Latest posts by Palaisglide

Horse Manure - what to do with it

Posted: 09/04/2014 at 23:16

Orchid Lady, be careful.

Find out what they use as bedding, my Son now uses straw in his stables though at one time he used sawdust and chippings both need a long time to rot down. He piles it in a heap from which I take a bag that is around 1-2 years old, pick up a hand full and smell it, soft crumbly and sweet smelling is the aim.

At home I add it to the compost heaps in thin layers as I turn the compost then use that as a mulch or to add goodness to hungry growers like sweet peas tomato's etc. Raw manure will burn your plants and can contain weed seeds which is why it needs to be well and truly rotted down, the heat should kill the weeds.

My father used our horse manure in hot boxes to start early plants and Veg plus fruit such as strawberries, the well rotted stuff went into the base of the potato drills and we always had the best.

Hope this helps.


Sentimental Plants

Posted: 09/04/2014 at 20:12

Hi David, yes all well just been very busy, a couple of friends asked about me so I thought it best to put minds at rest, not pushing up daisies.

Dog Roses are my Aunt Mabel we would take a trug and search the hedges around the farm for her herbs and potions, back in the big warm kitchen always smelling of fresh bread she would make up her medicines I was a lad who often got dosed, my guess would be they were mainly home made wines but did the trick. Rose hips were also made into jams and medicine, I was told never pick the dog roses unless the petals were for a salad.

This forum is addictive I only intended to dip in and out.


Good draining compost

Posted: 09/04/2014 at 15:45

AlastairS, seed compost is finely sieved mixed with sand and has very little goodness in it, seeds contain their own food for the first week or so.

We pot them on into a slightly better compost that still contains only a little nutrient because like babies seedlings need to be weaned. I use half compost half fine grit.

Pot on into a full compost three quarters compost a quarter grit to grow on and harden off in the pots then plant out into the border after preparing with compost or manure.

Hope this helps, Frank.

Sentimental Plants

Posted: 09/04/2014 at 15:02


There are three Monkey Puzzle trees within two miles of me in perfect health the thing being I know one was there before 1939 and the other two shortly after.

The trees are around 25-30 feet high with a spread of around 14, is it possible to keep them in pots all their lives,  My book says Araucaria is a conifer usually grown as a shade tolerant house plant, must admit to never seeing one inside.

My Plant is Paeonia,  officinalis Rubra-Red, I grew up with it in our walled garden Dad said it had been there before he was born a huge bush with wonderful large flowers that fascinated me as a child, it travelled by cuttings with my Sister and I and is settled outside my Conservatory, the memories it holds.

My wife loved Snowdrops, we always had clumps around the garden so imagine my surprise on taking flowers to her plot at Norton Church to see a complete sea of snowdrops covering the ground right down to her plot, three years now but the memories still flood in when I see them.


Strawberry Pots-What Size Please ?

Posted: 09/04/2014 at 14:35


1) Correct was an engineer all my life. Now retired.

2) a six inch pot is six inches up down sideways on end.

3) A sheltered spot can be up against a wall, under a bush beside a fence, they are hardy and overwinter outdoors. I bring a few into the greenhouse early spring to get early fruit, you can only do that once.

4) They will grow on in the ground and many do it that way as I did when I had stacks of room, as my old Dad used to say sow one row for the beasties, one row for the birds and two rows for yourself, he would finish we all have a purpose and all have to live. We are discovering now you cannot live without insects and other members of the food chain including us if lions are loose.


Strawberry Pots-What Size Please ?

Posted: 09/04/2014 at 10:18


1) It is best to put Strawberries up high to escape the snails and they still get there, low down you can lose the lot in a night.

2) If they are new plants they do not fruit well the first year six inch pots with good compost will do.

3) I find using 9inch deep trays about four feet long with plenty of drainage and good compost best for second year plants four to a tray.

4) once fruited put pots or trays in a sheltered place and let them rest any runners should have been put in pots and held down until rooted then cut from the mother plant and grown on as above.

5) Clean up the plants in Autumn and put back in a sheltered place ready for the next year, I check the roots at this time too

6) two fruiting years is the norm though I have had five from some plants. Better to take as many runners as possible and increase your bed that way with fresh plants.

7) Midnight raids with a torch and a bucket of water with what ever you use to kill the little blighters and you will still lose some even on staging.

Good luck Frank.

Tomatoes - in or out

Posted: 08/04/2014 at 19:47

Orchid lady, ventilation is crucial for all plants, the more vents the better, 25 is a good setting though with mine being South facing I am out opening vents and doors as it is also sheltered from the cold Northerly and Easterly winds we get straight off the North sea. If yours is in a more open position then you may be closing one side opening the other, depends on wind direction. If you are out all day better to be cool than baking set the openings before you leave.


Tomatoes - in or out

Posted: 08/04/2014 at 17:27

Orchid Lady Hello, it has been a busy time although as some friends contacted me on the personal message board I thought it best to assure them all I had not gone to the big parade ground in the sky.

Depends on your greenhouse really, a free standing greenhouse of what ever size takes a lot of heating, mine is wall mounted an a south facing brick wall that takes in the heat even in winter and gives it back at night. My reason for several buckets of water is to use them on the plants, our water is very soft and the rain over Teesside quite acidic. The water warms up and gasses off lovely for young and tender plants, in hard water area's I would use rain water from my butts.

A sand bed takes care of seeds and seedlings, shelving on the brick wall takes care of plants a bit tender and fleece or bubble wrap keeps the warmth where I need it, add a frost guard fan heater just in case and it is a belt and braces job.

We all had to learn and asking questions is the way to do that, do not be shy and you can bet someone else will be looking for the same answer, that is the beauty of this forum, mainly friendly.

Regards Frank.

acer mapel

Posted: 08/04/2014 at 17:08

Correct, it was the Rhododendron thread with a time limit.

I do not see the point of digging round the root ball and loosening it up for the wind to bowl it over, may as well disturb it once then leave it to settle down again.


Good draining compost

Posted: 08/04/2014 at 14:36

Sand and fine gravel mixed with potting compost, around half compost to the sand and gravel, then just cover the seed lightly and they will need some warmth 18-20 degrees. They are a bit hit and miss taking up to three weeks to appear.

When ready to be planted out in a sunny border add manure and compost as you plant.

If you put the roots in boxes under glass in March you can take root cuttings a month later by far the quickest way to propagate. Watch out for Aphids when you put them out.


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