Katie Blue

Latest posts by Katie Blue

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Talkback: Dung-flies and rat-tailed maggots

Posted: 30/05/2012 at 18:12

phew! thanks. I have noticed the shed skins on the surface of the beds so whatever they were they have burrowed out and gone. No damage to any crops cos I hadn't planted any yet!


Posted: 28/05/2012 at 12:23

Yes! I think I'll start a be nice to slugs campaign,

Reminds me of a joke I heard recently:

Q. What did the slug say to the snail?

A. Big Issue?

Talkback: Robins in the garden

Posted: 25/05/2012 at 23:00

I put mealworms out for the robin but her preferred soggy digestive biscuits!!

Talkback: Robins in the garden

Posted: 25/05/2012 at 22:59

thanks for all those tips for bird food. we've just moved to a house in the country and the first thing my partner did the first day we were here (before we'd even unpacked!) was to go out and build a bird table. I was so surprised and delighted. He used scrap wood and an old wooden pole and a load of wooden childrens building blocks of london buildings to edge it! He drove me all over the countryside to get bird food and equipped teh table with 4 different hanging feeders. He then spent the next 2 days getting quite frustrated that no bird came anywhere near it. Day 3 our first visitor was a curious robin, soon followed by coal tits, great tits, grren finches and even the odd crow! The robin has been joined this week by a mate. Presume its a breeding pair. Can't tell the difference between male and female robins, as they look the same. We spend hours watching them at meal and tea break times and it is a transforming experience.

The only downside was coming out last week to find a dead greenfinch hanging by its leg in teh metal feeder. This was a silver metal peanut feeder with twist on top and bottom, much like a jamjar, the poor thing had caught its toe in the twist shit mechanism and had probably died of shock trying to free itself. Very distressing, I won't be using those feeders again. has anyone else heard of this happening, Had this happen?


Posted: 25/05/2012 at 01:51

what about buddleia?you can grow it from seed and it can grow up to 1m high in its first year. Its great for attracting bees and other pollinating insects to the garden. You can also grow it from cuttings and as it can pop up on derilict sights as a weed it shouldn't be hard to get hold of some. Not for everyone I guess,as it can seed everywhere, but I am trying to add a naturalised hedge along an exposed fence to act as a windbreak and I am going to try and grow some to mis in with the other planting. I love the idea of using dogwood too - the stems can look great in the winter when theres not much colour in the garden.

Gardens devoid of life

Posted: 25/05/2012 at 01:46

I think the trend for "minimal" style gardening is driven not just by design but by the fact that houses and therefore gardens are getting smaller, our living spaces are shrinking and will continue to do so as world population grows. How many long victorian gardens I remember so well from my childhood have been divided in half and built on? If these new gardens are seen as an extension of the house, an outdoor room then the emphasis is on the look rather than the plants. My local garden centre is full of dwarf plants, flowers and shrubs suitable for small gardens. Its actually hard to get a rambling rose or a wisteria, anything "old fashioned" . Modern hybrids have their uses but our chioices as gardeners are getting more limited every year and many of our heritage plants are dying out. Chelsea showcases the best of gardeners and the best of the new breed, sometimes its still style over content and economics over ecology. But all the designers work for months, sometimes all year, planning and growing for their gardens whatever we think of the end result. we still see some amazing and diverse gardens at Chelsea, so perhaps all is not lost just yet...!


Posted: 25/05/2012 at 01:00

I've just been out with a torch and gathered up about 20 in under 5 minutes. these have goen in the borwn compost bin that the council take away every fortnight as I can't bear to squish them. Wouldn't touch slug pellets. Egg shells have never worked for me, I find you need to wash them first or teh eggy bits attract slugs!! I have just put out a beer trap as well. This always works but I wonder if that too attracts more slugs.

My mum has "slug stomping shoes" for the garden, She's not squeamish about it!!

Help! How can you get rid of grass in the border?

Posted: 25/05/2012 at 00:53

try looking up no dig gardening on teh web, should gets lots of advice about how to go about suppressing the grass without digging or expense and you should be able to do it without losing the plants you have in by mulching round them.

twine + tits = damage to plants

Posted: 25/05/2012 at 00:47

the thrifty tips section on the forum suggests using old tights (any colour) for tying up and staking. Its strong enough, flexible, etc and works well for all manner of plant supports and its not fibrous so the birds should leave it alone.

Incidently I had to cut a fibrous (coconut fibre or similar) hanging basket liner down today to fit my basket and I have thrown the fibrous offcuts down near the flower bed to see if the tits use it for nesting material. Hopefully it'll keep them busy and off my other plants...


Posted: 24/05/2012 at 23:28

Am going to try growing Atlantic Giants this year myself, on a raised no dig bed with plenty of well rotted manure in the bottom layers as they do like their moisture and plenty of feed if they are going to get big. If you are growing them on the flat put the growing fruit onto a tile or piece of wood, helps against rot and pest damage. Most of all patience required as they take a long time to grow. Resist lifting the pumpkin by the stalk as it can damage the plant. And let it "cure" when you pick it if you are going to store them for winter i.e dry it in the sun for a week -12 days, or in a greenhouse or inside if weather turns wet. Good luck!

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