Latest posts by MACAVITYTHECAT

coffee grounds yea or nay?

Posted: 09/10/2013 at 16:24

I tried adding coffee grounds twice but on both occasions something went crazy overnight and completely excavated the raised beds, presumably looking for what was smelling so good. Can't actually blame them because it smelt rather edible to me too as I was digging it in.

Then again, whilst I have both foxes and squirrels living at the bottom of my garden, maybe caffeine-crazed wildlife isn't an issue where you live.

Looking for some help with a couple of landscape problems please.

Posted: 07/10/2013 at 14:14

Matty and Fairygirl are absolutely right about sanding the varnish. Varnish is far too hard a surface to gloss over - the paint will simply chip. You need to either remove the varnish or at least sand it very well to create a key if you want to do the job properly.

However... there is a cunning alternative to doing it 'properly' called Bullseye 1-2-3 primer. It will adhere to just about anything, and is suitable for exterior work, so will stick to the varnish no problem and then you just gloss over it.  It's a 'cheat' but will save an awful lot of effort. (I am a great fan of low labour solutions)

Free offers

Posted: 04/10/2013 at 09:54

Although, as I've said before, I find T & M a bit hit and miss, I often buy from them because you can convert £5 of Tesco vouchers into £15 on the T & M website and then buy a £70 plug collection on offer at about £17 (I hold on until a good offer is available) so for £2 + postage you get a lot of plug plants and even if only half of them thrive you've still got a bargain.  The plants that do survive are usually pretty good do-ers.  I haven't gone for any of the postage only offers because they don't seem to offer true value for money in comparison.

Should all horticulturalists be qualified? College investigation

Posted: 03/10/2013 at 10:00

A combination of experience and qualifications would be my preference.  There's nothing worse than an 'overeducated idiot' with a shiny degree and no common sense. In my profession (IT) I interview a lot of candidates who look great on paper but in the flesh, well, I wouldn't trust them to change the batteries in my alarm clock.  I'd much prefer anyone, in any profession, to have a proper apprenticeship with on-the-job learning AND organised college day-release so they get the best of both worlds simultaneously and end up with a really great offering for a future employer.

Dangers in your compost

Posted: 03/10/2013 at 09:52

aAcouple of months ago, handling compost with gloves on, I was bitten by something on my wrist. Naturally I scratched the area without thinking, effectively rubbing compost into the broken skin and by the next morning by hand was like five fat cumberland sausages attached to a haggis. And then it got bigger and bigger and a few hours later I was in A & E having intravenous antibiotics. Just a nasty case of cellulitis and I suppose any dirt getting into the subcutaneous level of your skin could do it but the fact it was compost has definitely made me more aware and careful.

Why I will never Use peat free compost

Posted: 01/10/2013 at 16:28

Sadly, Blisters seems to be right about the Legionaires disease:

Dr Martin Donaghy, HPS medical director, said: "Following the identification of five cases of an unusual form of legionnaires' disease in Lothian and Tayside, Health Protection Scotland is co-ordinating an incident management team to investigate this issue."It is believed that the four cases from NHS Lothian and the one case from NHS Tayside have arisen from the Legionella longbeachae strain found in compost and potting materials. This is an uncommon but recognised international phenomenon." 

But I'm with you, Waterbutts, in believing the answer for me personally, at least, is making and using my own compost.  Not only because of the environmental issue of Peat usage which I remain convinced about, but because Peaty compost is horrible if it dries out and the peatfree compost I have tried this year was pretty much garbage in both meanings of the word


T&M freebies (postage to pay offer)

Posted: 30/09/2013 at 09:28

I find T & M very hit and miss. Somewhere between a third to a half of the plugs I buy don't make it. I keep buying from them, though, because I never actually learn my lesson. If I had a pound for everytime I'd said 'never again' to T & M only to lemming-like leap after yet another 'offer' I would be rich enough to go to a proper nursery and buy decent plants instead.

The demise of our native songthrush.

Posted: 24/09/2013 at 13:08

I currently have quite a number of adolescent thrushes and robins in the garden.  I bought a job-lot of mealworms so I fill up a ground-feeder for them every day.   I won a very long, loud argument with my husband who wanted me to cut back the hedges in June and I said I thought the birds had nested late this year and so wanted the hedges left undisturbed another month just in case. So we had a scraggly, unkempt hedge for half the summer but now I have significantly more bird babies than normal, so maybe I was right about not touching the hedges earlier.

Alien abduction?

Posted: 24/09/2013 at 12:52

Happy news!!  Frank, Dave and one of the Bobs did survive the attack (or have been returned by the aliens, depending on your point of view).  Whatever happened must have frightened them so badly that they hid out of sight under the marginal plants shelf but they have finally ventured out for food.  Obviously I'm still sad about the other Bobs (btw... all the Bobs were identical hence the identical names) but at least my enthusiasm for the pond has returned as now I feel an obligation to get my three survivors into a safer environment asap.

Buying the right tool

Posted: 24/09/2013 at 12:47

Oh, MamboMouse, you made me feel so happy with your comment about keeping the wooden spades for 'nice'   I've always been too emabrrassed to admit it before but the truth is that I usually buy two of every tool for my potting shed... One gets to hang up in gleaming, pristine prettiness and the other actually gets used.

Back to answering Gardenqueen's original question, the comments about Spear & Jackson tools reminded me that since I bought their 3/4 sized border fork and spade I've never used any of my full-sized ones so, in retrospect, I wouldn't have bothered buying any of my full 'man-sized' tools at all.  Having said that, a lot of ladies these days are a lot taller and stronger than I am.  What on earth are they feeding kids these days???

Discussions started by MACAVITYTHECAT


a bit of a whine?? 
Replies: 17    Views: 1616
Last Post: 29/11/2013 at 08:40

What to do...

Unexpected donation of multudinous perennials 
Replies: 11    Views: 1151
Last Post: 30/10/2013 at 16:53

Alien abduction?

pond problems 
Replies: 14    Views: 1316
Last Post: 24/09/2013 at 12:52
3 threads returned