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Latest posts by hypercharleyfarley

vegetables and horse manure

Posted: 18/02/2013 at 22:05

Best not to sow carrots in freshly manured soil.  They often grow in a "fork" shape then, so although their weight/volume might be OK, the useable part (after any peeling etc) will be less than it would otherwise be.

As far as horse-muck's concerned - as with any manure - it needs to be well rotted before you use it.  These days more and more people are using wood shavings as bedding for horses (rather than straw) and this means it takes rather longer to rot down than the conventional straw bedding.  I've used wood-shavings bedding from family ponies' stabling in the past - left it in closed plastic bags for 12 months though!

what can I put in compost

Posted: 18/02/2013 at 19:35

Not sure what you mean by " composter".  However, if it's one of those Dalek-type plastic bins it's important that there's some way for worms to find their way in.  I have two of these bins + a big compost heap over the fence in the field, so perhaps it'll help if I tell you about the Daleks. They are in an area which is paved with concrete slabs -with approx half-inch gaps between the slabs.  Loads of worms have made their way in.

I put all sorts of kitchen waste (not cooked food) - e..g.  vegetable/fruit peelings, tea bags, coffee grounds, eggshells, contents of my vacuum cleaner, fluff from tumble dryer, shredded paper, garden greenery (but not weeds which have obvious seed heads), chopped-up prunings, some lawn-mowings, dead flowers & so on.  It's important not to have a deep layer of any one thing - so most of the lawn cuttings & large twiggy stuff/branches & so on go on to the big heap in the field, & I rely on the cattle's curiosty to trample the heap fro time to time, which means I don't have to turn it - which is something you're supposed to do on a regular basis.  For turning the contents of the Daleks I have a gadget which looks a bit like a folded arrowhead on a stick.  I push it down into the Daleks' contents from time to time & the folded arrowhead opens up as I pull the whole thing out again & this disturbs the layers.  Sorry I can't remember what it's called, or the manufacturer, but I bet somebody out there knows!  It helps if the compost is in a sunny spot - mine isn't - as heat helps decomposition.  I'm sure other posters will explain a bit more, but here's a start, anyway.........

Can we build a fence tight to a hedge?

Posted: 16/02/2013 at 22:29

Hello again - a couple of things to bear in mind though:  do you know who is responsible for the boundary fence/hedge?  are there any restrictions ref height?  You should be able to find out via your solicitor/legal stuff/deeds etc. 


For instance, if you have a plan of the plot, this is how to work out who's responsible.  They boundaries will  be shown as a line like this ________T__________ and the owner of the land on which the T falls is responsible for that boundary.


Most new-ish properties carry restrictions as to the height of fences, hedges etc. & these should be indicated in any paperwork you have following the house purchase.  There's an "inside" and an "outside" for fences too - the convention is that you put any (visible) posts on the inside - e.g. as with close-boarded fencing.   If you do decide to put a fence up, I'd suggest you consider putting a horizontal board at ground level first & then put the panels on top of it.  This means that if there's a problem with wood rotting in future, you only need to replace the board & not the whole panel.

Can we build a fence tight to a hedge?

Posted: 16/02/2013 at 20:56

this might sound a daft question, but why do you want a fence as opposed to a hedge?   If you need some sort of dog-proof boundary, for example, you could have some stock netting + associated posts.  The beech would soon grow through the netting and would look good all year round.  I have done this with a hawthorn hedge and now the posts/netting are hidden by the hedge itself.  Stock netting is made from strong galvanised wire in squares & rectangles & is about 3ft high.  I can't remember how many yards/metres you get per roll. I think it was designed to stop lambs escaping, & the way to fix it is so that the edge with the rectangles goes at ground level, with the edge with the squares (which are larger) at the top.  I know this sounds confusing, but the idea is that small animals can't get through easily - though cats & rabbits can.  I suppose very tiny/small toy dogs could too, but something like a Jack Russell terrier couldn't.


You could put solid fence panels if you want to, but the "downside" of this may well be that the hedge gets less rainwater and less sunshine, and may grow more slowly as a result.  Another problem might be that when you paint/creosote the fence panels, the paint could affect the growth as well - creosote almost certainly would. 


