsbury's has started doing some veg plants at £1, I think).You could buy courgettes, cues, strawberries, tomatoes, lettuces, brassicas. French beans germinate very quickly and there's still time to start them from seed. Carrots, beets, rocket salad, can still be sown now too. Many herbs will spread from a single plant so they don't need to be grown from seed, except annuals like basil and parsley. Beware of rosemary and sage, which eventually become straggly bushes taking up quite a bit of space.

Yes, plant across the bed, so you can reach to the middle of a row from either side of the bed without interfering with the rows on either side. As you don't need to walk between rows, the rows can be closer than on open ground in some instances, but peas and beans tend to get fungal diseases if they're crowded.

If you keep certain groups of plants in defined areas, this will help next year so that you can set up some sort of crop rotation - make a chart to remind yourself what grows where, as you won't remember next year!

You can plan it all out on paper as you know the dimensions of your beds. You won't be able to grow everything, so stick to crops you enjoy eating, or ones that are never cheap to buy. And of course some things ( like carrots) always taste better than anything in the shops.

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9 threads returned