Latest posts by Robot

what to intercrop with squash?

Posted: 10/06/2012 at 13:16

I do it the other way around.  I put the squash at the edges and then let them go over the plot and put the stems inbetween things and up the paths.  They are there for some time and seem to get along.  Here's how I store my butternuts in the garage.  Works really well and the last one was eaten just a couple of weeks ago (it had fallen onto hubby's workbench and he hadn't noticed - it was a bonus!)



Triffid identification please!

Posted: 10/06/2012 at 13:06

Looks like a globe artichoke to me but I only ever grew one once and then it disappeared so my memory could be having a blip.

Page numbers not working in My Posts

Posted: 10/06/2012 at 12:50

In "My Posts" the first page works ok but if you go to page 2, 3 etc it returns to the main Welcome page.

Any suggestions Admin?

Too late to plant more seeds?

Posted: 10/06/2012 at 12:39

Bear in mind parsnips are notoriously long to germinate and when you think nothing has happened, suddenly they are there.  They catch me out every year.  I've just done my third sowing of broccoli and it will be ready before the first frost with a bit of luck. Nothing ventured, nothing gained ay?

Sprout Protection

Posted: 10/06/2012 at 12:28

I've been looking around for the grade of fleece I have.  It seems I have the stuff which professionals tend to use - which would be born out by the chap who got it for me.  I found this site -

and yes, they sell it in large quantities but if 50m is too much for you perhaps you could get together with some friends.  Personally I have about 50m of it and sometimes wish I had more.  What you see in my photos is about a quarter in use at the moment.  Looking at the site I definitely have the 0.3m grade as nothing gets through except the rain and sun and it washes up just like a net curtain.  I sew it when I damage it too so I don't think some of the cheaper stuff sold on eBay etc would last as long. 

I'll keep looking for you.


Sprout Protection

Posted: 10/06/2012 at 12:14

Hi Andrew,

I'm in S.W. France but don't go thinking we don't get it cold here.  We were snowed in for 3 weeks this winter and then a massive frost in April dessimated a lot of the garden.  I lost a lot of big shrubs and most of the contents of my polytunnel and had to start again. Anyway, to the matter in hand....

I leave the netting on until towards the end of August when the cabbage whites are finished with their mating.  After that if I see a stray one I tend to nuke it before it finds a mate.  Cruel, I know, but there you go.  By then the plants are up to the top of the netting anyway and instead of just increasing the height of the poles I set them free.  There's just the sprouts really by then as I would have harvested the early cabbages etc but I will have new rows of brassicas coming along by then which will be uncovered too.  I'm lucky to have a lot of bamboo growing and use the new canes to make higher hoops if needed as they are bendy when just cut.

I like the square ones which are on the other thread but my hoops have worked well over the years.  I would just mention that some people say you can just lay the fleece over your crops but you will find that if leaves are touching the surface the cabbage white will be able to lay her eggs on them.  She'll try to get in any gap or hole too.  It's a nightmare out there....

grass clippings at base of established azalea

Posted: 09/06/2012 at 08:59

Good morning Jimeva,

I'm happy to say that I don't seem to have a slug problem in the compost.  I do, however, seem to get an awful lot of those horrible white grubs (chafers I think) probably because when we came here 10 years ago our garden was just a field with a few trees.  Nothing for slugs to live on but plenty for the chafers.  Also, now I have a full garden, I have a resident colony of birds and I think they help a lot by keeping down the slugs, snails and other crawlies.  I do go around most days at dawn and dusk to catch any little munchers, but they always seem to make a beeline for my hosta bed and I've yet to get a non-holy hosta - but in time......

I'm guessing our soil is naturally slightly acid as seen by the number of conifer woods around but we always lime the veggie plot each year.  I've never done a pH test but I'm guessing we are probably about neutral now what with manure and compost added over the years as most things thrive but I have to work in some peat or pine chippings around the rhodies, azaleas, pieris and blueberries from time to time.  Our main problem is that our soil is extremely fine and during summer it forms a hard crust which doesn't allow the rain to penetrate.  I'm constantly having to rake over the soil to break up the crust, but a few more years of compost and poo should sort that out.  

