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Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

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.


Posted: 15/05/2012 at 16:47

I agree, there's no indication that supplies are limited or that anyone will be disappointed.

A garden isn't ever complete and static, it goes on evolving and developing. Plants die for all sorts of reasons, or simply don't thrive in the places where they find themselves, so there's a constant need for replacement.And sometimes there are plants that just have to be got rid of, like the enormous conifer we've just had removed, thus opening up a new area for further planting.

Like other gardeners, I try not to waste anything, and often give away spare plants to friends and family.Last year I ordered the free petunias, and gave half of them to  friends who produced such lovely pots with them, they put mine to shame.

It's not in any way similar to acquiring unnecessary quantities of clothes, books or other consumer goods, because Nature, with our help, is capable of producing an endless supply of plants to enhance our gardens and our lives, without any finite resources being used up. And most people on this forum, I'm sure, will cherish and care for their new baby plants, not throw them away.

Talkback: Stinging nettles

Posted: 15/05/2012 at 16:11

There is now a gel version of Roundup that you can use on individual plants. That would minimise the effect on the surrounding plants, and reduce the amount of stuff you use. I haven't tried it myself. Or apparently (again, not tried myself) you can mix some glyyphosate liquid with wallpaper paste and apply that as you would a gel.

Acer Palmatum - what size container

Posted: 14/05/2012 at 13:13

I do wonder whether I should re-pot them, perhaps into the larger outer pots, but it gets to a point when the pot is too heavy to move, and you have to buy some special trollies or castors or something if you want to move the tub. I've decided that maybe they're happy enough being pot-bound, and I'll going to leave them until they show signs of distress.Some plants don't seem to mind. and I don't want them to get any bigger, so if they stick at this size and stay healthy, that's fine by me.

We do have another acer of the same variety and age that's planted directly into the soil. Admittedly it's beside a lonicera hedge, and I rarely think to water it, but it's only grown at about half the rate of the potted ones.

Acer Palmatum - what size container

Posted: 14/05/2012 at 09:58

I think it's generally a good idea to pot up one stage at a time, partly to keep the plant firmly contained and supported. You could always use your big planter as an outer pot and put the plant in a smaller pot inside it for the meantime (this also makes it easier to move around if required).

We have two acers of this sort (the dark purplish ones) in pots on the patio. The inner pots are about 25 cm across. They've been there for 4 or 5 years and at first I put some pansies around the edge to fill up the pot and add some winter colour. Now the roots of the acers have filled up the pots, so I've stopped trying to squeeze pansies in. The plants are now about 1 to 1.5 metres in height and width. They look splendid despite being a bit potbound and in a hot, sunny spot.

I use rainwater when it's available but I'm sure I've used tap water at times. Ours is soft water so it may not make much difference. I don't think we used ericaceous compost, just ordinary multi-purpose. I do give them some sort of feed from time to time during the summer.

What is particularly pleasing to me is that the trees were a free (p&p only) offer from the Radio Times.

The wrong kind of birds

Posted: 13/05/2012 at 18:07

I had some old hanging-basket frames that I got at a a garage sale, and I have successfully used two of these to create a cage in which to hang the peanut feeder. It's aimed at protecting from squirrels, which don't just take the nuts but will pull apart the whole feeder, or knock it down and hide or remove it.

I'm now considering making a second one to protect the fatballs from the jackdaws and magpies, who demolish them in no time, but I can't decide whether I'm just bieng soppy in wanting the tits and finches to have first peck at them.

Talkback: Cleavers

Posted: 12/05/2012 at 17:50

I'm hoping to refresh this thread, as I was going to ask the same thing. We suddenly have a plague of cleavers (aka goose grass or "sticky willie"), probably because we reomved a big conifer and there's a lot more light in this part of the garden. Can I compost it or will it return to haunt me next year?

Talkback: Ground elder

Posted: 09/05/2012 at 16:20

I wouldn't compost the roots, just in case they regenerate somehow, but I think the foliage is OK to compost. I have a problem with this too, all the more since we removed a big conifer, allowing more light to a wild part of the garden, which seems to please the ground elder.

Guinea pigs enjoy eating the foliage if you feed it to them (not after spraying, of course!). This probably means it's safe for us to eat too, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's worth doing so. Anyone tried it?


Posted: 08/05/2012 at 18:21

I've ordered the perennials too. Don't know where I'm going to put them all but I can't resist a bargain! Like Jock above, I first tried the T&M website and couldn't find it, but when I put the whole web address with the code into the browser (as in hte link above), the offer appeared.

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