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Latest posts by obelixx

Is it Ok to keep picking rhubarb

Posted: 25/09/2012 at 11:42

I also supply our neighbours whose soil is too sandy, despite lashings of manure from their riding school and some friends too as they have either the wrong soil or insufficent space.

I've tried growing gunnera but 3 plants have been clobbered by winter frosts despite having thick blankets of garden compost so I give up.   Ornamental rhubarb is much more robust and does very well over by the pond.

Is it Ok to keep picking rhubarb

Posted: 25/09/2012 at 11:03

My rhubarb  - a dozen large plants - was also looking very healthy till the gales arrived on Sunday night.  It's now looking very flat with nearly all the stems broken off at the base.   I shall let it flop and go limp and then divide it between the .compost heaps.

I usually force one or two plants for early spring crops then leave those to rest and pick from the other plants - lots of stewed rhubarb, baked rhubarb, crumbles, cakes and chutney.   Yum!  But not after July as I have arthritic bits and OH gets gout occasionally.


Is it Ok to keep picking rhubarb

Posted: 25/09/2012 at 09:29

After mid July, the stems contain more and more oxalic acid which can cause stomach upsets and exacerbate arthritis and gout in susceptible people.   The advice is always to stop picking by end of July which also allows the plants to build up reserves for next year's crop.

acanthus spinosus

Posted: 24/09/2012 at 20:17

I think you're proably being too kind.  The best flowering specimens I have ever seen were at the base of a wall in almost no soil at the side of  a driveway.

Mine have never flowered as I have fertile soil and they do try to spread given half a chance.

Planting out Lupins

Posted: 23/09/2012 at 18:33

Thanks FR and Chris. I have a well drained, sunny patch on the side front which is more neutral then the rest of the garden and may prove to be a better home.  I'll try them there and not water them after planting.

Blueberry cuttings

Posted: 23/09/2012 at 15:20

You can take softwood cuttings in summer or hardwood cuttings in autumn.   Cut pieces about 4" long from the tips of branches.  Trim them to just below a leaf node.  Remove all except the top 2 leaves then dip in rooting hormone powder or gel and put in trays or pots of ericaceous compost mixed with vermiculite for extra drainage.

Water with rain or distilled water - unless your tap water is soft - then keep them sheltered from direct sun, wind and frosts.  They should root by next spring and then you can pot them up into individual pots and grow them on. 

wooden planters

Posted: 23/09/2012 at 14:21

To protect the wood and the plant roots, I would line the inside walls with small gauge bubble wrap.  It will keep the worst of the moisture off the wood and give an extra protection against frosts to the roots. 

You will need to drill drainage holes in the bottom and then stand them on either pot feet - available at garden centres - or bricks to allow excess moisture to drain away and also protect the tubs from excess water on the ground in winter so they last longer.

Has anyone made their own greenhouse staging?

Posted: 23/09/2012 at 14:15

When we relocated my greenhouse to a sunnier position last autum, we put in 4 3 x 3 fence posts cut to size along one side - two in the corners and 2 further in at a distance measured to fit the wire shelving grids from an old plastic greenhouse.  I then screwed roofing battens horizontally to the posts and laid the shelving grids across them.  Works a treat and the shelving can be removed if I want to do something like tie in cordon tomatoes after all the early seedlings have gone out in the garden..

Planting out Lupins

Posted: 23/09/2012 at 14:09

I'd like to know the secret to growing lupins.  I've tried them in the ground in various parts of my garden and they just don't survive, let alone thrive.  This year I tried again in a pot and those curled up their toes too.

I have very fertile, alkaline to neutral loam and very hard tap water.  Do they need acidity?  Better drainage?  What?  All advice welcome as I plan to try again from seed next spring before giving up.


Posted: 23/09/2012 at 14:05

I get painful rashes, but not blisters, from sticky bud/goose grass and some conifers.  All sorts of plants have bristles or sap which can upset sensitive skin, especially in sulight so, if it's a weed, best to wear long sleevs and gloves once you've identified the culprit.  If it's a treasured plant then consider protecting yourself or finding it a new home with friends or neighbours.

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