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hypercharleyfarley


Latest posts by hypercharleyfarley

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Simplify Gardening - Close to perfect tools?

Posted: 27/01/2016 at 17:20

Hello again - there are pressure washers already - well known make's name begins with "K".  They are quite expensive to buy in the first place,  and as most people are (or will be in the relatively near future) on a water meter, water useage needs to be minimised to reduce overall costs. 

What I think is worth trying is some sort of battery operated fairly heavy rotary-type scrubbing brush (with tough bristles) at the end of a long-ish (adjustable length?) handle - a bit like a paint roller. The handle could have clips to take a water hose if/when necessary.  People who have decking find that it gets very green and slippery during the winter months - and even in summer, given the wet weather we've now had in the UK for the past two and a half years.  Decking and patios need much more maintenance than people sometimes realise - as do block-paviour driveways.  These features are more likely to be found in suburban gardens than at countryside properties, and the householders are more likely to be younger and less-experienced gardening-wise so are likely to be more willing to try new things, as well as "gadgets".  They probably have less free time than older people to look after their garden and outdoor space, so would look favourably at a tool which saved them some time as well as energy.  Older people would probably value a tool which  they could use as often as they felt they needed to, and which didn't need too much physical effort on their part.

 

Wildlife in enclosed rear garden

Posted: 27/01/2016 at 13:34

I don't think a rat would bother digging all that stuff - no need whatsoever as they can get through far smaller holes than that without any problem. 

From the size, I'd say probably a rabbit.  It could have got into your garden via an open gate and needed to find a way out.

Simplify Gardening - Close to perfect tools?

Posted: 26/01/2016 at 10:45

Most hand-held garden tools have evolved over centuries so it's unlikely that you'd be able to create something totally new - however, having said that, there are several "new" areas relating to gardening where tools haven't been created to deal with some of the problems which arise with - say - slippery decking and weed infested patios and  paved driveways.

 

If you could create a battery operated tool which could be connected to a hose pipe when necessary, I think it could appeal to people who want to be able to scrub these areas quickly and easily, and keep them clean without the use of chemical weedkillers.

Arm-wavery

Posted: 22/11/2015 at 19:41

I think Mr Thomson is a relative newcomer to posting on this forum - unless of course he's been using an alias for some time!  If he'd been around for a while - like some of us - he'd know that there was a time when Monty did respond to some of the messages.  I bet Monty still does read the posts here, and I'm sure he knows that the vast majority of us wouldn't dream of criticising his presentation skills and we enjoy all the programmes to which he contributes.  I'm sure he won't rise to this "bait" - as I've done ! - but I'd like him to know that I'm really surprised that someone would be so rude as to make such comments as those in the first post here on this thread, and I'm sure that lots of people would agree.

 

Potatoes lifted later in season went to gluey mush during boiling

Posted: 09/11/2015 at 14:49

I think the problem arose because you left them in the ground too long.  Potatoes should all be harvested at the same time, and - if main crop - they can be stored for a long time, given the right conditions - i.e. dry, dark and frost-free.

Perhaps you'd not realised that the UK-produced potatoes we buy year-round have in fact been stored for months in some instances.  

Thistle & Ragwort control in wildflower meadow

Posted: 18/10/2015 at 19:03

Just a quick word of warning about hedges - as the owner of the land you are supposed to keep them under some sort of control.  There are some rules & regs as to when they may be trimmed , i.e. not when the Powers That Be call "flowering and fruiting times",  If a hedge overhangs a public right of way or road, the local council could (and might) cut them back at any time of year, and it might not work out quite how you'd want it to if you don't take control of things yourself. 

In order to establish who's responsible for a boundary, you'd need to look at the paperwork relating to your land.  If there's a proper plan anywhere, you need to look for a little symbol along the boundary line which looks like a capital  letter T.  If that symbol is on your land it means that you own the boundary and are responsible for its maintenance.  e.g. if it looks like this:

 

______________T____________

 

 

the owner of the land above the line (boundary) is responsible.  If the T were upside down & below the line, whoever owns that land would be responsible.

