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Latest posts by SMOKIN DONKEY


Posted: 17/08/2013 at 19:57

But what about over wintering plants /shrubs etc that are not winter hardy ?

The greenhouse is the perfect place "if its frost free


Posted: 17/08/2013 at 13:44

Hi Lesley cardiff,

If you put gravel over the concrete floor you'll be able to dampen down as the air between the concrete and gravel will help cause a moist air flow, ideal for very hot nights.

Potty girl

, Ive the full concrete floor, two reasons, (1) the greenhouse frame can be secured to this base and this along with the weight of the greenhouse & glass should keep it all solid in stormy weather,

(2) Ive found that when i had an open area inside the greenhouse ie soil /paving slabs that the winter heat was lost due to the ground being cold and wet and this caused the greenhouse to have this cold tempature,

When i bought my second greenhouse i concreted the complete area and secured the greenhouse to this base and sealed the base of the greenhouse to add heat retention "ie no little wind gaps (use the same seal as for sealing window frames DIY stores sell it in tubes)

I did make a channel down the centre of the greenhouse floor area for water to escape when i use a hosepipe for cleaning etc but when i did the base concrete i used a broom pole to make a hole near the door bottom area and i plug this,

when i do need to hose i just pull the wooden plug out and the water can be brushed out via this hole, re-plug and you've a secure floor area once again,

No mice etc can get into the greenhouse.

Now ref growing the like of tom's/cuucumber etc i use a bought deep trough, i can change the compost when needed and cover the top of the trough to make a good shelf for potted plants if needed,

The main cost of greenhouse use is the keeping it heated, if the floor lets cold in ?

then winter heating or early spring night heating can all be lost due to heat being reduced via a cold floor area,

You can bubble wrap the glass to help save heat,

But if you get the floor wrong what can you do to save heat ??? NOT VERY MUCH

hope this helps.


Posted: 17/08/2013 at 13:21


I hope im not late on this subject as i bought a shredder/chipper last year,

It works off the mini tractor P.T.O (Power turn over) but you can buy these in petrol operated machines,

Now ive a large garden and as we're wood burning home heated we get our wood from the local woods, this means removing all the side shoots before the wood is cut into wood burner size and then split,

Coming back to the size of the garden and the fact that age slows you down i needed mulch to help keep weeds down and protect the roots of verious trees/plants etc through the winter,

This wood chipper is a great bit of stuff "not only" will it deal with all the "up to 2 inch thick wood, but also such things as cabbage stalks, now these are not dry when they go through the machine and it deals with them with no messing,

how it all works is a drum turns all the time and this drum has spikes that grip the wood and feeds it into another drum thats got a series of metal blades that go around at speed, these cut the wood into small chips and then a blower blows the chips through a tunnel into a pile,

the thing to check is that this tunnel is kept dry-ish otherwise the dust of the chips will block the exit route out of the tunnel,

So do as i do and clean the machine after use "i use polish in the tunnel area to help it stay moist free and the chips etc slide out easier" If you dont clean after use the dust thats collected in this are will have moisture in it and will cause damp "hence a future blockage waiting to happen.

As ive said this is a great machine and ive had it going for two days non stop except for the normal tes/coffee break and its filled trailer after trailer (farm tractor trailer size) time and time again.

Remember you get what you pay for, if you want quality then dont buy cheaper ones as this is a machine meant to work,

google shredder/chippers and you'll see just how much work these machines can do.

Hope this little lot helps.

State of Water in Water Butts

Posted: 17/08/2013 at 12:57


I have both water butts and a 1000ltr tank for water collection,

the first thing i'd say is make sure the butt cover is bird friendly ie if a young bird falls in  ! not only will it die and then smell but your wasting the water,

my water 45 gal butts have a egg cup size drops of olive oil in them as this stops flies from laying eggs etc in the water and works fine,

I think what your doing wrong is not using your water hence its getting stale as any product will if you leave it for long enough.(dont you have an overflow on your butts?)

I like to keep air space around the water and infact i used an old cycle wheel rim (spokes removed) and covered the rim with chicken wire, this lets air in /birds out and i use this rain water on a regular basis.

