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Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

Fruit Set

Posted: 18/06/2015 at 13:17

Thanks for the reminder, it's time to do that with my first row of beans. I tend to do it as soon as blackfly appear, but so far there's no sign of them, and anyway the bean tops are far from appetising once the blackfly have landed.

Coffee grounds and slugs

Posted: 17/06/2015 at 21:39

That's a good point,  Katherine, about food production vs cosmetic purposes. I am prepared to do whatever it takes to protect my fruit and vegetables, but am much more relaxed about ornamental plants, lawns etc.

 It's the same with watering - my ornamental plants just have to make do with rainfall but I water the food crops as necessary.  When we had a water shortage I was quite angry when farmers could use mains water on crops, while gardeners were not allowed to do so. I feel rather the same about using chemicals on food crops, although I can see that it would be impractical to ban certain substances from use on flowers and allow them on fruit and veg.

If I were to lose my  whole tomato crop to blight or all my salads to slugs, I'd end up going to a shop to buy replacements which would almost certainly have been subjected to much higher levels of pesticides etc than I would have used - how often do  you find a slug or aphids on a bought lettuce? 

Which Clematis

Posted: 17/06/2015 at 20:00

PS: and I don't think even they flower until about May.

Which Clematis

Posted: 17/06/2015 at 19:59

The very vigorous types (species clematis, I think I mean) such as Montana and Armandii flower quite early. but they can get a bit out of hand and might not be manageable on an arch with a rose.

Which Clematis

Posted: 17/06/2015 at 14:52

I can't think of a clematis that flowers so early, except perhaps clematis cirrhosa "Freckles" or similar, which have sporadic flowers from autumn to spring, but are quite subtle and delicate, not very colourful.

Is this ragwort

Posted: 17/06/2015 at 14:48

Well, the actual legislation states that if there is a medium or high risk to nearby livestock, there is a legal obligation on the landowner to put in place a policy to control ragwort. This is in the Code Of Practice in the 2003 legislation.

Regardless of the law, I would prefer not to risk poisoning my neighbours'  livestock, or introduce ragwort to fields that I know are used for hay and silage, which can become contaminated by ragwort.

What do you carry you hand tools around in?

Posted: 17/06/2015 at 12:43

I lost my Felco secateurs, and they turned up over a year later, in the compost heap. I cleaned them up and they still work OK.

Is this ragwort

Posted: 17/06/2015 at 11:45

Ragwort is very poisonous to horsesand cattle. If you have it on your land, you have a legal duty not to let it spread to grazing areas, so rural gardeners should take care. The seeds are wind-borne, so I wouldn't want it in my garden as we are quite close to farmland.

Having said that, there's a big field nearby that is waste land (disused private allotments); I believe it's now owned by a pension company who are hoping that one day they can sell it for development. It is now full of ragwort (and cinnebar moths) but is just across the road from open farmland. No one attempts to control or manage it.

Coffee grounds and slugs

Posted: 17/06/2015 at 09:15

If there are envionmental reasons for a pesticide ban, then the bad results would not be immediately obvious. The annoying thing is that commercial growers are still allowed some of the chemicals banned to the rest of us, even though we would use them on a small scale and in a very targeted way.

But in practice I can't imagine even the UK police knocking on my door to ask what precisely I was hoping to achieve by putting coffee grounds on my flower beds. If it's lawful to use as a soil conditioner, it can't be harmful as a pest deterrent.

I think the trouble is that there's some blanket rule saying that any substance used to kill or even deter wildlife has to be approved. This is where it gets silly, as some creatures are deterred by harmless substances - and some, like slugs, are not likely to be an endangered species anywhere!


Posted: 16/06/2015 at 22:42

Oh don't start me on mice in the strawberries! We lost so many to mice last week, it's full-scale war now.... traps (useless), deterrents such as clove oil, ultra-sonic scarers and poison.  

Discussions started by Green Magpie

Onion Smut!

Replies: 11    Views: 223
Last Post: 21/07/2015 at 17:08

Weird mutant bluebell?

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Last Post: 23/05/2015 at 20:02

Leaking squash, help!

Replies: 12    Views: 473
Last Post: 19/08/2014 at 08:57

Moths and lavender

Replies: 0    Views: 261
Last Post: 08/08/2014 at 12:14

Drama in the compost heap

Replies: 5    Views: 397
Last Post: 04/08/2014 at 21:18

Tomato thriving on neglect!

Replies: 5    Views: 456
Last Post: 20/06/2014 at 10:54

Secateurs open?

Replies: 5    Views: 731
Last Post: 06/05/2014 at 21:27

Lobelia for wedding at end of May

Replies: 6    Views: 526
Last Post: 04/06/2014 at 22:39


Replies: 8    Views: 925
Last Post: 03/02/2014 at 07:50

Runners on new strawberry plants

Replies: 6    Views: 755
Last Post: 29/09/2013 at 08:39

Nettles for butterflies

Replies: 10    Views: 1823
Last Post: 22/07/2013 at 14:25

What not to grow

Replies: 25    Views: 1702
Last Post: 31/07/2014 at 18:08

Photinia Red Robin pruning?

Replies: 29    Views: 20251
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 10:01

Searching the site?

Replies: 17    Views: 2131
Last Post: 04/02/2014 at 15:30
14 threads returned