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Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

potatoes again

Posted: 06/07/2012 at 11:01

Don't worry about the lack of flowers. I grow Charlotte and sometimes they don't have many flowers. This year mine hardly have leaves either, but that's another matter .. You've done very well to get a crop in such an awful summer, so just pull out some Charlotte as you need them (they will stay fresher in the ground) amd eat them with a little butter and salt. Yum.


Posted: 05/07/2012 at 12:07

My plants have come at last (posted on 3 July). they are indeed extremely tiny, and will need some individual care before they're anywhere near ready to go out in the garden. The whole lot fitted into a pack the  size of a slim phone directory. Would I have ordered them if I'd known how small they'd be? Probably not, but I'll try to make something of them now they're here.

Gardeners World - not back for 4 weeks!

Posted: 04/07/2012 at 09:24

When I sent my complaint to the BBC, I was assuming that (as they'd said) sport was the reason GW was taken off. But on the first GW-less Friday, BBC1 showed a compilation of outtakes from "Would I Lie to You?" and then an edition of "Have I Got Old News for You" (an out-of-date edition of a topical news show - what's the point in that?) So rather than fresh, original comedy, we had a whole hour of outtakes and repeats, which no one would have missed if GW or Wimbledon had been allowed to replace them.

And yes, there are (a few) other gardening programmes around on other channels. But GW does its best to engage our interest in various ongoing and topical projects (Monty's pond, etc) and then just when we want to know more, they suddenly vanish for a month. That just makes no sense.

Gardeners World - not back for 4 weeks!

Posted: 03/07/2012 at 16:33

Woops, sorry, that was my interim reply. Here is the proper one:

Thanks for contacting us regarding ‘Gardeners’ World’ on BBC Two.

I understand you’re unhappy the programme won’t be broadcast during the month of July.

‘Gardeners’ World’ is incredibly important to BBC Two and we’re aware that it has a very loyal audience. However we have to balance that with the channel’s many other commitments including sport.

The transmission of sporting events is dependent on their dates and every year we juggle the schedule to accommodate Wimbledon, Athletics (including the Olympics) and The Open golf which are contractual sports. This sometimes means that ‘Gardeners’ World’ takes a break but it isn’t the only programme affected and it’s necessary to move all types of programming around in the schedule.

Monty Don did advise viewers at the end of the episode on 22 June that the programme would be taking a break but would return in a month’s time.

I’d like to assure you I've registered your complaint on our audience log. This is an internal report of audience feedback which we compile daily and is available for viewing by all our staff. This includes all programme makers and channel controllers, along with our senior management. It ensures that your points, along with all other comments we receive, are considered across the BBC.

Gardeners World - not back for 4 weeks!

Posted: 03/07/2012 at 16:31

I've now had my reply to my complaint to be BBC,. It sounds a lot like the one you had, frensclan. I'll try pasting it in here:

"Thanks for recently contacting the BBC. We aim to reply to complaints within 10 working days (around 2 weeks) and do for most of them but cannot for all. The time taken depends on the nature of the complaint, how many others we are dealing with and can also be affected by practical issues, such as whether a production team is available or away on location.

This is to let you know that we think it may take us longer but that we will respond as soon as we can. We would therefore ask you not to contact us further in the meantime. This is an automatic email sent from an account which is not monitored so you cannot reply to this address. If it does prove necessary however, please use our webform quoting any case number we provided.

We issue public responses to issues which have prompted large numbers of significant complaints on our website at along with full details of our complaints procedure and how we consider the issues raised in complaints.

In the meantime we’d like to thank you for contacting us with your concerns. We appreciate your patience in awaiting a response."

powdery mildew spots on courgette leaves

Posted: 02/07/2012 at 09:04

Mine usually get this eventually (although not yet this year). Once the plants are well established, it doesn't seem to do any harm. I just cut away the badly affected leaves and let the plant carry on. you could spray with some sort of fungicide if you feel the plant is vulnerable, but in my experience the courgettes are not afffected.

Slug Stoppa

Posted: 01/07/2012 at 19:42

If it's the stuff I think it is, you have to use an awful lot of it, as it needs to form a physical barrier right round the plant or plants, which slugs/snails can't or won't cross. Fine grit or gravel would do a similar job (although they're not cheap either). Or crushed eggshells, but you need a lot of that too - each egg ony yields about a teaspoon of crushed shell.

On the plus side, the Slug Stoppa is not unattractive around plants, looking a bit like pale grit. But one packet won't go very far.

Non chemical solution for blight?

Posted: 01/07/2012 at 09:35

I don't think any of us want an argument, it's not that kind of forum, thank goodness. It's just not always clear what kind of solution someone's looking for when they say "organic" or "no chemicals".

The best solution, of course, would be for the bloomin' rain to stop for a few days, as constant dampness is the worst thing for blight. But not much hope of that at the moment.

Non chemical solution for blight?

Posted: 30/06/2012 at 17:07

Washing up liquid is made of chemicals too. In fact, so are tomatoes.

Bordeaux mixture seems to be considered "organic" (although I don't think there'e anything organic about copper, which is a mineral) but it  is to be withdrawn from sale to the public soon - next year I think. I used it on my tomatoes at the first signs of blight (at least I think that's what it was) and it does seem to have stopped it progressing.

I'd be interested to hear if anyone has good results with the milk-and-water mixture, as that would be easy, and cheap, and legal.

Talkback: Growing herbs

Posted: 27/06/2012 at 12:29

Yesterday's "Woman's Hour" had a recipe for Mexican tacos that required various fresh herbs. I decided to try it, and was able to pick the required thyme, mint, tarragon and coriander all fresh from the garden. The tacos were absolutely delicious! Oh, and I even substituted our home-grown chard for the spinach in the recipe.

Coriander does tend to run to seed but you can save the seeds and use them as a spice, or sow some for next year.

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