Mummy Muddy Paws

Latest posts by Mummy Muddy Paws

MOB rants

Posted: 22/06/2013 at 14:41

Pentillie, I only know that quote from doing the war poets in English!  Not sure if it was Wilfrid Owen or Siegfried Sasoon, I do like the idea of it being a lie though, no honour in being blown to bits or gassed into oblivion, especially after enduring the squalor of the trenches, the cold, wet, mud, grotty rations and no chance of a hot cup of tea.

In the words of Pink Floyd:

Forward!  He cried from the rear,

and the front rank died

and the generals sat

and the lines on the map

moved from side to side.

I suppose I meant that the Romans are from so long ago that it didn't spark my imagination in the same way learning about doodlebugs did.  I now have weighty tomes I have waded through on the subject, as Churchill was such a dude - just look at his exchanges with Lady Astor!


Posted: 22/06/2013 at 14:33

Compost is a hotly debated subject on the forum, as there's so much rubbish about!  JI should be good, but people have had mixed results with the JI compost.  I very recently found a garden centre tucked away in the area (so many have shut down), very basic with one big greenhouse and compost stacked on pallets, but full of healthy plants at affordable prices, and none of the tat you usually find at the big chains.  This forum is full of people that are passionate about gardening and know loads.  If I've ever had a question (and I have had lots), somone on here always knows the answer.  The only daft question on here is do you want a cup of tea?!!



Posted: 22/06/2013 at 13:58

Robbie, if the soil is heavy and clay-like, then sharp sand (from a builders merchants, or somewhere like wickes) is good to start, as it will help with drainage, and any organic matter, like well-rotted farm yard manure, or compost, or cheapish grow-bags is great.  With JI, what number did you buy?  As a rule this is how it should be used:

JI number 1 seeds and cuttings

JI number 2 potting on seedlings

JI number 3 mature established plants.

When I first started out I bought John Harrison's veg growing month-by-month, it was about a fiver from Amazon, and worth every penny.  It explains stuff that I complete beginner (like I was a couple of years ago) can understand, and tells you what you should be doing in your veg plot every month (although this will vary from area to area, and in years like this year, everything is about a month behind because of the awful winter we had).  You can sit and read cover-to-cover, dip into it at will, or look stuff up.  Is the best gardening book I've bought yet.  It explains about plants that like acid or alkaline soil, how to test your soil, adding lime to increase it's alkalinity for things like cabbages, caulis and sprouts that like it that way.

A good tip for blueberries (and anything else that likes acid soil, like azleas and camellias) is to water with cold black tea if no rainwater available - tea is acidic and does contain other nutrients that they will appreciate.  Next time you make a cuppa, either empty the teapot (when it's cooled down!), or if you're a heathen like me, put the used tea-bag in another cup, and pour hot water over it and let it stew.  Make sure you explain to your OH that it's for blueberries - I've had him drink it before and ask why there were 2 teabags in the bottom and it tasted stewed!!

MOB rants

Posted: 22/06/2013 at 13:43

According to some of the folks I used to work with, the Battle of Britain took place in 1066.

The trouble is, you tend to start off in school with things like the Romans, which is soooo long ago, no-one in school gives a foetid dingo's kidney about.  Yes, we are bloodthirsty little darlings, so love the stories about Guy Fawkes being hung, drawn and quartered for trying to blow up the houses of Pariament, but by the time you get to choose options at school, most people have been completely put off, by things that happened centuries ago, that don't seem to have anything to do with the world today.

When I did GCSE History, we did the history of the American West, and the History of Medicine.  The history of medicine was great, as you got to learn lots of gory stuff, like the flagellants who thought that the plague was punishment from God, and went around whipping themselves to show penitence in the hope that God would spare them.  Didn't work of course.  Then there were sewers and public health, in ancient Rome the main sewer was named the cloaca maxima and you could drive a horse and cart through it.  Then War, major advances in medicine are always driven by war, from the easiest way to remove a barbed arrow, to ampuation, penicillin and the Guinea Pig Club.

