Latest posts by Robot

creepy crawlies in the soil on the allotment

Posted: 20/06/2012 at 17:12

If they are wireworms then they will eat the roots of anything you give them.  They are about 2cms long with a semi-hard skin.  I break them in half and put them on the bird table.  Or, if you have fish they love them too.

You could buy something to kill any soil born pests but if you want to be organic then you'll just have to keep cultivating your soil and nuke what you find as I do.  I always do at least an extra 3 of everything I put in and keep them in the tunnel or coldframe.  When I see a wilting plant I dig it up and 8 times out of 10 there's a chafer grub but the other times it will be a wireworm. 

 If not wireworms then I don't know what it could be.

Will anything benefit from these old pipes?

Posted: 20/06/2012 at 17:02

Thank you both.  I'll do that small thing.  I'll pile up the logs so the concrete doesn't show so much.  There'll be plenty of leaves falling in autumn as there are six great oak trees there.  Should I block off one end or leave it open?  We get foxes, pine martens, neighbours cats and birds of prey here.  I know we have little mice as we moved a pile of wood the other day and made a little mouse homeless until he could scoot to the new pile.  Our dog was fascinated but didn't worry it. 


No leaves on tree yet

Posted: 20/06/2012 at 13:59

Oh dear.  It doesn't look well does it?

I suggest you get up SAFELY!! to one of the small branches and scrape the outer bark and see what colour is underneath.  If it is green then it is alive and if it is brown then it is dead.  Then make your way down until you come to a green bit.  If it is all brown then it's probably had it.  I'm surprised because my books say that it is fairly tough but won't survive temperatures of about minus 20.  Did you get that?  We get minus 15 and it's ok. 

I have lost quite a bit this year as we had an unusual 3 weeks of snow and then a horrendous frost following a hot spell.  I have cut down several large shrubs and smaller trees back to the green and they are sprouting again. 

I do hope you can save this lovely tree.

Will anything benefit from these old pipes?

Posted: 20/06/2012 at 12:29

I have been using two old drain pipes for years as storage for canes and poles so they have been upright and apart from the odd snail nothing has been in them.  I have decided that laying down in my wild bit they may benefit a little creature as a nest or hibernating place but I need some advice as to how to make them more attractive and predator proof.    I have piles of leaves and wood that I can either put in them or around them.  They are approx 1 metre long and 25 cm wide (3ft by 10ins approx for us oldies) and open ended.  Very heavy - made of concrete.

I have placed them under one of my oak trees (excuse the burnt wood art piece.  It was rescued from the bonfire when I thought it had potential - )


 I'm sure something would like to use them but haven't a clue really. 


No leaves on tree yet

Posted: 20/06/2012 at 11:31

I'm in SW France and this is my Liquidambar a few minutes ago.  It has been like this for a month or more.  If anyone knows about these trees I'm wondering if I should take off the shoots at the base of the trunk and can I use them somehow to make cuttings?  This tree was one of the two trees in the garden when we came here so I don't know much about it.  Reluctantly we have trimmed the bottom branches off so that we can get around on the mower.  Normally it has a more triangular shape - which I prefer but hubs complained of being attacked by it


Should my bargain do this?

Posted: 20/06/2012 at 11:13

I bought this little chap yesterday in "poorly corner" for a euro.  I'm pretty sure it is an oenothera, despite the plant having no label, but should it be hanging?  I've looked in my garden bible but can't find any reference to a hanging oenothera. 

I think it will bulk up with some tlc and feed but I need to know if it is a "hanger" then I will put it in the appropriate place. 



Talkback: Growing lupins

Posted: 20/06/2012 at 11:06

I little trick I do to prolong the flowering time is when seed pods start to form but there's still lots of flower buds to open, I hold the top of the flower gently and rub the seedpods off.  As most plants' aim in life is to reproduce, when it has made seeds then it decides it doesn't need to flower anymore, so by rubbing off the seeds I trick it into thinking it hasn't done its job.  I get loads more flowers then.  The end of the stalk looks a bit funny eventually (photo below) but it's worth it for more flowers.  When I think the last flower spike comes along I let the pods stay on and use the seeds to make more plants and I always get some good colour combinations.  


Is it wild phlox?

Posted: 20/06/2012 at 10:45

It is a new plant for me and one which I hope I can keep going around the garden.  I'm keeping an eye on the seed pods and hubs is instructed to forget about his cementing until the pods are ready.  I'm sure I can find him something more meaningful and interesting to do


Posted: 20/06/2012 at 10:43


Posted: 19/06/2012 at 18:52

Your fish should be fine as the top of the skimmer bobs up and down with the water level and stays on the surface.  Our pond had koi, goldfish and fry - plus the usual assortment of pond skaters etc - and you can't get more curious than koi and they would have a look when it was on and that was it.  Unless they jumped in then no worries.  Besides, they would be caught in the basket and not get all the way to the filter.

We would push our oxygenating plants into the water and wiggle them a about a bit and the duckweed etc would just float out.  If you feed your fish don't do it before you skim or all the food will go down the skimmer (obvious really).

We used to have another pond which was pristine - no soil, minimal plants etc so that the koi were living in crystal clear water - a system which a lot of koi enthusiasts prefer - and we had a skimmer which was specially made for the job plus a shed load of filters and pumps.  I wanted a more natural pond but we installed the bottom filter system before thinking about a skimmer so came up with the swimming pool idea.

Someone should invent a fish which only lives on duckweed and then there wouldn't be a problem....

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