Latest posts by steephill

Pruning first year grapevines

Posted: 16/10/2016 at 11:50

From the RHS website - 

Grape vines are tough plants so shouldn't need much if any protection here in the UK. 

HELLO FORKERS! October Edition

Posted: 14/10/2016 at 10:24

Fancy a unique pink chainsaw? Here's a charity giveaway for a good cause.

Having lost family and friends to cancer anything which helps is good in my book.


Posted: 28/09/2016 at 11:40

It is one of the downsides of rural living unfortunately. The further you are from the exchange and cabinet the worse the signal gets, think of it as the further you stand from the fire the less heat you feel. Add in opportunities for line damage from trees etc. and you can end up on a poor line pretty easily.

All of the infrastructure (exchanges, cabinets and lines) is owned and operated by Openreach which although is part of the BT group does not deal with customers directly. You need to contact your service provider to sort out any problems and that can be a real hassle. Although TalkTalk have a poor reputation for customer service they are not alone, just try getting decent support from BT's very offshore call centres!

There are a few checks you can run yourself to see how your line is performing. First one to do is a quiet line test on your phone line. Dial 17070 then select option 2 - if you hear crackling then you have a poor line and should report that as a telephone fault to TalkTalk (don't mention internet at this point). Fixing telephone line faults will automatically improve your internet. If you start by saying your internet service is poor there are far too many ways for them to wriggle out of doing anything by blaming your equipment and wiring.

You can also try this BT site which will check what broadband you should be able to get - That should show you all of the services and the likely speeds which you are able to get from any supplier, it all comes down the same wires. The results table will probably only show ADSL products as available for you.

I am assuming that services like Virgin cable come nowhere near you so are not an option.

Laurel bushes

Posted: 28/09/2016 at 10:11

The weed sounds like bindweed. One way of dealing with it is to unravel it, lay it on the ground and treat it with weedkiller.

You might not like the next bit but to produce a thick laurel hedge cut it down to about a foot high. This will encourage much bushier growth and give you the thick hedge you want. It grows fast and would be back to 8 feet within a couple of years. This should have been done when the hedge was planted but maybe you were reluctant to lose an instant if inadequate 6 foot hedge at the start.

Best place to site a greenhouse

Posted: 03/08/2016 at 16:05

Is it the greenhouse in the second pic? Your north corner would be fine although it looks like you will have to move a few plants out of the way. Make sure you leave enough room around it for clear access for maintenance.


Posted: 01/08/2016 at 21:39

Dew-drops, I hope there is no connection between the disappearing cat food and the unusual chilli  .

Help - unexpected greenhouse tomato management

Posted: 01/08/2016 at 13:51

It is easy to forget that Sungold tomatoes don't go red when they ripen, they just stay that yellow colour that red varieties go through before they ripen. (just saying, not that I have ever been that stupid honest ) So you need to test the ripeness of Sungold in another way. See if the oldest tomatos are easy to remove from the sprig and taste test.

Why is your name so called?

Posted: 01/08/2016 at 09:51

I live at the top of a steep hill.

Daily wildlife moments

Posted: 25/07/2016 at 22:57

Swet little visitor Fairygirl, we are being besieged by various baby tits at the moment. They seem impossibly small and fragile but have figured out how to use the bird feeders.

We also get greater spotted woodpeckers (you may have seen the video I posted) and I realised today that we also get the lesser spotted ones too. I had thought that they were just juvenile GSWs so it is true, every day is a school day! 

Daily wildlife moments

Posted: 25/07/2016 at 18:08

Had a quick peep in the compost bins to see how the slow worms were getting on and found these three lounging about instead of eating slugs like they are supposed to. You just can't get the staff these days!

Discussions started by steephill

The cherry thief

Replies: 2    Views: 262
Last Post: 24/06/2017 at 23:31


Breeding success 
Replies: 7    Views: 326
Last Post: 14/06/2017 at 16:36

Average gardeners spending

Replies: 61    Views: 6440
Last Post: 21/05/2016 at 21:17

Helping with the deadheading

Replies: 7    Views: 1002
Last Post: 18/08/2015 at 19:24

Multi-bum stawberries

Replies: 8    Views: 1091
Last Post: 02/06/2015 at 17:13

Honey Bee swarms

Replies: 17    Views: 1126
Last Post: 05/05/2015 at 20:29

Last year's carrots

Replies: 13    Views: 1070
Last Post: 14/04/2015 at 21:29

Bird feeder video

Replies: 13    Views: 940
Last Post: 31/03/2015 at 14:14

Problem viewing on Android tablet

Replies: 6    Views: 1059
Last Post: 12/09/2014 at 18:51

Hardwood cuttings from apple

Replies: 5    Views: 1569
Last Post: 06/02/2014 at 18:32

Eating weeds

Beating the weeds by eating them 
Replies: 3    Views: 1073
Last Post: 28/09/2013 at 11:21

Strange broad bean

Replies: 2    Views: 1311
Last Post: 22/04/2013 at 18:42

Slow worms and roe deer

Replies: 2    Views: 2967
Last Post: 26/04/2013 at 21:26

Air pots

Replies: 3    Views: 1355
Last Post: 19/04/2013 at 12:43

Bean confession

Replies: 5    Views: 1588
Last Post: 15/08/2012 at 11:16
15 threads returned