Mummy Muddy Paws

Latest posts by Mummy Muddy Paws

How To Start Veg Growing

Posted: 15/02/2013 at 12:04

Vegatable growing Month-by-Month by John Harrison is invaluable, as it does exactly what it says on the tin!  It's available fairly cheaply from Amazon, or if your budget's REALLY tight, check out your library.  Agree with what other posters have said, re Wilkinsons and Aldi for seeds, but not just for seeds.  Don't know if your aldi will have any left, they were doing fruit trees for 3.99 last week, this week they've raised bed kits, 3/4 tier PVC greenhouses, flowers in pots, etc etc.  Poundstretcher is good for gardening equipment too, I got a massive packet of fleece (for warming the ground prior to planting, and protecting tender perennial flowers) last year for about a fiver.  Don't bother with cloches, cut the top off a pop or squash bottle and use that instead.

If space is limited and you want to grow things in hanging baskets, try the easy-fill ones available on t'internet.  They're a lot easier than the traditional type baskets, can be re-used year after year, you don't damage any of the plants you're planting as the whole rootball goes through the planting gap.  Sites like ideal world will have videos on how to use them (but don't buy from there as the postage is astronomical).  I won't use anything but the easy-fill baskets now, no, I'm not on commission for them, but I was a novice a couple of years ago, and the range of stuff on offer is bewildering.

One top tip I've learned is to keep a garden diary, so record what type of seeds you've sown, dates of any late frosts, how well seeds germinated, how well they grew (and whereabouts you grew them), and most importantly, how well they cropped.

Grow stuff that's expensive to buy in the supermarket, runner beans are very expensive to buy, but half a dozen plants will be more than enough to supply a family of 4 with some left over to freeze.

Like you, I'm on a very tight budget, so I do things like save yoghurt pots to use as plant pots, make my own compost (but very much a beginner on that, other folks can advise and are brilliant on here).  There's no such thing as a stupid question to a gardener (other than would you like a cup of Tea?), folks on here are lovely and have given me no end of brilliant advice.

having a moan about...

Posted: 15/02/2013 at 00:01

Garden centre trip would be fab, avoiding them like the plague at the moment, as I'd only depress myself seeing lots of lovely plants (and a shed, oh, for a shed!) that I can't afford.  I might allow myself a trip to the local Aldi, they've got some fab bargains there this week, hoping they have some apple trees and raised beds left by the time I get there!

having a moan about...

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 11:59

I won't be doing anything outside until the beginning of April - I've seen what the weather's been like and I think it will be a lot more of the same throughout March.  Snowfall followed by a thaw, then turning cold & snowing again.  Hopefully it will be a bit drier this weekend, and I can continue my war on Brambles in the garden over the road (was my FIL's house), I got about a third of the way down the garden and the bad weather hit, so I've not been able to go back and dig any of the roots out.  Have to wait until OH is back from work, to look after little ones, and by the time he gets back, it's dark outside.  Sigh.  Can't wait for the clocks to go forward, so I can get an hour on Wednesdays & Fridays, when he's back at a reasonable time!

on their way to garden near you!

Posted: 03/02/2013 at 14:24

Hope that doesn't mean the snow's on it's way back.  Had to risk life & limb taking the biggest little one to school, the flipping pushchair needs snow chains.  On a completely different note, am I the only Mum that walks her child to school no matter what the weather?  A lot of the Mums around here (even the ones who live nearer the school to me) take their little darlings in the car the minute clouds start to gather.  God gave us legs for a reason, and then they wonder why their children are fat!

Saw some fieldfares in the big rowan tree at the bottom of the garden when there was snow on the ground, there are still lots of berries left on the tree, it was really laden down with them this year, but since the snow has gone, so have the fieldfares.

Am I the only person who thinks Winter hasn't finished with us yet?  I predicted the last lot of snow (it was 2 days earlier than I thought),  I still think we're due another heavy fall this year, around  the beginning of March, so I'm delaying the sowing of anything outside until I see what the weather's doing then. 

Veg plot planner

Posted: 24/01/2013 at 20:21

Also, grow what you like to eat!  It's no use planting lots of courgettes if you hate the things!!!

I'd start with things that are fairly expensive to buy in the shops (I love runner beans, but won't pay the extortionate prices demanded by supermarkets).  I find these will grow quite happily in my garden.

Is it worth buying a few fruit trees to try and shelter the plot, whilst at the same time giving (eventually) a crop, or is the plot too exposed for trees to thrive?

One bit of advice that I've found invaluable, is not to plant root crops in freshly manured plots.  If they grcan find the nutrients they need in the top level of soil, they won't grow decent sized tap roots.

