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Latest posts by obelixx

Last night's Gardeners World

Posted: 07/06/2015 at 20:32

Well!   I did a bit of a google about Monty's hive design and found this -

Seems you have to be a bit more pro-active than just providing a hive and hoping the bees do well cos without care they're likely to die.   Food for thought and loads more research.



Are you eating your home grown fruit and veg yet?

Posted: 07/06/2015 at 17:55

Been eating rhubarb for a few weeks now, starting with the forced stuff.   Strawberries are just starting and are delicious.   Had our first home grown lettuce today and in the next day or so the first of the kohlrabi will be ready to eat.

Broad beans are still in the flower stage and the beets and cabbages and chard are nowhere near ready but the fennel is starting to fatten nicely.

Loads of fruits forming on the blueberries and red and blackcurrants and gooseberries and my newish blackberry and the logan and tayberries are covered in blossom so promise well.    Hoping for a good crop of damsons and some fat juicy autumn raspberries in due course.

Pumpkins are looking very sad though.  Cold nights not good for them.


Posted: 07/06/2015 at 17:50

The chap who looks after our roof likes to come here in spring so he can go home with loads of fresh young nettle shoots for his spring clean.  Good for the liver apparently.

Last night's Gardeners World

Posted: 07/06/2015 at 17:48

I looked into keeping bees a few years ago but was put of by the sheer cost of buying a  hive and all the protective gear which came in at shed loads of euros so I gave up because we don't use that much honey anyway.

However, the idea of keeping them purely to provide a home for them to live and pollinate things really does appeal so I shall look again - but not for this garden now.   Planning a move when OH retires so it can wait till then.

Clematis only flowering at top

Posted: 07/06/2015 at 15:18

I've always thought montanas were much earlier and had finished by now but yes, horizontal training and masking the bare stems would work well.


Clematis cuttings

Posted: 07/06/2015 at 15:15

I took 5 lots of cuttings this spring and only one has succeeded but it was a bit early so I'm not despondent.   I shall have a go at giving bottom heat in shade and try some new cuttings in a few weeks as I have some favourites I want to share and it's so satisfying when cuttings do take.

Clematis only flowering at top

Posted: 07/06/2015 at 14:40

Flowering now indicates a group 2 for pruning which means a light pruning after the first flush of flowers finishes.  If you feed it as well, you shoud get a second flush fo flowers later in summer.

However, having said that, I treat all mine as group 3s as their tops tend to get frozen to death in my winters.   Every March I prune them back to about 9 inches and give them a generous feed of clematis food followed by several liquid feeds of rose or tomato fertiliser until flowering commences. 

Nelly Moser is always first for me and is already in flower with all it stems producing fresh foliage and flowers low down.  The others follow in due course.   This pruning method also means they don't get too big and there are no bare woody stems.

You could try feeding yours now with both the slow release clematis fertilser and the liquid tomato food to see if it produces new shoots to flower next year.  Even if it doesn't it will help grow stronger roots and then you could also try the hard prune and big feed next spring and completely renew your plant.   As the new shoots form, train them along horizontal wires attached to your fence at 12 to 18 inch intervals as this encourages extra flowering.   


Posted: 07/06/2015 at 14:16

I always have loads of nettles in my garden - a sign of good, fertile soil and they do make a great addition to the compost heap and a good tea for feeding leafy plants.

They come up between treasures now, rather than in great clumps, so no question of spraying.  However they're easy to pull up, especially after rain and they do get fewer every year although my garden is surrounded by pastoral and arable fields so they're always trying to invade under the fences too.   

Regular pulling will do it eventually and if you clear a bed or area for replanting, take the opportunity to fork it over well and remove extra bits of root.

Stachys byzantina

Posted: 07/06/2015 at 14:06

I always thought the fluffy silvery grey version was stachys lanata.  It does produce flower spikes which are fluffy too with added colour from little deep pink petals and yes, it does make good ground cover from creeping as well as self seeding.   Bees love mine.

Low Germination Rates

Posted: 05/06/2015 at 18:41

I've given up sowing directly as weather, soil temps, charging dogs, indiscrilinate weeding OH and so on are so hit and miss so I sow in trays or modules, prick out and grow on and then plant out.  Works exceptionally well for brassicas as they get a good root system and I've only once had problems with club root on bought plugs.  

I even planted onion sets in modules and they're doing really well and this year I have beetroot and Swiss chard which have failed for the last three years when direct sown. Just need to crack carrots now.

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