Thistle & Ragwort control in wildflower meadow

Posted: 18/10/2015 at 18:37

It's probably best to wear gloves if you decide to pull up the ragwort - it can cause a reaction which is worse in some people than others.  However, you can get a simple tool specifically designed for use in digging up ragwort and it does work quite well.  The main thing is not to allow any unwanted plant to set seed - especially those plants whose seeds are spread via wind/movement - so I think you'd be wise to deal with the thistles too.  The ragwort tool might work for their removal, but I've never actually tried it on thistles.

 

Perseverance is the key -  but I think I'd find it easier to deal with the thistles & ragwort than brambles any day.  Those in my field hedges grow up to 7ft a year even though I try to keep them under some sort of control. The hedges are trimmed by a local agricultural contractor at the appropriate time of year, but during the summer months they grow like triffids!

Getting desperate after 8 years.... WISTERIA, help please

Posted: 21/08/2015 at 17:11

First of all, a couple of questions:-  has the plant ever flowered?  Apparently it takes quite a few years before they get to that stage, so it's advisable to buy one when it is in flower, so that you know it is mature enough to flower in the following year.  Secondly, where is it planted?  I ask this because sometimes - when wisterias are planted close to, say, the wall of a house - they suffer from poor soil conditions and lack of water.

To explain a bit further - when I moved to this house years ago there were two apparently well-established wisterias on the front wall.  They'd been planted in holes which had been dug out of a concrete path, so got little rainwater, and I guess the soil was very poor indeed.  I was surprised that there were no flowers the first year I lived here, despite the fact that the plants themselves had obviously been in situ for a very long time.  I read some things about why this might be, and discovered that it was recommended to keep them very well-watered even during the autumn and winter months.  Before the concrete path was removed - a couple of years later - I poured literally two buckets-full of water down each "hole" every week or so, and the following year was rewarded with loads of flowers, having done the recommended pruning in late February.

The path is now long gone - there's open ground now in front of the house, with a sort of shrub bed, and the wisterias are now well-known locally as being the most amazing ones people have ever seen!  The racemes are often as much as 18" long and look like a purple waterfall down the front of the house.

I think that if any of the above applies to your plant, you could try what I did and see what happens next year.  Good luck!

Anyone grow globe artichokes...

Posted: 09/08/2015 at 10:22

I used to grow them and waited until the heads were about the size of a grapefruit!  The way we used to cook & eat them is as follows:-

Trim off the first few outer "petals", cut off the stem at the base of the "head" and boil the whole heads in slightly salted water with a dash of lemon juice.  Need a huge saucepan!  You can tell when they're ready when you can easily push the sharp end of a paring knife into the base of the stem. Remove from the pan and leave the cooked artichokes upside down to drain for a little while.

Eating them is a bit messy - I have some plates which are designed to cope with it all - you pull off each "petal" and dip it into melted seasoned butter before scraping the fleshy part off between your teeth.  The plates have a small shallow "well" for the melted butter, and the edge of the plate looks like petals, so you put the scraped ones there.  Continue scraping/eating until you get to the "choke", which you discard.  The best part of the whole artichoke is the middle bit below the choke - called the "heart" - cut this into smallish pieces & enjoy!

My D has fond memories of eating them as a child and was disappointed when she and her children visited the UK again this year because she wanted my grandchildren to try them and I don't grow them any more - neither could I find any to buy anywhere.

badgers in gardens

Posted: 08/08/2015 at 12:17

Pa had three dairy farms and a milk bottling plant - supplied the local towns & villages.  Before all that, the milk was delivered twice daily, direct from a churn via a pony & milk-float.  Some ancient family pics of my sister and I when we were toddlers, sitting on the pony's back whilst she was still standing there "put to" the float at the end of the milk round.  The pony was called Girlie, and died in 1947 having reached a great age -  a bit like me now!  Initially the cattle were shorthorns and Ayrshires but I the 1950s Pa changed to Friesians.  We grew most of what the cattle were fed - so in some ways it was what nowadays you'd call "mixed farming". Eventually had a combine harvester etc. but I still have (in the shed) Pa's scythe and the huge hay knife which was used to cut the hay from the stack before Jones Balers started making the machinery to bale it.

My land has been used these past two years by a contractor who grows potatoes for McCains frozen chips - it was fascinating seeing the modern machinery in action - I remember how it was done when the only things available were carthorses! 

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