A good book is also a good idea (especially at this time of year), I bought John Harrison's Veg Growing Month-by-Month, and it's been really useful.  You can buy it fairly cheaply on Amazon, and it's a great place to start, it has lots of ideas and do's and don'ts in there, brilliant for the first time veg grower.

car tire planters

Posted: 23/11/2012 at 16:42

Personally, I'd paint it before filling it, as you wouldn't want to get paint in the compost.  I'd also paint inside it to stop some of the stuff used to harden the rubber from leaching out.  Not sure, but I think the paint would be less harmful to plants than some of the grot that goes into making tyres.  You might also need two coats to get the depth of colour you want (a bit like doing your nails).  I'd also have a look and see if you can get something to waterproof the finished article, or try washing the paint off with a hosepipe, just so you know it's OK - you don't want to get back from the garden centre in the spring with a load of plants to put in there, and find the colour's run all over the drive / patio.  I've found paint has a habit of not sticking where it's supposed to and staining bits where it's not supposed to be!

car tire planters

Posted: 22/11/2012 at 14:53

My mum had one of those tyre planters that was made out of the whole wheel in the early 80's, she bought it though, so not sure of how it was made.  I use a couple of tyres for planting potatoes in, it's easy to earth them up as they grow, and the bonus is there is virtually no digging to harvest the potatoes, just lift off the tyres.

I have a couple of ideas of how to turn the tyres inside out, the first you can try yourself, the second you will have to find a friendly 4X4 owner that actually takes their car off road.  Firstly, you can try softening the rubber by putting the entire thing in the bath and filling the bath with VERY hot water, boiling if you can manage it.  Then you and a friend stand on the smaller of the cut edges, and use a crowbar apiece to try and lever the thing up.

The second one needs a friendly 4X4 owner that has either a turfer or a winch (both are used for recovering vehicles stuck in mud, I've used both during my time as navigator/spotter/gate bitch/dogsbody).  Attach smaller end of tyre to immovable object (such as recovery point on ordinary car using a strop).  Attach other end of tyre to winch/turfer, using strop inside bit of tyre that you want to turn inside-out.  Start to winch or start working the turfer (very hard work but you won't get bingo wings doing it regularly!!).  Do this SLOWLY, as when the tyre goes, it will go with a pop, make sure that the person helping is experienced in using the equipment, as this will be easy compared to unsticking a ton's worth of car from mud.  Recovery equipment can be dangerous if used incorrectly.  Some beer usually goes down well with the off-roading fraternity.  That or offer to be a gate bitch next time they go out (you will enjoy it, as it's not as bad as it sounds, and you will get to see some fantastic sights, and the banter that goes on via the CB has literally reduced me to tears of laughter sometimes).

white fungus in sleepers

Posted: 23/10/2012 at 18:09

You could try oiling them once they are clean.  This would be a more expensive option though, teak oil or danish oil is quite expensive if you're doing a large area.  The only other thing would be to paint them every year with a decent quality wood paint, then you can choose a colour that suits.  I'm not sure if they're still doing it, but cuprinol were doing free paint samples on their website earlier in spring (free p&p too, so I bought a few colours at £1 each to do my bird table - yep, cheeky I know!)  Basically you need to weatherproof them so the fungus spores can't take hold.  Sleepers are hardwood, so should last a long time, but even hardwood needs to be treated yearly when it's outside.  I know weathershield works on brickwork, but not sure if it will work on wood.

If you don't want to bend to scrape the stuff off, then wolf-garten do a great tool for cleaning weeds off patios, that might be good (the knife variety, not the brass brush).  I've used mine for scraping Ivy off my walls where I can't reach, I think they're fantastic tools, so you only buy the interchangable heads with a single handle.  No, I'm not a rep for wolf, I just think the tools are very well thought out and made, and are great for me where storage is an issue.

white fungus in sleepers

Posted: 23/10/2012 at 16:55

The only thing I can think of is jet washing the sleepers that only have the fungus on them, and painting them with black bitumenous paint (not sure of spelling!).  It's got a high tar content, so will protect them from water and hopefully the fungus.  The sleepers that are rotten will probably need replacing, but I'd paint those too.

It's the wrong time of year to be doing this though, I'd scrape the fungus off and wait until spring to do the painting, otherwise your paint will never dry.  An added bonus of using the paint is slugs don't like to cross it, so if you've used the sleepers to terrace, with a bit of luck there won't be as many slugs next year.  With a bit of luck we'll have a bit less rain next year (or rain at the right time of year), so there'll be less of the blighters anyway.

What's for tea?

Posted: 23/10/2012 at 16:35

Honey & mustard pork chops tonight.  Mash, peas & gravy to go with it, waiting for pay day so using up everything in the freezer until I can pay the ASDA man to come around with a van full of stuff.

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