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Latest posts by Topbird

Good garden centre/nursery

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 18:41

Have to agree that nursery and garden centres are 2 different things - although both require good car parking access and strong (preferably good looking ) young men to help with loading heavy items.

For me, a nursery sells mainly plants (home reared) and often specialises. A good one with lots of high quality (not too expensive) plants is a gem - I don't need it to have a loo or coffee shop - but I do like it to look well kept & reasonably organised. I would expect the staff to know their stuff and be able to advise on plant selection. Woottens (as mentioned by Dove) is an excellent example (they do have a loo in a shed tho' !). 

A GC is somewhere I visit for compost, chemicals, furniture, tools & landscaping materials (a plant is often something of an impulse buy). Because tools, furniture etc are expensive it takes longer to choose and may involve much browsing & deliberation - so clean loos and a coffee shop are quite important. Knowledgeable staff are a must and a delivery service for larger / heavier  items is pretty essential.

I also like to see garden related things in a GC - books, clothing, aquatic kit, bird food, flower arranging kit etc.

However, I don't need the scented candles, cakes, toys, kitchen equipment or  other non-gardening stuff that some GCs choose to stock .....

long handled tree loppers

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 18:12

Hi Clari - I have some WOLF long handled loppers which reach to abt 3' and are easy and comfortable to use. They make short work of branches too thick for secateurs  and I am happy using them up a ladder (within reason).

I also have a WOLF lopper which resembles a large pair of secateurs (operated with a nylon cord) and slots onto the end of a universal long pole - reach is about 6'. This is better for the taller stuff. The main disadvantage with this lopper is that I find it top heavy and quite tiring to use - but I would never be able to reach some of the branches I need to tackle without it. The cord can also get tangled in other branches.

Both bits of kit are very sturdy & will cut through branches up to about 1" diameter & are easy to sharpen. I need both - I would always prefer the long handled ones for stuff I can reach - but the pole ones mean I don't need to climb trees or dangle off high ladders.

Which Pest ate all my Beetroots?

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 17:28

I grow beetroot in raised beds and regularly lose a few each year to the resident voles who eat them from below. It looks as though the beetroot is still in place & fine - till I go to lift it and it just comes away as a shell around the stalk.  Same thing with carrots.

A bit annoying - but there are actually still enough left for me so I don't mind tooooooo much....

Growing Garlic

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 17:18


Growing Garlic

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 16:14

Gemma - you snuck in while I was writing! Spare scaffold boards would be better than bricks!

Growing Garlic

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 16:10

Gemma - I think your idea of a mobile frame would work quite well & the compost etc that you leave behind each year would help improve the soil underneath.

The only thing I would question with a single mobile frame is when you would actually move it - the garlic would be in from autumn to early summer by which time it would be planted up with summer crops. If you have room for 2 or more frames that might work better. 

Other advantages of raised beds is that they warm up much quicker in spring than cold clay and the controlled contents mean direct sowing is usually more productive. If you can afford it, the company Harrod Horticultural Products do some smaller frames in various shapes & sizes which might be more moveable or easier to take apart each year. Their products are nice and sturdy but they are an easy rather than a cheap option.

Otherwise I have had success just using old bricks (loose laid) to essentially contain the contents of a few bags of MP compost. This just gives a few inches of friable compostey soil over pre-dug soil. The bricks can be moved to a new site as needed and can be used to make containers of different sizes. 

Happy gardening 

Growing Garlic

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 12:44

Gemma - Garlic is tough when it comes to cold but I believe it prefers good drainage. Planting into cold, heavy, wet clay soil can cause the cloves to just rot away - so your method of module planting will probably always give you better results - unless you can improve drainage around the cloves for the winter.

I also have a heavy clay soil & have to be quite careful when it comes to all autumn planting except trees and shrubs. I grow all my veg in raised beds which have good drainage and which I can work all year round.

Room 101

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 12:24
Topbird wrote (see)

The english teacher who wrote "You should of used more paragraphs in this essay" against a pupils homework .....    

(Courtesy of the Telegraph letters page a couple of years ago - never forgotten it!!)

Oops - of course, that should have (or 'should of' LOL) read "pupil's homework"

Very naughty of me to correct other people's grammatical errors with one of my own 


Room 101

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 11:29

The english teacher who wrote "You should of used more paragraphs in this essay" against a pupils homework .....    

(Courtesy of the Telegraph letters page a couple of years ago - never forgotten it!!)

Growing Garlic

Posted: 07/01/2015 at 19:14

I put in about 24 cloves of soft-neck garlic at the end of November. They have all taken & have 5'' shoots on them 

In a previous year I planted some in spring but the results were not worth the effort - puny little bulbs. They obviously had not had either the required cold spell or length of time in the ground to develop properly. I'm hoping for better results this time.

My research (Google!) has indicated that seed garlic should be used rather than eating garlic because the garlic bought in SMs may be sprayed to inhibit sprouting, they may also carry viruses (seed bulbs should be virus free) and they may also be varieties which are not suitable for growing in the UK climate.

Garlic bulbs from the GC may be a little more expensive but should give more reliable results. That said - I'd stick an unused garlic clove in the ground before I put it in the bin - so good luck with any SM plantings - hope they give you  a good crop. 

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10 threads returned