Latest posts by Madeleine51

Emptying a compost bin

Posted: 20/04/2014 at 16:22

I grow some comfrey in a pot on my allotment and every now and then throw some of the leaves into my primary bin  to help accelerate decomposition. I use two wooden bins and empty the contents into bin 2 at the end of winter and I think the comfrey def seems to speed things up.

Companion planting

Posted: 20/04/2014 at 15:48

Hi All.

I would like to try companion planting to help keep away pests and encourage healthy growth in the allotment and vege garden at home.

Have any of you experienced growers some tips on this and are there any definite no-no's on this subject?

Many thanks




Heather and how to care for it?

Posted: 06/04/2014 at 12:19

I have had several heathers in my garden for many years.  I believe they prefer ericacious compost (they  grow on healthlands in the wild which are usually very acidic).  I incorporate the E compost into the soil before planting and then give them a mulch of same every two or a three years.  The main thing about heathers is to always give them a good "hair cut" after they have flowered otherwise they become ragged and untidy. Cut them back to just below where they flowered (the seeds remain)  with scissors if the plants are small or with shears as they get bigger.  Good luck! Lovely plants 

Bamboo canes

Posted: 06/04/2014 at 11:53

Thanks everyone.  Feel as if I have been a naughty girl to neglect them  I shall definitely take more care from now on and give them more TLC after using them. In addition at home, looks as if the best solution would be to beg OH if I can have some rafter space in his garage to keep the the long canes.

Great. Problem solved! 

Bamboo canes

Posted: 04/04/2014 at 21:04


Thanks for replying - been on granny duty since posting this yesterday.

I generally keep them either lying flat on the ground at the back of my allotment or along some brackets my husband has put on the back of the workshop. They become brittle and snap easily.

Bamboo canes

Posted: 03/04/2014 at 17:03

Hello All

At this time of year I am getting my bamboo canes ready for my runner beans and as usual, every year I have to buy  more to make up for the reduced length due to the ends rotting. They only seem to last about 2 years full length before I have to remove a foot or so to make them strong enough to push into the ground. Very annoying.

So my question is, does anyone have a tried and tested remedy for prolonging their life?  I usually remove them during my autumn tidy up as soon as the crop has finished so it's not as if they are left in the ground over wet winters. This year I thought I might buy the longest length I can find so that if I do have to chop them, they would last a bit longer. I found the green painted metal ones I bought for my sweet peas a few years ago were a complete waste of money as the coating peeled off in no time at all.

Does anyone perhaps dip them in a solution or paint them or something?








Posted: 09/02/2014 at 23:51

Thanks chicky

Just typed a load and then zapped it away by mistake  so here I go again

I was thinking of trying a few flower seeds which state on pkt can be sown in Feb. Doing as you say and opening vents of HP for a few days when germinated, I wondered if it might work if I then transferred  them to unheated greenhouse, and place them on shelves with the zipped up plastic covers on they originally came with to keep them warmer out there and also cover the trays with lids .That way it might take away any excess cold.

OH doesn't like trays on windowsills and besides, things used to get so leggy

Would that be feasible do you think?


Conditions for raising seedlings

Posted: 09/02/2014 at 22:59

I use the gardman plastic covered mini greenhouses without the covers as shelving for seed trays in my unheated greenhouse.  I have figured that as the greenhouse is a high sided one, I should be able to put the clear cover over the shelves to provide extra warmth in there instead of bubble wrap.


Posted: 09/02/2014 at 22:37

Mine has no temperature control facility.  You seem to either use it unplugged or turned on. 

Yes I still am unable to find instructions and gardening books only seem to touch the surface of the subject when talking about propagating.

More questions - sorry

1)  matting - do I need to re-wet it if it dries out?

2)  Should I wipe off any build up of moisture hanging from the lid?  

3)  When do I open the vents?  Is it when seed packet instructions say "remove lid"? 

Also how long do I keep seedlings in there after they have germinated.  I only have an unheated greenhouse (I am thinking of putting the plastic covers on the cheap  shelf units I have in there to provided some snugness instead of bubble wrapping the whole inside)   I should imagine that when any seeds have germinated, to whip the lids off and expose them to cold unheated greenhouse/conservatory air would kill them at this time of year.

Sorry about this


Posted: 08/02/2014 at 15:24


 It's a Sankey one. I have looked underneath and found an information website but it "cannot be found". I did wonder if perhaps the fabric is just for packaging.

Discussions started by Madeleine51

forum page changes

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Harvesting Butternut Squash

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Companion planting

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Bamboo canes

Extending the life of bamboo canes 
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I have recently inherited a heated propogator which has no instructions.  
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Homemade Cloches

How I make my own mini polytunnels 
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What are people sowing right now?

Seed sowing in greenhouses in early Feb 
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Last Post: 04/02/2014 at 20:53

Compost for sowing seeds

Does anyone out there make their own compost for sowing seeds 
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Outdoor Cucumbers

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To Manure or not to Manure

Runner Bean patch 
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Last Post: 09/07/2013 at 16:41
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