As with any new-ish hedge, it's important to see it doesn't dry out (no prob this past year!) and to use something in the way of fertiliser & mulch at least once a year, which will encourage growth.  My favourite hedge is a mix of beech & holly - looks really good all year round.

Mossy lawn

Posted: 15/02/2013 at 20:47

I don't think there's an easy answer for you, unfortunately.  If there's mostly moss on the lawn you're mowing, it's probably there because the grass won't grow well under those particular prevailing conditions.  Is it very shaded?  is it at the bottom of sloping ground?  both of these situations can mean that moss is likely to flourish at the expense of grass - as I know only too well ref my own garden.  Even if you were to re-turf, moss would probably win in the end.

I've given up trying now - but at least that part of the "lawn" is green!

Mole problem.

Posted: 15/02/2013 at 20:39

It's probably only one mole - apparently they are solitary creatures & only get together to mate.  Maybe it's that time of year though..........


However, there are a few things you can do to try to make them go elsewhere.  They don't like noise or (to them) strange smells, so you can try the following:

pour a small amount of strong-smelling stuff down through a small hole you make down through what looks like the biggest molehill, in order to reach the tunnel beneath.  Jeyes Fluid perhaps, or bleach - or drop a mothball or two down there.

get a toy windmill & push the stick down through one of the molehills.  Apparently they don't like the noise/vibration it makes. 

if you can't get a windmill, get a large plastic bottle, cut the bottom off it & then stick the bottle upside down & down through the molehill.  The sound of the wind passing over the top of it makes a noise they don't like.  Old CDs tied loosely to a stick work too - any noise the disc makes as it hits the stick must be the reason, I suppose.

apart from having to rake/spread the soil back over the surface, a problem arises when the tunnels themselves finally subside & this makes a lawn surface uneven.

one good thing, however, is that you probably have good soil - with plenty of worms!

What's the weather like in your area?

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 18:31

much warmer here today - had about 2" of snow yesterday but woke up this morning to find it all gone, thank goodness.  There's more water lying on the roads than I've ever seen - even the main trunk roads, and more potholes than ever too.  Quite a job to avoid both when driving around today.    There's water lying in fields which are normally quite dry, and local rivers flooding too.


Posted: 13/02/2013 at 14:15

they won't re-grow from the "brown" part - but it is possible to "cover it up" so to speak, though I'm not sure if it would work so well with a small pot-grown one.  For example, I had to remove part of a large conifer hedge some years ago, when widening the driveway to my house.  This left the "last" one in the line with a totally brown and bald side.  I got some of those tree ties (which you use to fix a sapling to a post) and used them to tie the branches together across the gap which had been created.  Over a relatively short space of time, the remaining branches grew across the gap and now you'd never guess how it once looked.  Obviously it did take time, but was well worth it.  Maybe give it a try - you've nothing to lose, I guess!

Talkback: Planting to cut winter fuel bills

Posted: 13/02/2013 at 13:05

rendered walls do often seem to have more problems with damp etc than you might expect - depends a bit on whether the render was done as an initial part of the construction or whether it was added at a later stage to unify the apearance of a property where there have been additions/extensions/alterations using different materials.  These can (and do) expand and contract at slightly different rates, depending of course on the weather and aspect.   I believe some rendering is more able to "breathe" than others, but the fact that it's often painted as well can mean that the paint acts as a sort of waterproof layer which - if it has any breaks in it - can lead to rainwater getting behind the render.   Problems arise because the dampness is more or less trapped and can't evaporate easily.

A neighbour of mine - who is a builder - says that many more people than usual have contacted him lately to ask for help in dealing with dampness in walls - even brick walls which he'd usually expect to suffer less.  All due to the prolonged rain we've had over the past year, he says, which has meant that there has been little opportunity for things to dry out before the next lot of rain............

BBC Archers Message-Board

Posted: 11/02/2013 at 15:21

Hi Obs - it'd be nice if we could start a totally-unconnected-with-gardening thread about dogs, wouldn't it!

My two are fine, by the way - the younger one had to have his annual booster jab this morning & the vet said she couldn't believe it was a year since I first took him there!

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