Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

Supporting peas in container

Posted: 30/04/2016 at 22:07

If you choose a dwarf variety, you can just push some twiggy sticks in among them  for support.

Beware bark chippings!

Posted: 30/04/2016 at 08:55

 I am sure the compost is tittering at our comments!

Beware bark chippings!

Posted: 30/04/2016 at 08:24

Overwatering? Our climate is such that  Devon would be barren by now if too much water was a problem. I am too lazy to be guilty of over watering, and anyway  a new hedge needs regular water.

I am happy to report that after a second watering, followed by one the coldest nights since the plants went in, they look fine this morning, with little or so fresh damage. So fingers crossed....    I am convinced now that the weather and the water are not to blame, although I doubt if I can prove anything to B&Q.

I wouldn't rubbish all their products either. Following advice from Which? I amusing their Verve MP compost for sowing as well as potting this year, with excellent results But if I want woodchip again, I will approach our local tree surgeon, who regularly creates and dumps chippings.

Late vegetable bed

Posted: 30/04/2016 at 08:13

Don't bother trying broad  beans this summer, it's too late, but you could start some in the autumnfor next year. French and runner beans might do their stuff in August, but not broad beans.

Beware bark chippings!

Posted: 29/04/2016 at 21:41

That's a useful idea, Redwing. I don't think we'll get anything done until after the B Hol weekend, and perhaps we'll know by then how the hedge is doing. I'll.try tomorrow to get something in writing from the supplier.

We have watered the hedge again tonight,  but I expect it may get worse before it gets better. I draped fleece over a couple of plants just to rule out frost damage, but we're in Devon, and these plants are suppose to tolerate between 5 and 10 degrees of frost. Even if it goes down to 2 tonight as predicted, the temperature shouldn't be a problem.

Beware bark chippings!

Posted: 29/04/2016 at 19:48

Thanks, Verdun, we'll consider that. I have just checked four spare plants that the supplier sent, which we  planted in a rather wild part of the garden, just in case any of the others didn't take. They are all fine, with no sign of similar damage, so the evidence is  mounting.

Beware bark chippings!

Posted: 29/04/2016 at 18:42

There has been no problem in similar temperatures for weeks now. And I think it is significant that some of the worst damage is on shoots that are low down on the plants and well shelltered by a fence; the most exposed top shoots have got off relatively lightly. The damage came straight after the watering, which also supports the "toxic mulch" theory, as this would be when the plants absorbed the toxins.

I have now found a couple of US websites discussing "toxic mulch" (google it). It seems to happen when mulch is badly stored, and these compacted packs of wood chippings are a particular risk when they are damp, as ours were.

Late vegetable bed

Posted: 29/04/2016 at 18:10

It's a bit late for peas, but you might get a bit of a crop from French beans.

If you start a courgette in a large pot it might just be OK until July.  Or squashes, or cucumbers, they often develop quite late.  

I wouldn't recommend sprouts in a raised bed, at least they never work in mine. They need firm soil, and the plants can get very heavy and topple over.  If you do want to try to grow some by next winter, you'd need to find a bed for your seedlings to grow in until July, and then transplant them. They do take up a lot of room.

Beware bark chippings!

Posted: 29/04/2016 at 17:52

Last month we planted a new hedge of  variegated griselinia. We bough the plants online from Hedges Direct, and were very pleased with the quality and condition. The hedge seemed to settle in and be doing well, with plenty of rain.

About a week ago we put a mulch of bark chippings (Verve, from B&Q) around them to suppress weeds.  The chippings seemed a bit damp and a little mouldy in parts, but when we had done, the hedge looked great.  Then couple of days ago we gave it all a good watering with the hose, as it hasn't rained a lot.

Today we noticed that most of the young leaves on the new shoots had gone dark and soft. I rang Hedges Direct, who said that bark chippings can cause problems, as the wood may have been treated with various chemicals, which get absorbed by the plants.

So we have spent the whole afternoon doing as thye suggested:  removing the bark, trimming back the damaged shoots, applying some bonemeal feed, and watering it well to flush through any bad stuff. We don't know if this will work. If we lose the hedge I'll be devastated.

Has anyone else had an experience like this? We have used bark chippings before, but probably not on young, newly planted shrubs.  I will take the remaining bark back to the store and complain, but we have spent many hours applying and then removing it, with nothing to show for our efforts except a sickly hedge.

Late vegetable bed

Posted: 29/04/2016 at 11:52

Another thought (apart fro my misspelling of "too"!) : 8 ft wide is not very manageable. Have you thought about how you're going to reach the middle of the bed without treading on the soil? Would two narrower beds be feasible? 

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