Latest posts by steephill

Watching seedlings grow

Posted: 26/03/2015 at 16:59

Literally watching seeds grow - a time lapse video of a bean seed germinating. Took me about 6 hours to make but only takes a minute to watch. Enjoy!  

Providing water for bees and insects

Posted: 26/03/2015 at 13:53

I had no idea that bees needed water until I saw them on an old growbag sucking up water from the damp compost. The growbag was on a tray which held rainwater and kept the contents moist. After seeing this I leave an old growbag in a tray for them every year and keep it topped up with water. 

Bird feeder video

Posted: 24/03/2015 at 21:47

I used a GoPro for this video. It has a very wide lens so needs to be placed very close to the feeder but the birds don't seem to mind.

Bird feeder video

Posted: 24/03/2015 at 17:34

A video of birds at one of my feeders. A bit like watching paint dry but I enjoy seeing what comes for a free feed.

To drench or not to drench a rhoddie

Posted: 22/03/2015 at 09:36

If you are using a chemical pesticide like Provado then you can repeat every 4 months. If you are using nematodes then you need to wait until the soil is warmer.

Cheapo PID Controllers for horticultural controls?

Posted: 21/03/2015 at 23:51

I used to use these to build temperature controlled environments 25 years ago where I was looking to keep within +\- 0.005C of set point. Wow have they ever come down in price! Much cheaper than those basic thermostats sold with soil warming kits. I'm tempted to build myself one now.

mantis tiller

Posted: 20/03/2015 at 10:39

The Mantis is fairly easy to use on well prepared ground like an allotment. On unbroken ground it is much harder work and requires a fair bit of effort to control it. Being lightweight it will bounce around rather alarmingly as it hits rocks and other debris. Old tree roots get wrapped around the blades and need to be cut free regularly or the blades will just clog up and the engine will labour. I think there is a new accessory spacer which fits in the tines and helps reduce root wrap.

When looking at a second hand 2 stroke model be prepared to buy a new carburettor. Modern fuel tends to gum up carbs and this leads to difficult starting and poor running. I suspect many end up being sold on because they have this problem. You need to drain the fuel from the tank when finished using the tiller and then run the engine until there is no residual fuel in the carb before storing it. I also use an anti-gum additive in the fuel. Make sure you get the fuel/oil mix right too.

Carburettors are widely available from ebay at around £40 and replacing it is a straightforward job for anyone used to working on cars. You could try a cheaper service kit with new diaphragms and needles etc. but that needs a bit more skill than a straight swop. 

Asian Garden Design Help With Advice

Posted: 20/03/2015 at 00:56

Asia is a big continent, which part of it are you trying to emulate? How big is your garden? What do you think is a reasonable and appropriate fee? Have you tried to calculate the materials and labour needed to achieve your dream?

Your personal circumstances are unlikely to have any bearing on the cost estimates you have received unless you can find a firm prepared to offer a services discount. Having work done by professionals is never going to be a cheap option. Look at it from their point of view - they have to make a profit to pay their staff and make a living so they carefully cost up the price of doing the job, add their profit margin and give you a price. That doesn't make them unreliable or dishonest. If you can't find someone to do the job for the price you want to pay then you need to increase your budget. You don't get ought for nought. Sorry if this sounds a bit blunt but I am just trying to be realistic.

Have you explored help that might be available through organisations like the British Legion? They may have local contacts who can help.



Preparation for a siting a shed

Posted: 17/03/2015 at 16:45

There are also plastic bases made from interlocking units which are quick and easy to lay. 

Date palms

Posted: 11/03/2015 at 23:03

Canary Island Date Palm might fit the bill and is fast growing. Not fully hardy so will possibly need some winter protection.

Discussions started by steephill

The cherry thief

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Breeding success 
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Average gardeners spending

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Helping with the deadheading

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Multi-bum stawberries

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Honey Bee swarms

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Last Post: 05/05/2015 at 20:29

Last year's carrots

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Last Post: 14/04/2015 at 21:29

Bird feeder video

Replies: 13    Views: 1040
Last Post: 31/03/2015 at 14:14

Problem viewing on Android tablet

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Hardwood cuttings from apple

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Last Post: 06/02/2014 at 18:32

Eating weeds

Beating the weeds by eating them 
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Last Post: 28/09/2013 at 11:21

Strange broad bean

Replies: 2    Views: 1398
Last Post: 22/04/2013 at 18:42

Slow worms and roe deer

Replies: 2    Views: 3032
Last Post: 26/04/2013 at 21:26

Air pots

Replies: 3    Views: 1459
Last Post: 19/04/2013 at 12:43

Bean confession

Replies: 5    Views: 1710
Last Post: 15/08/2012 at 11:16
15 threads returned