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Latest posts by obelixx

Parsnips in France

Posted: 27/10/2015 at 11:02

My MIL did roast potatoes from raw in a deep fat fryer and roast pork in an oven bag to keep the oven clean - which she didn't - and then wondered why it didn't crackle.   All veg cooked to a surrender and all meat very well cooked.   She was a gadget woman and had a full Kenwod Chef system and all sorts of other toys.   Funnily enough she was good at pastry but not cakes, scones, bread or biscuits.

We love parsnips - roast on their own or with carrots and red onions and a dash of balsamic; souped; baked with sausages, red onions and apples; parsnip and maple syrup cake...........




Posted: 27/10/2015 at 08:18

Morning all.  Haven't popped in here for ages.  I trust all are well.

Bright and sunny here after a mist overnight.  We got up to 17C yesterday for a brief while in the afternoon.  Hope it does that again today as i'm actually free to garden all afternoon.  Just have to do a wee supermarket run and walk the dogs first.

It's really muddy out there as the potato and sugar beet harvesting continues so the dogs come home filthy and needing a shower and a good rub down afterwards.

Don't like the dark evenings now cos OH likes to walk the dogs to de-stress when he gets in from work.   Still, he retires at the end of the year so not a problem for much longer.

Question: Hand held tools

Posted: 26/10/2015 at 17:04

Apart from my drill and scrwdrver for attaching new bird feerder hooks or hanging baskets or fixing trellis, the only electric hand held tool I use in the garden is a hedge trimmer but it's rather large and unwieldy so I'd quite like one that is smaller, very sharp and can be used without straining my shoulders.  

I reckon one with a smaller blade and weight would be brilliant for trimming my dwarf conifers, box hedge and any topiary I may attempt in the future.

Bark mulch

Posted: 26/10/2015 at 16:35

It depends what tree they came from as some barks do have a strong natural perfume.   

Check the bag labelling carefully before spreading on your garden in case they have been treated with some noxious chemical that will damage your plants and/or soil.

Parsnips in France

Posted: 26/10/2015 at 11:33

Excellent tip Berghill.  Thanks.   We're planning to move when OH retires and may end up on a parsnip free zone.

Steve - Belgian soils vary widely and so do rain levels.   From what I've seen driving around, Flemish field crops tend to be leeks, carrots, beans, corn, beetroot.  They do hydroponc salads and toms and pepers in greenhouses and polytunnels.

Round here it's all cereals and sweet corn in rotation with potatoes, sugar beet and chicons with mustard for a green manure.    Oil seed rape is becoming more prevalent and we still get flax in some fields but not as much as before.   

Between here and north east Flanders there are acres and acres of espaliered apples and pears in what is known as the Hesbaye.  Further south around Wépion they are famous for their strawberries.


Parsnips in France

Posted: 26/10/2015 at 10:09

I can now get decent parsnips here, both normal and organic at decent prices.   The one year I grew them they were immense and woody in the middle before we got anything like cold enough to have the frosts supposedly needed to improve the taste so I haven't bothered since.   I don't know if it was the soil, the climate that year or the wrong kind of parsnip.

Here is what the RHS advises - 

Climber needed for a very narrow sunny spot - is it really possible?

Posted: 25/10/2015 at 13:29

Nothing will grow well in just 6cms of soil.   There'll never be enough food and water for it to thrive.

You can buy a spiky attachment that you screw to the top of the fence.  Won't take up any space, won't hurt the kids.  Will stop intruders.  Have a look at these - 

Strictly is back!

Posted: 25/10/2015 at 00:27

There were issues with timing and finish but I enjoyed Anton's choreography again as there was actually some proper salsa content and armography.   Loved Anita's tango but not so much the music.   Helen, Kelly and Jay were very good too.

The rest were underwhelming, especially Peter André.


help needed for small garden centre piece

Posted: 24/10/2015 at 17:44

Not a camellia in an east facing position as it won't like the early sun on frosted buds and they too look dull when not in flower so are not for a prominent position.

Have a look at choisya ternata Sundance and other golden froms of this shrub.  The golden foliage will light up the space all year and, when happy and settled, it will produce scented white flowers. 

Avoid fast growing shrubs as they are, by definition, thugs that will need constant pruning and shaping to keep under control.

Wire for Clematis

Posted: 24/10/2015 at 17:37

Good garden centres and DIY stores will have vine eyes and tensioners and either silver coloured wire or plastic coated wire.

Vine eyes are simply long, sturdy screws with a loop instead of a head which allows you to pass the wire through so it is held away from the support and allows air to circulate behind the plants.  This reduced the risk of problems such as mildew.

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