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Latest posts by steephill

Nothing will grow - suggestions please!

Posted: 04/04/2013 at 14:58

You would also need to persuade your neighbour to get rid of their conifer. It will be sucking all the moisture out of the surrounding soil. If this isn't possible then think about using containers but these will need watering. Automatic watering systems can be very useful here.

Greenhouse cooling

Posted: 04/04/2013 at 14:53

I think you may need a new thermometer. I can't imagine any UK greenhouse getting to those sorts of temperatures in the current weather. 50F I could believe but not 50C. That temperature would fry humans never mind plants!


Good tip on the solar fans. I have a few old PC fans lying around and had been thinking of doing this. I have automatic vents but some additional ventilation during bright Winter weather would also be welcome to keep the greenhouse fresh. What bits do you need? Can you just connect the panel output to the fans?

Best dwarf pear or apple?

Posted: 27/03/2013 at 12:20

What is in your neighbours gardens? I ask because you will need at least one other different compatible apple or pear variety to pollinate your own for best results. Few are reliably self-fertile.  More info here As they say on the Beeb "other supplier are available".

Crab apple trees will pollinate most apples and as they are chosen more for their blossom rather than fruit they are very common.

If there are no suitable trees around you one solution would be to try one of those "family tree" trees.

Pear trees usually take longer to fruit so you would need to be patient.


Posted: 25/03/2013 at 10:50

General location?

Pollinating insects will not be attracted to sterile plants or those with double forms of flowers. Basically just read those articles which tell you how to attract insects and choose the other types.

Gauntlet recommendations, please

Posted: 23/03/2013 at 00:36

Welder's gauntlets are very useful for brambles - good thick leather, cheap and they cover most of your forearms too. Try motor factors or You can really get a grip on bramble stems and rip them out roots and all with gloves like these.

New build house, new build lawn - help to start off the right way.

Posted: 16/03/2013 at 16:07

I would stay off it for a few weeks yet until it has started growing properly. If the bumps are just a result of poor workmanship when laying the turf then you can take remedial action. I am sure a search on this site will give you some good advice like this

However the bumps might be the result of rubbish left behind by the builders having been dumped in the garden and just turfed over. This is very common unfortunately and you may need to remove the lawn to get rid of the rubbish first otherwise you won't ever get a good lawn.

best shredder for evergreen shrubs

Posted: 13/03/2013 at 16:05

I use a Bosch machine which has now been superceded by newer models like the ATX25D. It uses a cutter like a sharpened gear wheel which rotates at slow speed against a pressure plate. This means that it is very quiet but isn't suitable for small scale green stuff like hedge clippings. It is designed to deal with larger branches and munches through stuff like laurel very effectively. The resulting mulch is too large for compost bins but makes a great mulch on its own if left for 6/12 months.

Best and worst

Posted: 10/03/2013 at 01:18

Favourite is picking up apples to make cider .

Worst is removing brambles - got blood poisoning from doing this a few years ago which left me on antibiotics for 9 weeks, very nasty .

small bird watch

Posted: 05/03/2013 at 22:04

Siskin and goldfinch at lunch today

My Best Ever Christmas Pressie

Posted: 31/12/2012 at 17:34

Grounds are much less effective than coffee for detering slugs, it is the caffeine that kills them and that has all gone into the brew. Fine for composting though.

Coffee cannot be recommended as a pesticide of course, no matter how effective, as it is not licenced for that application. But you have to dispose of that cheap instant coffee you keep making but never drink somewhere, don't you?

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