I don't know about now, but we don't seem to be teaching the Modern stuff that has a bearing on the world today.  When I explained about Harold getting an eyeful in 1066 and that being the Battle of Hastings, and 1940 being the year of the Battle of Britain, and how the first world war lead to the second, and the assasination of the Archduke Ferdinand by a pissed-off Serbian starting the first big one off, questions were coming thick & fast, some I could answer, some not, by the time I went back to my desk, the questions I couldn't answer were being Googled.  So it's not the fault of the kids, because with the right spark, they are really keen to learn about the World Wars, and how we used to live, the Blitz, Rationing, Conscription, Reserved Occupations, Conchies, the lot.  The teachers are equally keen to teach them our rich heritage, but their hands are tied by the National Curriculum, if it's not on there, they don't have the time to teach it.

I was lucky, my Mum started my love of history by stories of her being terrified by the big burbling things in the sky, where you were OK as long as they were noisy, but terrifying when they cut out - she was describing the V1 Doodlebugs, and the kitchen table she was sheltering under was a Morrison Shelter.  At the time, she lived in Hastings, and was 9 when the war ended.  I also know about PLUTO, as she saw the boats it was loaded on to, and she remembers balancing on the big pipes they had in hastings, connected to containers of oil, in order to set the sea alight if anyone tried landing in Hastings.

History can come alive if you have the right person describing it.  They don't have to have been there (but it helps!), that questioning spark we all have within us just needs to be set alight.  Knickers to the Romans, we need to be teaching our children recent history, whilst the folks that lived through it are still around to tell their stories.

Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori.

MOB rants

Posted: 21/06/2013 at 20:19

On the subject of tattoos, I think some of them are really good, a chap I know on a different internet forum has one on his forearm that looks like bits of the skin have been peeled back to reveal bits of a terminator (rather than bone).  They do look awful when they're several years old and fading to blue, you can have the colour re-injected to keep the colour.

The ones that baffle me are the ones that are chinese writing.  How on earth do you know you've really been tattooed 'angel' or 'dove' or anything similar, and not 'bitch' or 'soup' (you have to watch big bang theory to get that one).

On the subject of heavily pregnant ladies, they should be allowed to wear what the hell they want.  Having had my first at the end of August, I spent the entire  last month of my pregnancy in just a T-shirt, camped out in front of the portable air-conditioner.  If I had to go out, I pulled on an old pair of jodphurs, or the lovely maternity leggings.  If anyone had pointed out my lack of sartorial elegance, I would have hit them with the nearest hard object!  Personally I've always steered clear of anything clingy, especially when I'd got a bun in the oven, the baggier the better.  If I do wear anything that's even reasonably tailored, men of a certain age and upbringing talk to my chest, not to me.  I dress for comfort most of the time, can't understand women that totter around on stilettos, they probably can't understand why I like to spend most of my time in boots (like the purple Dr Marten's boots I smuggled into my sister-in -law's evening 'do' when I was her bridesmaid).  Each to their own, I leave the silly clothes to the Stepford wives.

Glyphosate Concentrations

Posted: 21/06/2013 at 16:35

Verdun, the brambles are in clumps, with lots of the top growth interlacing with the clumps next to it,, so using a mower or a strimmer would be too much faffing, the brambles are taller than I am, so what I've been doing is chopping off the top growth, leaving about a foot of stems, so I can see where I need to dig, and I've been pulling out bits of bramble that must be at least 18 feet long.  So using a mower would be a complete non-starter, and I'd be forever sorting out the strimmer line as I've not got the brush cutting tool I'd need.  So really the easiest way for me to deal with it, is use the loppers to chop the stuff down, dig out what I can, and blast the bindweed and any bramble re-growth with high strength glyphosate.  One of the reasons I bought the sachets is so that it's 'fresh', and I can increase the concentration for the really cussed stubborn stuff, like the bindweed and bramble.

There's 10 years of neglect over there, so it's going to be a while before I win, but I'm more stubborn than the weeds, so I'll win (eventually!).

Fairygirl, I think the neighbours just roll their eyes and thank goodness I've not erected stonehenge in my back garden, and am classed as 'mostly harmless'.  Now I've got the tough touch gauntlets I'm well on my way, I can tackle them without getting scratched to bits, and there's something very satisfying about the steady chop, drag, shred/burn (depending on age of bramble and green bin capacity).  The other plus is that it's too wild for the little ones to be out in, so I don't get the constant 'Muuuuuuuum I need XYZ'.  OH gets that, so I get earache about it when I eventually go back over the road!  I also don't know what I'm going to unearth, so far I've found the chopped-off back end of a mk2 escort, a sierra that the brambles have fast in their cluches (can't get inside it to cut them off at the base), and have freed most of a complete mk2 Escort.  When OH has cut them into bits and put them on Ebay, hopefully I'll have enough money for a shed.  Which OH won't be allowed anywhere near, when I bought a tool store, when I went to get some stuff out it was full of safety glass for one of his 'projects'.  He did shift it, though, when I threatened to put my tools in there through the glass - he knows I'm stubborn enough to do it.  So my shed will be a bloke-free zone - I'll also be able to find my stuff, as it will be put back properly, not 'borrowed' and left out or chucked in haphazardly.