I don't put a lot of woody material on the compost heap.  I use a lot of prunings for stakes for dahlias etc and a lot on the veggie plot to support haricot vert, peppers etc and to lay over newly sown rows to keep the birds off.  Holly trimmings are a wonderful deterrent for hungry pigeons and magpies.  Any other woody stuff is usually burnt and I put the ashes on. 

As I said before, everything except plastic goes on my compost.  Leftover cooked food goes in the dog so I don't put that on.  I even put my hoover contents on there as it's mostly dog hair anyway. 

I don't use an accelerator - just the odd night fluid - and I don't cover it until winter.  It's now as I like it.  I've tried the turning and the accelerators but apart from an aching back I didn't get any better results.  I never put weeds on which are in flower or seeding nor perrenial weed roots.  They go in a sack and to the tip (we don't have recycling collections here) or on the bonfire if we have one. I make insect repellent from rhubarb leaves and liquid feed from nettles.  Crikey!! I'm a nutcase   Mind you, I'm no domestic goddess so my energy has to go somewhere...

I think that answers your questions - glad to help but don't know how to solve your slug problem unless you use chemical pellets.  So long as the birds don't get into your compost then they should be safe enough.  Sometimes needs must. 

Right, my garden is calling me ......

grass clippings at base of established azalea

Posted: 08/06/2012 at 10:44

We have made a large square compost container from posts and old tarpaulin and a three sided version next to it.  They are down the bottom of the garden with all the other stored building material which "might come in handy one day" so can't really be seen from the house. 

The grass clippings go into the three sided version as hubs can back the sit-on mower into it.  I put the grass clippings in a layer on the compost heap as and when there's enough veggie matter in there.  I save every scrap of paper I don't want and shred it.  Cardboard - as in egg boxes - is dampened and put in the compost too.  I get cow manure from a local farmer and put a couple of wheelbarrow loads in the compost too before spreading on the veggie plot.  At the end of the year I cover the compost for the winter and in the spring have masses of compost.  The top layer I set aside and mix it with fallen leaves to make the base for the next lot.  I don't turn it - ever - which goes against what everyone else says to do.

As you have such a large garden I'm sure you could find space to do something similar.  You don't have to spend a lot of money buying fancy plastic compost bins which really don't hold much IMO. 

Once you get composting you'll be surprised at how much satisfaction it gives you.  You'll be saving every little scrap of greenery - but not weeds in seed or perrenial weed roots!! 

Now the rude bit.....  Occassionally, throughout the year, hubs and I take a bucket to bed and in the morning tip the liquid contained therein onto the compost heap.  No need for fancy chemicals.  It's easier for men than for women methinks. 

Sprout Protection

Posted: 07/06/2012 at 10:30

Me again....  here's another discussion which should help..


Sprout Protection

Posted: 07/06/2012 at 10:21

I have had a quick Google and there are loads of products to choose from.  But, I would say avoid the non-woven fleece as that is mainly for frost protection and will tear easier than this fleece.  Also, don't get anything less than 2m wide - the wider the better then you can cover more.  I think the 18 gsm woven fleece will suffice although it doesn't look as close a weave as the one I have. The chap who orginally got it for me (from UK) had his own veg growing and supply business and bought it wholesale from an agricultural supplier.  I paid about 1euro a metre which was as cheap as chips then but it is very strong and at the end of the year I put it all in the washing machine and then store it for the spring.  I have even used it to make fly screens (essential in this part of the world).  It is not a frost protection.  Unfortunately I have lost touch with the veg chap over the years.

I'll keep looking tonight after I have attacked the weeds today.  If you find a supplier perhaps you could post it as I could always do with some more.  I think mine has a life span of 10 years but I take care of it and I'm sure it will last much longer.

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Is it wild phlox?

If so, how do I make some more? 
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Page numbers not working in My Posts

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Last Post: 02/07/2012 at 21:30

Sh**s Sorrel

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Buds turning brown and dying. 
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12 threads returned