Now why not use this butt that keeps getting smelly as a fertilizer supply butt,

put comfrey or nettles leaves "in a sack or onion bag (plus a brick to help it all sink) into the filled butt leave for 6 weeks (you will at one stage have a smell but it wont last) and then mix 1 part of the fertilizer mix with 9 parts water,

You'll have one of the best fertilizers for both flowers and fruit/veg you can use and all for free.


ref pulling your hair out if you had any.? Lets hope they change the name from head & shoulders to just "Shoulders" that should make you happy.


Posted: 17/08/2013 at 12:34

A few years ago i met a chap early one morning in tesco's of all places (4am) it was one of those open all night stores and i was returning from a weekend away,

we met on the garden supply section and i was putting bags of compost in one of those trolly things and noticed he'd done the same,

We both felt a little bit emarrassed as we both thought each other may think we we're mad buying garden compost at 4am, but a smile can open a million doors and as such he told me he had a railway running all the way around his small garden,

We exchanged tel/numbers and later on we met up and i saw his miniture railway,

it really was out of this world with all the stations/little cottages/ signal box "all working" road crossing gates etc etc and on the house walls we're old railway notices made of metal,

all this along with flowers etc really was a nice mix of a long time hobby ref gardening and his life time spent working on the railway as a signalman.

Have you seen any such theme gardens made by the ordinary person?


Posted: 17/08/2013 at 12:16

Again you've run to the chemicles, "Why' i dont know"

As addict has asked "What" have you sprayed with ?

Ive grown cabbages for more years than i care to remember and the main problem ive had is catterpillars, you can over come this even starting!  by using netting over the young plants and keeping an eye out for the signs if any eggs we're laid,

I plant a few cabbages in with my bedding flowers along with beet root and onions all helps keep both the soil in good condition and a lot of the insects happy but i must admit i have a very large garden and so have the space to plant in this fashion,

But ref chemicles !! I avoid them as much as possible.


Posted: 17/08/2013 at 12:07

Well ref "Welshonion reply,

It depends how long you want to store them early or other wise,


Posted: 17/08/2013 at 09:18

As i said yesterday it was a changing period in the allotment times "a bit like the old cowboy days in away, the girls had arrived and the men we're about to find out,

I noticed little things like net curtains on the tool shed window's,

And tool sheds you could see what was inside them !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! tools and the like all hanging in their own space, neat little jars with string in and so forth,

Nothing like most of the mens shed's "you couldnt see day light in them never mind tools",

And the old thunder box !!

Well it was re-named the toilet and the old string loo paper holder had been re-placed by a proper one with a nice loo roll (pink coloured) paper,

But the site comic had his way and put his sign in there saying allotment issue "please use both sides" of this paper,

We had  a spray in there and a lock on the door? And a nice new seat "no more freezing shock feel as you lowered yourself on those cold winter days of need,

Yes the ladies had arrived,

Every saturday morn we "the lads"  would start the days gardening off by a cup of what looked like tea and the much loved bacon and sloppy (half cooked ) egg toasty,  a squirt of sauce and we'd all be happy telling jokes as we ate the start of the day treat,

As we take a bite sauce & egg would try to escape out of the sides of the toasty and it would be met by a big lick of a tongue,

But after the ladies had their first saturday eat in things changed and strange sights appeared like "tissue paper &  a feeling you we're in your grand mothers house " so no dripping sauce or tongue catching tricks,

But these we're all good things,

we men needed & thanks to the ladies arrival,

and we still had many a laugh with them or at them.

Pam became one of my very best friends as did emma, Pam wasn't some kind of loose single mum as some thought when she first arrived infact her husband had died and he never saw "Emma" but still this woman continued to live a life and made a good mum to emma,

We saw wheel barrows with flower design's on them, yellow rubber gloves & pink wellies walking about the place.

We really did love that site and all got on really well through good and some very trying times like when we had our break-ins and tools we're taken and crops destroyed for the sake of it, the old thunder box was set alight and the nice new seat "provided by one of the ladies was ripped apart all in the name of youth,

But we carried on and this upset became a bad thought, but when the letter's arrived telling us we had 6 months and then this site would be taken off us,

This wasn't going to be a past bad thought "but a future one".

