Latest posts by MACAVITYTHECAT

Raised Veg beds design & construction

Posted: 28/10/2013 at 10:51

When I was designing my garden I was unaware the builders who had renovated our house had buried the old roof, asbestos and all, underneath the turf exactly where I was intending to grow edible stuff.  I had no viable alternative except to adapt my plan to raised beds, which actually has worked out brilliantly anyway as its much easier to segregate and tend plants in discrete sections. All of my beds are 12 inches deep and I haven't come across anything yet that hasn't found that sufficient to thrive in. Besides, the cubic capacity of the beds is surprisingly huge. I honestly wouldn't want to have to fill beds any deeper than necessary

Greenhouse Heating

Posted: 28/10/2013 at 10:21

With no affordable way to get electricity to my greenhouse for thermostatic heating (which would definitely be my preference) I am going to stick to my old-fashioned Aladdin Paraffin heaters this year but from lessons learned from last year am going to use fleece instead of bubblewrapping the glass because the paraffin causes a lot of damp. Also, I'm aiming at a sort of cold greenhouse this year. I will only aim to heat if the temperature drops below zero and will deal with the more tender plants by having coldframes inside the greenhouse to create a double-glazed effect.  Fingers crossed, that will work.   Last year I found I had molly-coddled my plants a little too much and with the cold spring ended up struggling to harden stuff off enough to plant outside.  It got to the point I had so many plants still inside when I was trying to get the summer bedding sown that I had to buy a ton of cheap staging to utilise all the height of the greenhouse and then it was murder trying to water everything when I could barely squeeze inside between the racking.

Raised bed and breeding my own slugs!!

Posted: 25/10/2013 at 11:33

I use cat food. Seriously.  Put out an old saucer with cat food in it. Repeat every day for a week or so. Then go out just after dark and scoop the slugs up.  Once the scent trail has been followed by a couple, they seem to come from all directions and some nights there is practically a queue as they emerge from the flowerbeds.

Confession though, I don't actually scoop the slugs up anymore because (1) I'm completely soft in the head and actually end up feeling quite pleased they look so fat and happy because (2) they can't be bothered to eat the plants anymore because they prefer the cat food. So result anyway.  Mind you, as I watch them stuffing their fat little faces, I do tell them to enjoy the moment as I'm planning on using Nemaslug in the spring, so they're getting fair warning

Oops I'm in the dog house

Posted: 18/10/2013 at 14:05

Hi Busy-Lizzie,

Tell the OH to put the laptop into a big container of rice for a week.  Not guaranteed to work but you'd be surprised how many sodden laptops, tablets and phones I've 'repaired' for people by this simple method

compost use

Posted: 18/10/2013 at 12:53

Last year, because I had newly filled raised beds with new compost, my carrots were a disaster. All tops and no trousers.  This year I upended all my used potato bag compost into one of the beds, sowed a packet of carrots into it and, result, lovely edible carrots so I'll definitely do the same next year.  Oh, and because I had more used compost than carrots I also sowed fennel and that, too, has thrived but since I've never grown it before I don't know if it was better or worse for being in less rich soil.

Cress question

Posted: 16/10/2013 at 12:44

Personally, I'd start calling it 'green manure' instead of cress, and pretend I'd planted it for exactly that purpose

Serious! Really

Posted: 15/10/2013 at 10:08

The Banana Splits every saturday morning.

I'm now going to be singing the Tra-La-La song all day

Aspects of a plant pot?

Posted: 15/10/2013 at 10:03

How long is a piece of string?  There's no such thing as a 'one size fits all' plant pot.

As it's for climbing plants it would obviously need some form of trellis or support frame but other than that there's no right or wrong answer.

For safety purposes I supose you could argue that the pot, filled, should not weigh more than 20kg but you would have to work out the weight/cubic capacity of the soil to work out the optimum size.  Why this isn't terribly helpful in real life is, for example, a half oak barrel has excellent depth and moisture retaining properties and is IMO an ideal wooden planter but is so heavy empty it's hard to move and when filled would take the Incredible Hulk to pick it up.

The ideal price of a plant pot is free! Again, in real life, there's no easy answer.  If it is in a prominent display position price may not even be an object. For example, I would pay a lot more for a plant pot situated on my front veranda where the whole world will see it than a plant pot in the back garden where it will be less visible. Other people might take the completely opposite view and prefer to spend more money on their own visual pleasure.

WHEN DID IT ALL start for you .... ..... .... . . . ..

Posted: 15/10/2013 at 09:01

Even the thought of gardening used to make me cringe, hence I lived in a series of apartments for two decades and except for killing the odd basket on the balcony and the inadvertant murder of numerous house plants I never had any plants in my life. Then five years ago my husband and I bought a derelict house with a huge garden purely as an investment to renovate and sell on. No sooner was the house finished than the bottom fell out of the market and rather than sell it off too cheaply we moved in 'until the market recovered'.  For three and a half years, except for paying a gardener to mow the lawn, we totally ignored the fact there was a garden outside. But then, early last year, just when the market locally started moving again, something changed emotionally about our feelings about the house and we realised it had stopped being a 'temporary' place to live and now felt like our home.  I celebrated the decision not to sell the house by buying a single weeping cherry tree and sticking it in the middle of the lawn.  It looked so sad and lonely in the expanse of grass that we returned to the GC and bought 4 more.  And then I thought maybe a little flower bed. And then that looked sad so I dug another, and then another and then... well, by then I had caught the gardening bug and it seems to be a virulent and long term disease to which there is no known cure

Winter Reading

Posted: 11/10/2013 at 09:18

Currently very much enjoying 'Gardening In Pajamas' by Helen Yemm.

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