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Latest posts by obelixx


Posted: 04/12/2013 at 22:53

Hello Berghill.   I'd been hoping you'd get some answers to this as OH is talking of getting a chipper/shredder.  Have you tried asking on A4A?

Cleaning plastic plant labels

Posted: 27/11/2013 at 12:14

Try it and see but it could get expensive if you have a lot to clean.   Monty Don reckons a scrub with fine wire wool does the trick.

winter tidy up

Posted: 27/11/2013 at 11:00

We keep the grass clear but not the beds as we like to leave a layer of shelter and food for the worms, insects and birds.   We have log piles for hibernating critters and an insect hotel which I replenish every autumn.  Beds get cleared only of as many weeds as possible and collapsed stems of perennials. 

The rest get left on to take the frosts - and look attractive - and protect the crowns as well as providing food and shelter for tiny critters and birds.   No more hoeing till spring in case we decapitate bulbs and shoots.

Buried treasure

Posted: 27/11/2013 at 09:35

We live in an old farmhouse built in about 1770 and our garden is former cow pasture.  We've found old tiles, horse shoes, bits of crockery and unearthed huge slabs and chunky pavers from old buildings.   Some still surface when I go to clear or replant beds near the house.

The most "interesting" find was a land mine when we we were having the ground prepared for sowing a lawn and making the terrace 16 years ago.   That involved a lot of police and bomb disposal people but they didn't sweep the ground for any more so we don't do deep digging.

Who lives in a microclimate?

Posted: 26/11/2013 at 10:40

Me too.  I can grow a golden sambucus in one spot but not further along where there's more wind exposure so mum has died but daughter is thriving.   The house has garden on all four sides and each has very different exposure to sun, wind, rain and frost as well as different drainage and soil conditions which make a huge difefernce to what can be grown well and what will struggle..



Posted: 25/11/2013 at 16:14

Bulb fennel is best eaten when the white, fleshy part gets about as wide as a tennis ball and no wider than 4"/10cms.   Dig it up with a fork then trim off the roots at the base.   The white part is cooked and the green frothy frondy bits can be used as a garnish or in salads but the green stems are best composted.

Baked Fennel with Goat's Cheese 4 or more, depending

 This quantity is for 4 as a vegetarian meal. It's also good with simply grilled pork, chicken or fish and will then feed 6 to 8. 

4              bulbs of fennel
30g          butter
1              lemon, juice only
4 tbs        water
6              sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
30g          pine nuts
150g         goats' cheese log

Heat the oven to 200C.   Trim the fennel and cut through the middle into 2 and then cut each half again 2 or 3 times to make wedges.   Place these in a shallow oven-proof dish.  Sprinkle on the lemon juice and water and cook in the microwave for 10 minutes.   Drain.

 Slice the tomatoes and sprinkle over the fennel, followed by the pine nuts and crumbled goats' cheese.   Drizzle with olive oil (from the tomatoes if you have some) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes till the cheese is browned.

It's also good raw, sliced thinly in salads and there are plenty more recipes here - 


Who lives in a microclimate?

Posted: 25/11/2013 at 14:37

My garden is in open countryside with no shelter except what I've planted.  The land rises a few metres behind us to the north side so frost rolls down from the fields against the back of the house.  I once had -32C in this frost pocket and - 25C on the warmer south facing front of the house.  That's colder than the Ardennes and a good 5 or 6 degrees colder than the town just 3kms to the west.

Definitely a micro climate with its own wee pockets of extremes.

Weather Forecasting? Don't get me started

Posted: 25/11/2013 at 13:18

My kitchen ahs windows at either end and sometiles teh wetaher to th enorth is very different from that to the south and sometimes we have clear blue above the house while there are big clouds on both horizons.   I can see weather fronts approaching and passing by and sometils have rai at the back but not at the front.

Like Dove, I have a local micro climate so it can hotter or colder here than just 2 or 3 kms up the road and very different from Brussels just 30 miles away.   Like Berghill, I watch the BBC satellite photos and wonder when they were taken as they don't rfelect reality.   The main Belgian service is no better.   Looking out to the west is usually a good way of forecasting what's coming.

Christmas trees...

Posted: 25/11/2013 at 09:08

We always used to buy rooted trees of the non needle shedding variety but only one ever survived once planted out and it's now about 20' tall.   For the last couple of years we've bought cut trees of the non shedding variety - less expensive but still pricey as we like a good 6' or 7' tree.    I have an old galvanised laundry tub that I've painted red and stencilled with gold snow flakes and Xmas trees which means we can give a good water supply and a couple of stones for stability.

Moles AND Crane flies

Posted: 22/11/2013 at 22:45

Here in Belgium we can buy a device called a Détaupeur which translates as de-moler.   It is a battery powered machine which ignites a small explosive charge laid in the tunnel when moley comes along and makes the connection.    You can't buy them in the UK but they're available in France and Belgium if any of you is planning a holiday and wants to google for suppliers.

We used ours successfully for several years but now we have two dogs and don't want to risk one of them setting one off by mistake so we put up with moles and mole hills and the terrier cross occasioanlly digging for China when she hears a mole on the move.   The worst periods are spring when they're tunnelling to find a mate and then mid to late summer when the babies leave the nest and head off to find their own territories.

However, like Berghill, we've had our share of expensive plants lost and veggie crops ruined because their roots have been tunneled as well as people injured because they've walked on a collapsing tunnel in the lawn and dreadful spinal pain for me when walking on ground made uneven didn't help with my slippe ddiscs and trapped nerves.  Makes mowing the grass a bit bumpy too.

Discussions started by obelixx

GW 2015

Programme content discussion 
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Chelsea photos

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Last Post: 02/06/2014 at 09:30

Hello Jro - and any other old friends

Catch up chat 
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Mare's tail

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Last Post: 01/08/2013 at 17:01

Encouraging bats in our gardens

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Last Post: 26/04/2013 at 21:35

Beechgrove this weekend

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Last Post: 12/04/2013 at 11:05

Weekend 22 March

Chat about plans for the weekend 
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Last Post: 24/03/2013 at 18:19

Good Morning - 21 March

Replies: 33    Views: 1806
Last Post: 22/03/2013 at 09:57

Choosing chillies

Replies: 3    Views: 1034
Last Post: 23/02/2013 at 18:47

Hanging baskets and window boxes

Replies: 32    Views: 2581
Last Post: 03/03/2013 at 18:12

New shed - any tips?

Replies: 24    Views: 9630
Last Post: 22/02/2015 at 15:50
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