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Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

The Dirty End of the Stick

Posted: 29/06/2014 at 00:16
Of course most will be able to substitute the, 'Dirty end' To a more explicit phrase. Back in 1964, Val and I moved into a council flat. To date. I still live here. We were at the time, the youngest married couple in the row. It was still the era, when neighbours were just that. To keep things to a minimum. Someone falls flat on their face in the street. Send for Mick or Val. An elderly couple a few doors away. The wife came banging on the front door. Mick, Mick, come quick. My chimney is on fire. Most strange. Because living next dor to her was a friend of ours, and he was a fireman. Anyway I trotted along. Got some salt luv. A drum of salt applied to the fire in the grate soon solved the problem. Advice. Get the chimney swept. Anothe neighbour, who bore the same surname as us. Bang, bang at the door. Quick Mick. I think the woman next door has done herself in. To this day. I don't know how attention was drawn to the event. In short. I broke in. The scrorny woman was laid onher bed, surrounded by a litter of young puppies. These tiny beasts had covered the room and bed with their excrement. I acted fast and managed to revive the woman. The the ambulance arrived and off she went. Time passed and no thank you. Then suddenly it was, action replay. So the same took place. In time the only responce fromthat lady was. Foul mouthing and total abuse. Still Val and I beleieved we had show true chritstian love and done our best. It must have been a couple of years later. Hammering and thumping at the front door. Our next door neighbour stood shaking. Mick you must come quick. Mrs Allen from along the road. Her old man has escaped from the mental hospital. He's after her with an axe. She was totally starkers. Never did I think that Val, my beloved wife might soon be a widow. I managed to get between the two. This guy really was off this planet. I managed to stall the situation until the police arrived. Thanks Val for dialing three nines. Ages went by and then verbal insults etc from the one, whose life I had saved on at least three occassions. Such is life.

The book. By Mike Allen.

Posted: 28/06/2014 at 23:48
Philiper. Thanks for your honest comments. Truly. I had no idea that I tended to rant on about my qualifications etc. My apologies. However in some form of defense, some remarks that sparked this off, certainly not very kind. At the end of the day. We have all had our say. Water under the bridge. It would be nice to hear from Chris and take note of his/her feelings.

Edd. Thanks for your input. I am so pleased that you and many others enjoy my expertise and humour.

On the side. Mike is quite a sensitive kind of person. In brief. Val and I were always the first port of call, by persons in trouble, even total strangers. We'd do our best, only to find, some time later we ended up with the dirty end of the stick. I will try and explain this in a seperate post.
Thanks again for the fine counsel.

A Simple test

Posted: 27/06/2014 at 23:45

Time and again members post questions relating to poolry plants.  As I have so often said. Many wiered and wonderful thinggs are taking place outhere.  Please before getting yourself into a panic attack. Get a peice of plastic tube.  Poke it into the soil around your ailing plant.  Go on. push it in at least a foo or even more.  Now withdraw it..  Now place the end on a clean sheet of paper. Then from the other end. Poke a threader.  This wil eject the contents of the tube.  You will now be able to examine the moisture content of the sub soil. Moer often than not. This wil provide you with much information..  If at a depth of say one foot and the soil is dry. Water. Nine out f ten times.  A plants decline is due to lack of or over watering.

The book. By Mike Allen.

Posted: 27/06/2014 at 23:14

OK Orchid Lady. Mike is a man of his word.  Should the book ever get written and published.  You sweet lady will receive a first edition. Signed copy.

Now then.  My outline is for the book to be different of course to any other gardening book. I recently asked on the forum, if any members might decline to be mentioned.  I want this book to be a living thing, not some stuffy old relic from the past.  I have addmitted that I can be something of a renegade. Often diversing from the, 'Experts'.  I don't wish to give away too much here and now.  However in the lite of what I consider  a recent criticism. My profession training ony consisted of my groundsmans course. That was supplied via UCL at their grounds at Motspur Park.  Surrey.  There I learned the lot and gained my certs.  My gaining a first in horticulture. I was self taught.  My various Fellowships etc. Came at a price.  Hard constant study and learning, and to have letters after my name.  A gross annual subscription.  Now at the age of 75, I have been addmitted to the plant Pathologist organisation.  Once again pay out time. For the benefit of members who might have an assortment of ideas about me.  During my working days. The salary was crap.  For shopping, Val and I had around eighteen bob a week to keep house and body on.  Might I say.  Any commenters who believe we old uns had a better deal.  COBBLERS.  Had these present day opportunities been around, I would have by now been a Prof; Believe me. Throughout my life. I have worked 'B' hard.  I wish to continue learning and to impart knowledge to others.

