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Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

Protecting Chard and Spinach

Posted: 27/09/2013 at 18:02

I find chard to be as tough as old boots, and able to withstand hard winters without protection.

The leaves on mine are still being chomped to ribbons by caterpillar or something, as are my black kale plants. They're not netted but the birds are simply not cooperating by eating the beasties. I just hope the colder weather will soon reduce the insect population.


Posted: 09/09/2013 at 19:11

I keep mine until the spring - saves worrying about the effects of winter frosts/floods. They've done very well this year.

Squash Query

Posted: 07/09/2013 at 17:26

Thanks, I found that useful too. I have a single squash plant that I was given by a friend, who said it was a butternut squash, but so far the fruits are pale green striped (the largest one is about 4 inches long now). Is it perhaps not a butternut? Or do some squashes have stripes when they're juveniles, like some mammals? Can't be for camouflage, though, so I'm confused. I suppose time will tell.


Posted: 23/08/2013 at 09:13

Yes, the big strong ones (Armandii and Montana, which yours doesn't look like) are to be treated with caution. We let one of each of these grow up through old - and eventually dead - apples trees. In the end the trees fell over, probably helped by the weight of the huge clematis. The Montana has survived, by being attached to a second tree, which it now reaches by straggling across the ground; the Armadii has died.


Posted: 22/08/2013 at 15:32

I can't see any reason not to do this. I have two rather manky old pear trees and I have trained two Viticella-type clematis to grwo through them in the summer. They look really pretty.


Posted: 22/08/2013 at 15:28

I tried an August sowing once and they came to nothing, They germinated and then just stuck there with a few pathetic leaves. They do need a certain amount of warmth, and below that level they just won't grow. But you probably have spare ground and not a lot to lose, so you could give it a try, in the hope of some more hot weather.

Nettles for butterflies

Posted: 17/07/2013 at 11:50

We have a large clump of stinging nettles in one corner of the garden, which we leave for wildlife, and eventually chuck into the compost heap. This month we've had a sudden influx of small tortoiseshell butterflies (seven flew out of our oregano bed when I walked past it this morning) and I wondered if they'd hatched nearby.

Then I found two little bundles of caterpillars attached to nettle plants (there may be others). They look like the caterpillars of smal tortoiseshells, so it seems that it's been worth leaving the nettles, as this is where they breed.

Raspberries; alive or dead?

Posted: 17/07/2013 at 11:42

You could try scratching away a piece of bark with your fingernail to see whether there's any green underneath it. But I don't think snipping will do any harm anyway.

I think it's likely that anything brown and twiggy is not going to grow now, so what I'd do myself is cut the dead-looking canes down to theground. If the only thing they're attached to is an equally dead bit of root, I'd take the whole thing out, but if there are other live canes nearby, don't disturb them. The good canes will soon put out suckers and provide you wilth more new canes for next year.

Blossom less plum

Posted: 11/07/2013 at 17:30

But the problem appears to be that there's no blossom in the first place. I've jumped into this thread because I have a similar problem. We have a plum tree that's been planted for 4 or 5 years and it still has no blossom. It's a dual-type tree with two varieties - a damson and an greengage - grafted on to the one stem. The greengage part is now over 2 metres tall, and last year had just two tiny flowers, one of which produced a tiny plum that fell off. This year I think I saw one flower but there are now no fruits. The other part of the tree has never had a flower.

I gave the tree some potash feed in the early spring, but to no avail. It looks quite healthy, but won't flower.

more mystery plants to be identified

Posted: 11/07/2013 at 17:22

Just spotted some more.

K is speedwell

L is a poppy

M is a nasturtium

N looks like another variety of poppy

Discussions started by Green Magpie

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Last Post: 29/09/2013 at 08:39

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Last Post: 22/07/2013 at 14:25

What not to grow

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Last Post: 31/07/2014 at 18:08

Photinia Red Robin pruning?

Replies: 29    Views: 22188
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 10:01

Searching the site?

Replies: 17    Views: 2241
Last Post: 04/02/2014 at 15:30
14 threads returned