Why is it with most blokes that somethng is 'lost forever' when it doesn't fall into their outstreched hands?

Glyphosate Concentrations

Posted: 21/06/2013 at 12:31

Thanks all.  Being as it's mostly brambles and bindweed I'm dealing with, double strength it is.  Think I will only try 3 litres to start with, don't want to be using up all of my sachets at once, as I know I'll have to re-apply it at some point, done a load of grass that's not worth trying to save, as it's got thistles, cleavers and other stuff I'm not sure what it is (got very tiny yellow flowers), plus a very pretty weed that has leaves that look a bit like a cross between an acer and a tomato, with little purple flowers, it's not got massive roots, but breaks off at the top when trying to pull it out, and it's back nearly as badly next week.

So will see how the grass fares at single strength, and give the tough stuff a go at double strength.  Just need to wait for a 7 hour dry 'window' so I don't completely waste the stuff.  Suppose as long as it's wet it's fairly easy to dig out the bramble roots with the stuff I've chopped the head off of!  At least when it does grow back it'll be smaller and not need as much squirting at it.  Just waiting for the neighbours to section me, as I wander round the garden, muttering, then start talking to the brambles telling them they are the weed of Satan and to die.  All I need now is to win tonights Euromillions and then I can be eccentric instead of plain barmy.

Best Compost 2013

Posted: 21/06/2013 at 00:42

I recently found an independant garden centre near me that I didn't know about, was a very well-kept secret, but bought some bags of 'Clover' MPC from there, three 70l bags for £10.  Lovely stuff, will be going back for some more at some point very soon.  They actually had a bag of it open so you can see what you're getting.  Wonderful dark stuff, well rotted down and a great open texture, everything I've potted on seems to like it.

Won't be buying Verve any time soon, last year it was rubbish - quite literally, big unrotted chunks of chipped wood in there, bits of plastic, nails, glass, you name it, it was in there.

Schools and Gardening

Posted: 21/06/2013 at 00:10

If you have a limited budget, then look for offers such as the one in May's magazine for lavender plug plants.  Woman's weekly has an offer on for 'free' penstemons, 24 plug plants for £4.30 postage, was a similar offer in GW for lavender.

Dobbies garden centre have a schools programme, where you can apply for funding for various items, the RHS website also has a section dedicated to schools gardening, there will be some useful links there.  Can you get some funding from the Healthy Schools programme for a fruit & veg area?  Children are more likely to eat something, even sprouts, if they have had a hand in growing them, so there may be funding there.  Might be worth googling 'free seeds' as some places offer free seeds, had some tomato seeds last year from Dolmio, and have had some parsley seeds this year from the Real Burger company.  See if the school can invest in something like 'Kitchen Garden' magazine, there is always at least one pack of seeds with the mag, usually two, and have had up to four.

A letter to parents for seedlings, old but useable tools, pots, spare seeds etc may turn up some treasures.  Bit late in the year now, but an appeal to your local allotment society or horticultural society may give you some seedlings or useful plants.  If working with very small children, check and double check that you don't plant anything poisonous - the RHS website should give a list of poisonous stuff, and if appealing to parents (and grandparents), give a list of what you DON'T want, otherwise you'll get things donated that can do a fair bit of damage.

Hope that gives some other avenues you can look at for a start, once you start looking, you will be amazed at what crops up.

Glyphosate Concentrations

Posted: 20/06/2013 at 23:53

Hi All

Wondering if anyone out there knows anything about the concentration of Glyphosate Weedkiller.  I recently bought some of the sachets you dissolve in a litre of water, and apply with a sprayer/watering can.  They were an Amazon lightning deal (and I had some leftover vouchers, so didn't cost very much), what I'd like to know is, can I add more sachets to water to make the stuff more concentrated ?  Will the resulting stuff work better on my brambles?  Or would I just be wasting my money by making the mixture stronger?

Anyone know?

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