"Well" it was a very sad day and the soul just fell out of the old allotments,

it wasn't worth planting any more, and as the members gave up i was glad the site comic did'nt

"he said one saturday morn as we ate our bacon toasty "

"Has anyone else noticed the loo rolls are lasting a hell of a lot longer"

We just fell about the place laughing at his daft remarks,

that was the last time we'd be allowed on site as the council we're to close the gates on the monday for the very last time and what was our adult play ground would become houses.

All that saturday members could be seen taking their tools etc off site and saying good by to each other,

The last three people to leave was me Pam & emma, and as i walked "tools in hand' past the old loo i could see the loo roll paper just hanging there and it made me think "it did last a lot longer these days as most of the members had left,

We closed the gates and locked the pad lock and tried to say "see ya"

but i could feel the grit in the eye coming (real men dont cry "no they just ge


Posted: 16/08/2013 at 21:09

You can store apples,

I do three things with my fruit,

(1) use in chutney, we have years supply of the stuff in sealed jars, the longer you can keep it the better the taste,And you can make some really nice home made chutney.

(2) apple / pear etc can be bottled  and used for later in the year ie christmas time


(3) if you've a freezer ? Apples can be cooked now and put into those tin containers and frozen, these are then used for crumble or apple pie filling anytime you feel the need.

(4) storing apples, get hold of one of those carbourd fruit box's you see in the supermarket (they'll give them to you as they only chuck them away)

Inspect each apple "only the best will store" any that are marked or are not in perfect state wont store.

Use old news paper and wrap each apple in the paper, place the apple on a bed of old news papers keeping each apple away from each other "just a little space between each one is enough,

when you've one layer of apples put the box in a cool "but not a place thats going to freeze" and out of direct light

I keep my stored fruit under my workbench in my workshop,

I have a look at the fruit every few weeks as sometimes some may rot and this can cause the good fruit to get damp and start to rot.

This may sound a lot to do but once you start you'll soon get the hang of it.


Posted: 16/08/2013 at 20:51

Many years ago i had an allotment, waited 3 years and then a phone call from the town hall to ask if i was still interested, Yes Yes Yes, was my reply,

Well we've got a plot vacant "but" its a bit wild,

That was the start of years of laughs, pleasure and learning,

We didn't have any ladies on the site when i first got my plot, but a few couples did have an interest, (the older ladies would knit and the husband do the gardening,

Then as members started to die or get ill and couldnt continue so the plots came vacant and thanks to the good life tv series we had our first ladies arrive,

One single mum got a plot next to mine as Albert "the plot holder" was found dead on the allotment loo,

Everyone was shocked when they found him as he was 24 stone and the loo was only a thunder box (very very small wardrobe size box) hence it was known as the thunder box (you can work out for yourself the "Thunder bit in the title",

All allotments have the site comic and it was said Albert died trying to make his own manure,

But after a few months the new member arrived with her little girl, the mum was Pam and her daughter was called "emma" she was a down sydrom child and a hand full to say the least,

Some of the older members we're not very keen on women on the site never mind children and they didn't try very hard to say hello to our new member.

As the weeks passed by "Pam" came every weekend (with emma) to the allotment and she started to get to grips with sorting out the jungle she'd taken on,

Emma would talk to worms and anyone who would talk to her,

One day i thought i'd show her how to sow flower seeds, and so for what seemed like a hour but was only 10 mins i explained and showed her how to sow seeds,

I said you must check them every time your here and water them,

"Why am i to check them"

Just to see if they are growing,

Why do i water them!!!!

Because all flowers like a drink.

Every time the two of them would arrive "emma" would go to her seed plot and dig them up to see if they'd grown any.

That little girl brought life to the allotment and after 12 months she was a very popular little girl, Her mum was excepted by most of the old boys and she was a pleasure to have as a friend,

Gardening isn't just about growing veg etc but friendships also sometimes need time to grow.

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