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Latest posts by Topbird


Posted: 06/10/2014 at 12:15

BL - when do you think you might be in Suffolk? Perhaps we could make it a TWIGS outing as our intended visit to BC's in August had to be cancelled due to bad weather?

Compost Heap

Posted: 06/10/2014 at 11:48

That does sound like a good idea Hosta but do you ever get any problems with fungi growing in the shreddings? If so, have they caused you any problems?

I had a (very) large ash bough removed 2 winters ago and I got the tree surgeon to fill one of my compost bins with some of the shreddings (as a place to store them).

About 3 months later I was ready to use them to spread as a thick layer to form paths around my newly planted raspberry canes. There were orange & yellow fungi & spores in the shreddings and after I had spread them more fungus appeared (this time it was leathery seaweed-like stuff). Because none of it looked like the dreaded honey fungus growth (& the parent tree was very healthy) I was not too concerned about it all and the fungus disappeared after a few weeks & has not returned. Nothing seems to have been harmed - rather the opposite in fact - everything in that area is doing very well

I was surprised by how rotted some of the shreddings were after only 3 months & certainly within a year of laying my chipping paths / mulch they have been totally incorporated into the soil. On the whole I think that (if there are no concerns around fungal growth) then wood chippings could be a good thing to mix with grass cuttings. I also think, however, I would want to be sure that the tree the wood came from was not infected with anything particularly nasty.

Compost Heap

Posted: 06/10/2014 at 09:53
Daryl2 wrote (see)
I turned mine today by tipping it all out then piling it back in again. This is my first year of making compost. How often should I do the turning process?

I think the honest answer Daryl is that the more frequently you can turn it the better - but for most of us that is a bit too much work. Personally I try to turn mine once when the bin is about half to two thirds full (exactly same method as you) & after that I just give it a bit of a stir with my garden fork whenever I add stuff.

Once the bin is full I leave it covered to "cook" for a few months but even then I give it a bit of a poke & stir round with my fork about every 2 - 3 weeks or so.

I don't wait until everything has turned into completely friable compost. I usually find that if the top 12" are well on the way - then anything about 2' down & below is ready for use. So the stuff that is not quite ready becomes the base layer of a new bin or added to the bin I was filling anyway.

Important thing to remember with compost making is that it will all rot down eventually even if you do nothing to it (or it is just a heap of grass cuttings). If, however, you get your mix of green & brown material right and you keep it aerated and (importantly) you make sure it is not too dry (water it if necessary) (but not wet!) - then you will get a finished / usable compost much sooner. You will develop a much better system if you have at least 2 bins. I use 3 - one to fill - one 'cooking' - and one with usable compost in.

Making compost is fun (for some of us saddos) & the site of a big pile of FREE soil improver makes my day - in a rather strange way!!! 


Compost Heap

Posted: 05/10/2014 at 23:32

I did wonder about that too Pansyface - hope they get supplied with Marigolds at the very least... 

Compost Heap

Posted: 05/10/2014 at 17:58
Lyn wrote (see)
Topbird wrote (see)
Ceres wrote (see)
Apparently it helps to pee on the heap but I read somewhere that only applies to blokes.

I think that might only be because they have a built in hosepipe!!! - it's ok I'm going....

That is because womens pee is much to acid for the compost heap, mens isnt.

Well Lyn - thank you  - I just learned something new today - I had no idea there was any difference between the final product whether it be male or female - but there is!! . I think that at the end of the day it won't do too much harm to use girl's stuff as well - but if we can encourage the men in our lives then it is better. Apparently some Nat Trust properties now have 'peeing bales' located in discreet corners of their estates for male members of staff to use. The bales are then added to the compost heaps to help things along

That's why I love this forum - all sorts of nuggets of information lying about 

Crab Apple Jelly

Posted: 05/10/2014 at 10:43

Where in the country are you? A good tree nursery will give you lots of valuable advice and answer any questions you have. If you are anywhere near Suffolk I can strongly recommend Crown Nurseries near Woodbridge. They give out oodles of friendly & good information & recommendations & also run fruit tree pruning and grafting workshops. They might also be able to help over the phone.

(No - I don't work there or have a vested interest. I was just very impressed when I visited them a few times last year! )

 I have:  

John Downie (beautiful fruit, good for jelly but very susceptible to scab. Fruit also drops / gets pinched by birds very early)

Everest - prolific fruiter - very attractive smaller fruit - much less scab (but still some) - holds fruit till well into winter.

Red Sentinel - lovely red fruit (like big cherries) - holds fruit well all winter - looks stunning against clear blue winter sky - but has very little fruit this year. I'm hoping that's down to my formative pruning last winter (very young tree).

I'm afraid I don't know Jelly King so can't comment on that choice.


Compost Heap

Posted: 05/10/2014 at 10:15
Ceres wrote (see)
Apparently it helps to pee on the heap but I read somewhere that only applies to blokes.

I think that might only be because they have a built in hosepipe!!! - it's ok I'm going....

loved gardening quotes

Posted: 05/10/2014 at 10:10

My favourite - oh so true -

"Q: How do you tell if it's a weed or really expensive plant?

A: Give it a tug. If it stays in the ground - it's a weed. If it comes up really easily it's expensive."


Posted: 05/10/2014 at 10:03

Hi Stacey - nice to see you back - looking forward to some more chilli recipes from you (your chilli sauce was ace!). Enjoy the autumn & winter in a comfy chair by the fire planning the garden for next year.

Welcome home KEF.

Cold but very sunny here so I think a quick whizz round with the vac, peel spuds for dinner, & then it might have warmed up a tad so I can go out and plant some bulbs & clear a couple of veggie beds. Spent last couple of days planting & dividing so really pleased we had a bit of a deluge yesterday - everything nicely watered in for me 

Worries & troubles that affect Forum friends.

Posted: 04/10/2014 at 09:39

Well done Verdun - I really hope the new home is at the opposite end of the caring spectrum to the current one. 

Lyn - that's horrible & very disruptive for you. Do you know when you are likely to get a visit yet?

I'm sorry some of you have had bad experiences with GP receptionists. I must be very lucky because I have always found receptionists at different surgeries used over the years to be very helpful.

I think the reason they ask why somebody needs an appointment is so they can do a form of triaging to ensure those in most need are seen urgently. I have never been asked for any really personal or intimate information by a receptionist but I always volunteer the info that I need an appointment but it's not urgent or because I have an earache / eye infection (whatever) that I'm concerned about. If I know what's wrong with me & what I need (cystitis / antibiotics was favourite a couple of years back!) I tell them so they can arrange for a prescription and / or short appointment with a doctor or prescribing nurse.

For the non-urgent stuff the receptionist just makes an appointment. If it is patently urgent she makes a same day appt. For everything else the surgery has a triaging system where a nurse or doctor phones back within the hour to determine if I should be seen the same day or whether it can wait. 

I don't think the receptionists are being nosey - they are just trying to allocate a short ration of appointments in the most effective way. 

(Head ducked for rotten tomatoes / bad eggs etc  - and, no I wasn't a doctors receptionist when I was working )

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