London (change)
Today 15°C / 9°C
Tomorrow 14°C / 9°C

steephill


Latest posts by steephill

wild-mushrooms

Posted: 15/08/2013 at 11:24

The taste and smell tests suggested are absolutely not safe! Sorry for shouting but some of the deadliest mushrooms will easily pass these tests. There are lots of other "old housewives tale" tests which won't save you either such as if animals eat them they are OK for humans, if you can peel them then they are safe etc. Taste and smell can be used to help identify particular species but they are not safety tests.

The safest method is to use a genuine bona-fide expert if you can find one. (Living in France or Italy makes this easier, try the local pharmacist in these countries)  Failing that you can try identifying them using several good books. I cross-reference using at least three books and will also check several sites on the web. I also limit my consumption to a few species which I can reliably identify. Any doubt and the're out!

One useful and easy test you can make is to take a spore print. Place the cap gills down on a piece of paper overnight. In the morning you should have a nice pattern of spores which you can inspect for colour to aid identification.

Your photos look like field mushrooms as others have said. However I don't have them in front of me to make further checks and more importantly you don't know me so how could you trust an internet stranger to identfiy something which might cause you serious harm?

The most likely source is that someone may have used spent mushroom compost in the garden and this will often still have viable spores in it giving you an unexpected but welcome crop. If you have pastures near by then this may be the source of the spores. Exactly where mushrooms grow can help with identification too.

grapes

Posted: 13/08/2013 at 10:41

Sounds like it has had a poor start in life. Ideally they shouldn't be allowed to fruit until the third year then the number of bunches should be limited for a couple of years. Even when you reach the optimum number of bunches you may need to thin individual bunches to get good sized grapes.

Have they been watered at all? Grapes are tough but they will need water to swell fruit just like any other fruiting plant. Has it been trained/pruned at all?

I would cut off almost all of the bunches now and let the plant devote its energy to producing better roots. Next year limit it to a few bunches.

palm-tree

Posted: 13/08/2013 at 10:26

Those are bean seedlings, not palms.

potato-size

Posted: 08/08/2013 at 21:49

Have the haulms died off yet? With the cold spring I would guess that they are 3 weeks behind schedule. Leave them for another 4 weeks.

bramble-or-stingy-nettle

Posted: 07/08/2013 at 11:59

Surely it is nettles which have shallow roots, not brambles? Certainly the ones I have are like that. I have taken out bramble roots which went down 3 feet and were over six feet long! Looked a bit like giant parsnips. Pity there isn't a category for them in the local flower & veg shows, mine would be definite winners!

Nettle roots are like yellow spaghetti, usually shallow rooted and form interlocking mats of roots making them tricky to pull out. The lighter the soil the easier it is.

Nettles sting and you are bound to get stung when dealing with them so keep some anti-histamine handy if you react badly to it. Brambles will rip and tear your skin, opening it up to soil bacteria leading to infections (1st hand experience, 9 weeks of antibiotics to sort it out). It really pays to wrap up well when dealing with either to avoid damaging yourself. Personal favourites are welders gauntlets.

cherry tree what sort

Posted: 06/08/2013 at 13:26

Even if your cherry tree flowers and bears fruit you could still lose the lot before the birds are even interested. Cherry run-off (fruit sets but drops off) has robbed me of virtually all of my cherries over the last decade and there doesn't seem to be any single cause or cure. Oddly enough it doesn't affect the wild cherry where all the fruit are too high too reach except for the birds which rain down pips on us, only the small Stella. This was meant to be a "minarette" type tree but I can't recommend trying any of those.

I did see a wonderful example of cherry protection at RHS Wisley, a very large fan trained tree in its own fruit cage. It was about 15 feet wide and high but only about 5 feet deep. Probably be cheaper to buy your own cherry farm!

Mitox 251c Strimmer cutting out

Posted: 05/08/2013 at 22:50

Should't need a new carb after a year. It is usually only a diaphragm within the carb which goes and only costs a few quid. You can buy a complete overhaul kit for about a fiver. All you need is the make and model number of the carb which will be marked on it.

Fighting Bramble

Posted: 25/07/2013 at 16:40

Dig out the roots. If that isn't possible and if they are only in grass then just keep mowing and in 2 or 3 years they will have given up. You could try weedkiller like glyphosate but it will be difficult to keep that from damaging other plants too.

Poorly pear and plum trees

Posted: 25/07/2013 at 11:05

Lack of water? It has been a very dry month so you need to provide the water that nature fails to provide. Give them a good soak at least once a week.

Grape vine

Posted: 23/07/2013 at 12:46

Grape vines are very strong growers and need to be controlled or they will take over the whole greenhouse. The weblink from Dovefromabove at the top of the page tells you how the pro's do it. On that page there is also a link to training your vine into a standard which works well in a small greenhouse.

Do you know how old your vine is? I would suggest cutting off all but one of the fruit clusters this year to help the vine build up its strength first.

Do you know what variety you have? Knowing this will help you understand when the fruit will be ready and whether it is an eating variety or more useful for wine.

Discussions started by steephill

Hardwood cuttings from apple

Replies: 5    Views: 311
Last Post: 06/02/2014 at 18:32

Eating weeds

Beating the weeds by eating them 
Replies: 3    Views: 324
Last Post: 28/09/2013 at 11:21

Strange broad bean

Replies: 2    Views: 436
Last Post: 22/04/2013 at 18:42

Slow worms and roe deer

Replies: 2    Views: 326
Last Post: 26/04/2013 at 21:26

Air pots

Replies: 3    Views: 425
Last Post: 19/04/2013 at 12:43

Bean confession

Replies: 5    Views: 609
Last Post: 15/08/2012 at 11:16
6 threads returned