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Latest posts by obelixx

black eye peas

Posted: 14/05/2015 at 10:17

I love black eyed peas but they are so cheap to buy in Asian supermarkets I prefer to grow other more expensive or hard to find veg which requires less care.  Round here that's fresh salad leaves, fresh beetroot, purple sprouting broccoli, cavolo nero and curly kale and Swiss chard.  

Fresh fruit like strawberries and raspberries and blue berries are also prohibitively expensive and often imported so they're worth giving space and care too and can be grown chemical free at home.

The Great Chelsea Garden Design Challenge

Posted: 14/05/2015 at 10:12

Excellent summary of the programme Brenda but I have enjoyed it on the whole and have picked up quite a few design and implementation tips which are interesting even though I will never aspire to design anything other than what pleases me and OH using plants I know or, in the case of new ones, hope will grow well in my garden.  I do it for fun and the satisfying results.

To be a garden designer requires a wider plant knowledge to cover all possible aspects, soils, local weather conditions, budgets and aspirations of the commissioning customer and these people so far seem to be a little lacking in that as well as being unable to follow and interpret a brief.   Having said that, I do think the gold gardens so far have been the best on the day and I really like the Geordie chap's inventive ideas.   The women have all been weak in execution of their designs.

I know it's a formula format but none the worse for that.   I really enjoy the Bake Off because I enjoy baking and cooking tho will never waste time doing a montage on a cake or 2 dozen perfect tartlets or donuts.   I like the Sewing Bee because I sew too but will never waste time transforming old rags because it's quicker and cheaper to sew from new.   On both programmes the standard has risen each year.  Let's hope this one does too if it continues.


Thuja like plant in my garden (picture included)

Posted: 13/05/2015 at 15:44

Don't despair.  I have loads of this in some imported soil I was offered by a farmer when I was creating a new 7 x 4 m raised bed at the front.  I then improved it with a large load of horse manure.   It's in amongst roses and clematis and geraniums and bulbs and all sorts of other lovely stuff so I can't spray.

I just pull it when I see it and leave it to dry before binning. Constant vigilance.

How to deal with pests

Posted: 13/05/2015 at 15:38

Slugs and snails get thrown in the road to be squished and the ones I don't catch get organic pellets from Feb 14th onwards to stop them feeding and breeding once they hatch or emerge form hibernation.

Red lily beetles get squished underfoot when I find them.  Everything else is left to the birds to deal with or predators such as ladybirds and hoverflies.  I feed th ebirds all year so they treat my garden as home.  We have sparrows and tits nesting in our eaves and hedges.  Great for hoovering up aphids and caterpillars.

Thuja like plant in my garden (picture included)

Posted: 13/05/2015 at 14:10

I think it's called both Nut.   Nasty either way.

Thuja like plant in my garden (picture included)

Posted: 13/05/2015 at 13:33

This is a weed called mare's tail.  It is prehistoric in origin and has roots that can go down 30 feet and spread most happily in poor soil.   It is very difficult to eradicate as it propagates from trhe slightest bit left in or on teh soil and has silicates in its cell structure which make it all but impervious to systemic weedkillers.

That being said, it is possible to weaken it by constant attention with a hoe or by hand - remove all visible plant parts and leave them to dry in a sunny spot before burning or putting in the general rubbish bin.  Do not try and compost it as it will thrive and multiply.    Keep doing this so the roots get no food from photosynthesis and it will eventually weaken and die out but it may take a few years.

You can also crush the visible parts with your boots to break down the surface cell structure and allow weedkillers to penetrate.  Then use a glyphosate based solution which will be taken down to the roots and apply it by hand so you can rub it in.  Wear rubber gloves to stop your skin absorbing the active ingredients.   Glyphosate takes two weeks to act and you will need repeat application on this weed.


Bonsi Chinese elm problem.

Posted: 13/05/2015 at 12:33

I was given one of those bonsai elms 12 years ago as part of a birthday present.  I planted it out in the garden and it is now a fine, healthy, mixed hedging plant that I keep at about 4'6" high.

Any tips to reduce the ant population?

Posted: 13/05/2015 at 12:30

Studies have been done by all sorts of august bodies and scientists.  Ants farm aphids for their secretions and they will actively fight off natural predators such as hoverflies and ladybirds to protect their food source.   They will move aphids around to new plants to keep the honeydew coming.

Ants take advantage of any aphids they find and help keep them safe to reproduce in huge numbers so they get more food.   Aphids reproduce all by themselves ao ants only need one aphid to start a whole new colony and then multiply those around the garden.

Deal with the ants, encourage tits to feed in your garden and encourage hoverflies and ladybirds by growing plants they like and you will get a manageable balance without nasty pesticides.



coffee & tea

Posted: 13/05/2015 at 12:23

I suggest that first you google about to find out what moss needs to grow well - shade, poor drainage, poor fertility.  Do try and research ideas before committing your time and money to projects..

Anyone else get slightly "rare" bird visitors?

Posted: 13/05/2015 at 08:45

No greenfinches for several years and no goldfinches here at all but we have had more chaffinches than previous years and the usual assorted blue, great and marsh tits, house and tree sparrows, assorted small brown jobs including warblers and dunnocks and wrens, robins, blackbirds, turtle doves, greater spotted woodpeckers and, recently, jays who come in the day time and not just at dawn.

We used to get magpies but, touch wood, not for the last couple of years although we get crows now and there's a pair of jackdaws trying to build their nest on our central heating boiler's chimney pot.   There are moorhens and mallards and Egyptian and Canada geese and herons in the stream bordering our boggy paddock across the road.  I am told there are snipe but haven't seen them.   We get great egrets in winter and little egrets in summer and there are barn owls and buzzards in the woods across the paddock next door and we get occasional sparrowhawks swooping in.

Our main bird feeders are in the veggie plot behind the kitchen window but in winter I hang extra peanut and fat ball feeders along the edge of the terrace so I can see the birds from the sofa in the living room.   This morning I have put out dried insects for the first time.  It remains to be seen how long it will take before the birds spot them or if we get new visitors.

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1 to 15 of 17 threads