Winter / Next Spring Bedding

Posted: 27/06/2014 at 22:49

Interesting point.  I so often liken gardeners to artist.  Although the design, creation of our eyes, must be the top of creation.  It has been and so often remains the idea that wehn we loook at something.  Our brain registers a definite focal point.  OK  a chap looks at a beautiful woman. {leave the thoughts out of it]  However what we really see is, a beautiful woman, standing in a fantastic garden.  I think that this illustrates how we might plan ahead. I can recall whilst planting out summer bedding, formal and display bedding.  What lay before my eyes was, the present and a kind of overlay of the future.  In perhaps more simpler terms.  You gaze around your garden and automatically your brain is saying.  Yes, I'll move that and I stick so and so in it's place.  Yes  that fence needs covering over.  So in practice we are planning ahead all the time.  When I was employed. Usually come christmas, I would sit down with a note pad and begin.  Suddenly all the year's thoughts and suggestions would come to mind.  Planning, purchasing, costing, staff arrangements.  A busy time, but an interesting period.  Might I ask friend.  Do you keep an upto date database of your garden?

Soil free fertilizers?

Posted: 27/06/2014 at 22:29

So!  If I am reading this correctly.  Some are perhaps having a go at me.

In whatever way you will.  If I have caused an upset.  I offer my profound apologies.  I wish Chris all the very best.

I agree totally with the followup comments regarding newcomers etc.  Believe me.  I'm an oldie and yes, I am still learning and researching.  Believe me, even on this forum.  I have learned a great deal.

Once again my sincere apologies.

Would it be best for me exit left and switch the lights off

Arum Lily

Posted: 27/06/2014 at 22:05

Arum Lily.  Zantedeschia  aethiopica.

Pot grown.  When growth starts to show, water moderately.  When in full leaf plenty of water.  May-August feed weekly.  After flowering gradually withold water.

Grown as a pond marginal plant.  Depth of water 6-12 inches.  Some winter protection might be required. Rot.  The corms are prone to rotting, if in hard heavy soil.  Pests usually free.  Diseases.  Can be attacked by cucumber mosaic, and tomato spot virus.

Irrigation in the greenhouse

Posted: 27/06/2014 at 21:32

I'm sure I have posted a thread on this subject.  In short.  My GH is built of cedarwood, so fixing bits and bobs are no problem.  Although I live upstairs, Ifitted a downpipe to an outside non return valve tap.  My hose is always connected, except in winter, when I release the couplings.  Inside the greenhouse twin taps, non return valves are fitted.One feeds the general hose, the other I can connect a battery operated timer valve to.  Then a length of half inch hose is conected to the timer.  Using pipe clips, the hose is attached to the glazing bars, up one side of the GH, across the end and back down the other side, where it is blanked off.  A number of small jets are inserted along the pipe.  Some jets are adjustable.  Then trial and error, the tap and timer have to be syncronized.  Val and I used to sometimes go away for two to three months.  Returning home all was well in the GH.  Ventilation is by way of auto vents.  Concerning mist sprayers, such as in mist propagation.  So much is available in plastic nowadays and cheap.


Hope this helps.


Posted: 27/06/2014 at 16:48

Thank you all.

I am sure that I will bounce back in time.

Please can we now close this thread.


Posted: 27/06/2014 at 00:47

Hi Pauline.  Thanks ever so, but, not wishing to sound crude or rude.  When I walk.  It is like someone poking a broom handle up by jcksie and the end hitting the base of my skull.  Crude but true.


Mike. xx

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