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Laura Corin

Latest posts by Laura Corin

1 to 10 of 58

Do you really need special seed compost?

Posted: 15/04/2014 at 14:51

I've grown annual and perennial flowers from seed in the past, and always bought special seed compost.  This year, raising veg, I've just been using the green waste compost from the local authority to start my seeds of on the windowsill.  It seems to be sterile, but it's not at all fine and sieved.  The big seeds are happy (peas, squash) - no surprise there.  But I've also sown tiny chives and garlic chives in it, and they are coming up well too.

Is seed compost a con, or are there some seeds that really need the fine stuff?


Have you sown any seeds yet this year?

Posted: 27/02/2014 at 18:16

I grew Monarda from seed last year and it was really easy - they are now clumping up nicely in the beds around my patio.

Rotation with only two beds?

Posted: 19/02/2014 at 22:34

I'm not planning on potatoes - my current thoughts are to have one bed for brassicas, the other for peas, carrots salads, beetroot and turnips.



Rotation with only two beds?

Posted: 18/02/2014 at 22:16

Thanks, Dove.  I'll do my best.  If the growing goes well this year, I might put in another bed anyway.


Rotation with only two beds?

Posted: 18/02/2014 at 13:23

I've just created two raised beds, each 4 feet by 4 feet.  I've designated one for brassicas and the other one for the rest.  I'm a bit worried that a two year rotation won't be enough to keep down pests/diseases.  Any experience?  I don't want to use less than one complete bed for brassicas, as I want to grow Chinese veg (Kailan, etc.) in addition to purple sprouting broccoli.



Fertilising the Veg Garden

Posted: 28/01/2014 at 21:09

I lived in China for many years.  Certainly when I first lived there - 1985/6 - night soil was collected by 'honey wagons' and put on fields.  It is said to be one of the causes of endemic hepatitis in the Chinese population.

If you are only spreading your own septic tank waste on the soil, I suppose that you are only likely to come across your own diseases.  Unless you ever have visitors using your loos.....

I have a septic tank and I'm not keen on experimenting with the contents.



Can I really plant these peas and carrots so early?

Posted: 26/01/2014 at 22:56

Thanks all - I'll put the cloches on but wait a bit - maybe start some peas on my window sill.


Can I really plant these peas and carrots so early?

Posted: 26/01/2014 at 20:41

This is my first year growing much veg.  I have raised beds filled with a mixture of top soil and local authority green waste compost, with some of my own garden compost added in.  Two of the seed packets - Pea Twinkle and Carrot Early Nantes 2 - say that I can sow under cloches in February.  Is this likely to produce decent results or am I better off just waiting a bit?  I'm planning on sowing in batches through the spring.  

I live in southern Scotland, five miles from the sea.  The site is exposed but the beds are behind a deep windbreak.  Our last frost is usually in early May.

Many thanks


realy big empty garden

Posted: 04/07/2012 at 14:25

I love the idea of prairie gardens, but on a large scale one has to think about rabbits and possibly deer if (as I assume the questioner is) the garden is in the country.  It is certainly possible to securely rabbit-fence a hectare of ground, but fencing becomes pricy (and only works if the gates are kept shut - Laura glares at younger son).  I am working on prairie-style planting within my rabbit fence, but outside of it am concentrating on plants that are less likely to become rabbit food.

realy big empty garden

Posted: 04/07/2012 at 07:45

Just another note.  Be very aware of how much land you are 'bringing into' the garden and the amount of work that this implies.  Large areas, even relatively unmanaged ones, involve a lot of work.  I have a friend who has a three acre very managed woodland-style garden.  She spends 40 hours a week tending it.

I don't have that kind of time to work in the garden (I have children and a job).  I have to restrain myself from cutting more beds that need weeding: it's great to think big, but big can mean lots of weeds.  Tasks I have to do every year that maybe wouldn't happen in smaller gardens:

Nettle control in the windbreak/woods; dock control in the orchard; hogweed control everywhere.

Once a year hiring a heavy-duty brush cutter to cut the orchard grass, then a week later raking it and putting it as mulch around the fruit trees and new trees in the woods.

Strimming between growing shrubs.

Keeping areas around hundreds of newly-planted trees grass/weed free so that they can flourish.

Dealing with large numbers of trees.  A lot of ours are mature and they do fall over/lose branches.  One time my husband had to cut a path out of the gate with a chainsaw so that I could get the children from school.

Trying to find time to mow a large area of lawn between weather and schedule.  If left too long/mowed too wet it can look dreadful (as at the moment).

Machinery to obtain/maintain: chainsaw, strimmer, ride-one mower (expensive to buy and incovenient to service), buy or hire chipper, hire or buy log splitter, hire brush cutter, hedge clippers?  The machinery has to be better quality/more robust than you would use in a small garden.  A cheap chainsaw will die in no time.  Ditto strimmer, etc.

Composting on a large scale.  At the beginning of the summer I make sure that I have three large cube compost bins empty because the grass clippings (plus scrunched newspaper/cardboard) from the lawn will fill them in no time.

A full weekend (at least) each year for the whole family of splitting wood for the woodstove.  This is on top of Husband's work with the chain saw to cut manageable lengths.

Tips to help deal with the garden.  Use mulch fabric as much as possible to reduce weeding.  Buy a chipper or hire one once a year so that any stray branches can be chipped to make mulch to cover the fabric.  Get a woodstove once you have trees big enough to burn - if you decide to plant enough trees that this will make sense.  

That being said: we love our garden and wouldn't swap it.  It's just turned out to be more work than we expected, and we've had to adjust our expectations about the amount of work and just how pristine it can be.


1 to 10 of 58

Discussions started by Laura Corin

Do you really need special seed compost?

Replies: 5    Views: 219
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 06:42

Rotation with only two beds?

Replies: 5    Views: 259
Last Post: 20/02/2014 at 10:33

Can I really plant these peas and carrots so early?

Replies: 5    Views: 512
Last Post: 05/02/2014 at 17:28

Is this area suitable for growing veg?

Replies: 0    Views: 465
Last Post: 24/06/2012 at 21:56

Newspaper under woodchips as mulch?

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Last Post: 15/06/2012 at 07:44

Is anyone growing Asian pears?

Replies: 0    Views: 272
Last Post: 13/06/2012 at 07:39

Should I be hand pollinating my fruit trees?

Replies: 3    Views: 703
Last Post: 15/05/2012 at 22:36

Aphids on seedlings

Replies: 1    Views: 400
Last Post: 08/05/2012 at 21:28

Mulching after rain - compacting soil?

Replies: 2    Views: 673
Last Post: 23/04/2012 at 19:08

Digging a natural, unlined pond?

Replies: 2    Views: 681
Last Post: 17/04/2012 at 22:18

Help me to love my peonies

Replies: 2    Views: 564
Last Post: 13/04/2012 at 22:55
11 threads returned