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Latest posts by obelixx

Gardening by the Moon

Posted: 17/09/2014 at 11:12

Thanks for this.   No time for gardening this week apart from spraying weeds in paths and cobbled terraces as busy with teh start of teh dance club season.

Will be trying my first ever green manure in teh potager if all goes to plan.  Having difficulty locating seeds round here but may be able to get some from neighbouring riding stables and animal farm or else order by mail from UK.

When & how do blackcurrents need to be pruned

Posted: 17/09/2014 at 08:24

My method is to cut off the stems that have fruited and retire to the terrace with a cuppa or glass of wine and sit and strip the fruit in comfort without cricking my neck or squishing my knees.   This automatically prunes out the oldest wood and leaves the plant to ripen next year's stems and make new ones for the following season.

Other than that, prune out any dead, damaged or frozen stems after the worst frosts of winter are over and make sure the plants have plenty of mulch to retain moisture and encourage good soil organisms.

what's plants do you have in your greenhouse right now.

Posted: 16/09/2014 at 16:22

6 assorted chillies, 2 mother pesntemons I use for cuttings and one over excited fig I have just had to prune heavily to allow light and air to its fruits.

Far too hot here to stick anything else in there yet but it'll get my gunnera and some hostas and lillies in pots to over winter plus my bay tree and the pineapple sage and fuchsia and penstemon cuttings.

Dahlia tubers will be stored in the garage which won't freeze and some fuchsia parents and pelargoniums will go in the cool attic (as opposed to cold) under the Velux so they can hibernate safely and get an occasional drink just to keep them ticking over..

Pruning Pieris

Posted: 15/09/2014 at 14:48

Pieris flower in early to id spring so fall into what the RHS classifies as pruning group 8.  This just means prune lightly after flowering finishes.  If you prune it now you risk frost damage to the remaining foliage and flower buds and also fewer flowers next spring.

Here is what the RHS advises:-

When to prune evergreen shrubs

 You can prune most evergreen shrubs just before growth starts in mid-spring, after any risk of frost has passed. Pruning at this time will avoid frost damage to new shoots, and any pruning scars will be concealed by new growth. 

Evergreens that are still flowering or about to flower in mid-spring can be left until flowering has finished.

How to prune evergreen shrubs

 When pruning any evergreen shrub (except old, overgrown shrubs, see below), aim to remove about one-third of older wood in total.

  • Prune out any diseased, damaged or dead shoots using long-handled loppers or a saw if necessary
  • And finally, thin out crowded shoots and any badly positioned ones that spoil the shrub’s appearance
  • After pruning, plants benefit from mulching and feeding. Use either a general-purpose fertiliser or specialist rose or other high-potassium fertiliser

For convenience, we have divided evergreen shrubs into three groups on the basis of timing and type of pruning required:

1. Early flowering evergreen shrubs (Pruning group 8)

Timing: Prune immediately after flowering. 
Examples: Berberis, box (Buxus), CamelliaCeanothus, ChoisyaDaphne, HypericumMahonia,Pieris, Azalea (Rhododendron), RhododendronViburnum tinus.

Supermarket fruit and veg

Posted: 15/09/2014 at 11:41

UN and other reports show that up to 50% of food production is lost, world wide, to poor harvesting methods, porr storage facilities, poor transport and logistics, over buying in developed countries leading to loads being chucked out and corruption in governments and customs.

There is plenty of food produced and enough to feed everyone so there needs to be some political and cvil will to sort out the rest.   We can do our bit by buying wisely and not overtsocking our larders with stuff that will be wasted.   Supermarkets could give food that is still edible but past a notional sell by date to food banks and hostels instead of chucking it out.

Governments across the world need to take steps to enable better harvesting, storage and transport and eliminate corruption and inefficiency.  The developed world has come a long way in food production and transport in the last 200 years.  The rest of the world needs to catch up as soon as possible by learning from our past and taking advantage of new strains, methods and technologies.   They don't all have to be high tech solutions that cost a fortune.


Supermarket fruit and veg

Posted: 15/09/2014 at 10:34

Oh yes, Fair Trade for coffee and lemons and chocolate.

Td immunisations...

Posted: 15/09/2014 at 09:55

Here in Belgium we've been computerised for years and my doc reminds us all about boosters for tetanus and other stuff as well as annual checks for blood pressure, cholesterol and so on so we're all up to date - OH and me for gardening and Possum for horse-riding which is also mucky.  Her gardening genes haven't kicked in yet.  May have skipped a generation with her.

Supermarket fruit and veg

Posted: 15/09/2014 at 09:51

You don't have to buy fruit and veg that have come from half way round the world and you don't have to buy out of season either.

We all surely know that eating seasonally and freshly picked is best for nutritional and taste levels in our fruit and veg and also best for reducing energy consumption in producing and supplying it.    There are lots of recipes on BBC Food and BBC Good Food and other sites so we can vary our dishes and don't have to get bored with seasonal gluts.

When it comes to melons and peaches and fruits that don't do well locally I find it's best to buy them ready to eat in small quantities and eat them within a day or two.

The problem for me with buying produce grown in 3rd world countries is that they require enourmous resources of water and chemicals to grow and clean and pack and I just think they'd be better off growing local food to feed local people at reasonable prices and thus free the labour for something with greater added value which would benefit their economy.  I also fear that a lot of these companies are globally owned which means profits are not re-invested locally and taxes paid are probably minimal so no support for government social or economic projects either.


Plant (weed) identification 2

Posted: 14/09/2014 at 16:52

Not sure about the top picture as I can't expand it but the second one is definitely two plants.  The nepeta is the variegated one.  The other needs to have all its trailing stems gathered up and then the central stem and roots can be pulled out in one go.  

Water first to make it easier and reduce collateral damage to the nepeta.

Shabby Chic Anyone?

Posted: 14/09/2014 at 16:49

It's a lovely colour and looks great.  

I've painted our bench a silvery grey and finally put it out in July after we'd renewed the path and bench area with fresh chipped bark.  I sat on it then to check it was OK but haven't had time since.

Don't sit at the terrace table much either.  Never seem to have that holiday, relaxing feeling in my own garden.  Always something to do.........

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