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Latest posts by steephill

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.

what is Mertus

Posted: 11/03/2015 at 22:53

It might be myrtus better known as myrtle.

Can I mulch over snowdrop leaves?

Posted: 08/03/2015 at 12:43

Wait until the leaves have gone or you will damage future growth. The green leaves are feeding the bulb so need to be left to grow and die off naturally. This will take at least 6 weeks after the flowers have gone.

cold callers

Posted: 03/03/2015 at 23:07

Try the ACME THUNDERER cure ( referee's whistle ). One good blast works wonders.

Turning a compost heap without hurting the wildlife

Posted: 02/03/2015 at 13:52

If your heap is easily accessible you could try gently raking off a layer at a time which should give your guests time to flee. If possible waiting for a warm day when that they are more alert might help too.

growing grapes

Posted: 22/02/2015 at 11:39

Look up vine eye cuttings. It is basically a very short cutting with just one bud and is less successful than using a longer hardwood cutting. However if the stalks you have don't have any buds this won't work.

Discussions started by steephill

Helping with the deadheading

Replies: 8    Views: 386
Last Post: 18/08/2015 at 19:24

Multi-bum stawberries

Replies: 8    Views: 384
Last Post: 02/06/2015 at 17:13

Honey Bee swarms

Replies: 17    Views: 548
Last Post: 05/05/2015 at 20:29

Last year's carrots

Replies: 13    Views: 428
Last Post: 14/04/2015 at 21:29

Bird feeder video

Replies: 13    Views: 455
Last Post: 31/03/2015 at 14:14

Problem viewing on Android tablet

Replies: 6    Views: 519
Last Post: 12/09/2014 at 18:51

Hardwood cuttings from apple

Replies: 5    Views: 747
Last Post: 06/02/2014 at 18:32

Eating weeds

Beating the weeds by eating them 
Replies: 3    Views: 620
Last Post: 28/09/2013 at 11:21

Strange broad bean

Replies: 2    Views: 753
Last Post: 22/04/2013 at 18:42

Slow worms and roe deer

Replies: 2    Views: 2504
Last Post: 26/04/2013 at 21:26

Air pots

Replies: 3    Views: 799
Last Post: 19/04/2013 at 12:43

Bean confession

Replies: 5    Views: 1008
Last Post: 15/08/2012 at 11:16
12 threads returned