Latest posts by Nicola756

7 returned

Any apples yet?

Posted: 29/05/2014 at 11:01

After doing quite well last year, all of my apples have suffered this year due to pesky bunnies 

Stripped the bark on all of them, almost ringing all 3 cordons and I thought I might lose them. They have come back with plenty of leaf thankfully, but not surprisingly there was no blossom so no fruit.

My Irish Peach standard apple tree had plenty of blossom and for once the bull finches left it alone, so this year it has a few baby apples which is the first time so happy enough with that!

Others on the allotment are looking a bit light on fruit too, just not the year for it I guess. (Shropshire for us btw)

However, soft fruit is looking very, very good  think it'll be a bumper crop of berries and currants, especially the jostaberry!


Coir Compost Blocks

Posted: 03/05/2014 at 08:00

Steephill- I know it sounds expensive, compared to normal compost. However I use coir for a variety of reasons.

Its compressed size makes it convenient to transport without a car. I know that a lot of places will deliver - to my home. But I want the compost at the allotment, an unmanned site a couple of miles away and usual delivery companies won't drop off as it's not a residential or business address. My local hardware store is the only one that delivers there but they are notorious for poor quality compost. Okay, it's 3 for £10 but then add on £5 for delivery and knowing that plants wont do very well out of it anyway.... I could also borrow a friend with a car, again difficult as both of us work full time/ different days and I can't do that too often without becoming a nuisance.

I'm trying to go peat free. Local nursery is charging £6-7 per 60l bag for the vital earth mpc. So not much difference.

Its reliable. I'm happy to put almost anything in coir knowing that it'll grow well. Looking at the compost review threads shows a big variation in quality and each year turns into a game of finding a decent mpc.

And there endeth my reasoning

sorry for the essay!

Coir Compost Blocks

Posted: 02/05/2014 at 22:57

Lancashire Lass - that looks a decent price. I've used ksingletonsv on same site, similar prices I think.

I've never attempted to break chunks off the blocks, think it'd be too much effort as it's so compressed and anything I don't use immediately goes into an old compost bag until needed. You can get smaller blocks (10l or so) if you only want a bit of compost which I imagine is a lot simpler.

Checking up a bit more now, seems more people are using coir as a seed compost, mixed with perlite. Might have another go myself with some spare seeds...


Coir Compost Blocks

Posted: 02/05/2014 at 15:11

I've been using the gardman coir blocks for the last couple of years and I like it. I don't have a car so getting compost up to the allotment on my motorbike has always been a challenge, but these compressed blocks make it easy. 

Take your time soaking the dry block to start with - I use a big tubtrug, add water and just leave to soak for a while. After half an hour or so, hack at it with a hand fork to break the block up a bit, leave to soak some more then stir the mix to make sure all the dry bits are in contact with remaining water. It does take a little while but worth the effort.

The resulting compost holds water really well and has the granular fertiliser already mixed in (although a regular seaweed drench goes down well) so is good enough for most planting - I've used for everything from pricking out seedlings to filling baskets and tubs. End of season, the used stuff then gets chucked onto my veg beds to help lighten my heavy clay soil  

Downsides - can't really use for small seeds, although I have successfully grown peas and beans. Also can be a more expensive than 'normal' bags of compost. If you're used to standard composts, it's a bit more difficult to work out when pots need watering as the surface doesn't seem to look any different when dry, just stick your finger in instead.

hope this helps!


Rabbit's on the allotment and other Q's...

Posted: 10/02/2014 at 15:48

Hmm, are you on my allotment site?

We have been rabbit-free since setting up the site 3 years ago but the little darlings have just made an appearance these last few weeks. Got a message from my neighbour up there to tell me the apple trees have been stripped 


I had originally fenced off my plot with sturdy posts and 4ft high windbreak netting, so my plan is to just fasten chicken wire fencing on the outside of this and I can keep the benefit of the windbreaks. Looking at buying chicken wire from my local farm supplies, they have different sizes. Do people recommend 25mm holes or will 31mm be enough?


Climbers for my shed

Posted: 06/02/2014 at 21:56

Thanks people 

Think I will go for the pyracantha, will add it to my shopping list (currently full of pondside and groundcover plants for around the new wildlife pond...) and might try taking some cuttings from the one in the back garden too.

The solanum looks lovely but think it may get a bit big on the side of my shed, could probably squeeze one in against the back fence at home tho!


Climbers for my shed

Posted: 06/02/2014 at 12:13

Hoping for a bit of a recommendation here....

Up on the allotment the area at the back of my shed has become a typical dumping ground and I've started to tidy this up now. The whole site is extremely rich in wildlife (including lots of fieldmice which happily share my crops!) but I'm hoping to improve my little corner even more.

At the moment I've run a bed along the back and planted a dwarf buddleia and a native honeysuckle with a few extras I'm planning to put in later such as lenten rose and primroses maybe. 

I also want to plant something that will climb along the side of the shed. I want something that offers good winter cover, flowers and berries etc and that birds may be tempted to nest in, even if it's using nestboxes or pouches that I can fasten to the trellis. That side is quiet so hoping to attract nesters!

ivy is the obvious choice, but my only concern is it will grow straight through the gaps in my shed wall- being a typically cheap wooden shed theres lots of gaps where the wood slats have warped. Others I have considered are cotoneaster and pyracantha mainly because the birds seem to adore these back home

What do people think, which should I plant?


thanks for any tips


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Discussions started by Nicola756

Climbers for my shed

What shall I plant? 
Replies: 8    Views: 1841
Last Post: 07/02/2014 at 12:06
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