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Latest posts by Topbird


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 11:28

Hi CMM. If it's supermarket pickled beetroot you don't like I'm with you all the way (done in malt vingar so very harsh).

I do, however, like sweet pickled beetroot which has a little finely sliced shallot,celery seed and sugar added to the usual pickling spices and is done in a nicer vinegar (I use red wine vinegar but a cheap balsamic might work - I do shallots in that). It's a world apart from the supermarket stuff & it's ready to eat in a few days.

I also like raw grated beetroot (remove the skin!) mixed with grated carrot, a little bit of mild onion, chopped parsley and french dressing. 


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 11:03

Perhaps it should be renamed the  "Marmite Tree".......


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 10:59

Glad it's not just me that's going to have a cupboard full of green tomato chutney this year!!!  Looking on the bright side though - that's a few contributions to village tombolas / charity fundraisers / small 'thank you' gifts sorted out for the next year

(Gardener's Delight - grown outside - lots of fruit but just 2 red tomatoes so far which the squirrels or mice pinched before I got there )



Posted: 25/08/2013 at 10:48

Mine have done quite well this year and have made some much needed large (4') plants in my new beds while all the new shrubs & perennials are so small. 

I sowed mine outdoors quite late (mid April I think), pinched them out a couple of times and didn't plant them out until late June. Some have been flowering well for a few weeks while a few are still in bud. I deliberately grew them this way so that they would flower later after a lot of the early - mid summer stuff has gone over.

Perhaps some of the problems people are having are with earlier sowings which may have been blighted with the prolonged cold start we had this year? The weather generally may also not have helped earlier, larger plants. Very hot and very dry then heavy rain for some. We have had some rain here but not loads & I am still watering newly planted beds on a regular basis.

On the subject of seed collecting (gardeningfanatic) - do cosmos come true from seed? I have a couple of plants which have produced particularly attractive colours or shaded petals this year - so I wondered if it was worth collecting their seed?


Posted: 09/08/2013 at 22:29

Definitely not on the decline in my garden - all over one of my raspberry canes today!!


Growing strawberries

Posted: 14/07/2013 at 23:02

Thanks for the advice everyone. Unfortunately hanging baskets are not an option as I am not here enough to water them as much as they would require.

I think a combination of membrane overlaid with chippings or shavings sounds like a plan (especially as I know a fumiture maker who can supply me with free shavings!)

Growing strawberries

Posted: 14/07/2013 at 08:56


I'm still fairly new to growing strawberries & am interested to know what others use to keep the ripening fruits off the soil (or even if you bother to do it).

I have enjoyed a very heavy crop this year &  decided to try barley straw. Put it down a few weeks ago but within 3 days found that I had inadvertently sown a field of barley! There were obviously lots of seeds in with the straw & they are still germinating at a rate of knots even though I cleared the straw away as soon as I realised what was happening.

Has anyone else had this problem & what alternatives work well?

Thanks for your help.

Large-scale weed clearing!

Posted: 11/07/2013 at 15:34

Any idea what sort of weeds you have? - ie just soft green ones or really tough woody ones? Are any of them likely to be poisonous? (I have no idea what sort of things grow as weeds in Thailand). If yes to the first (and no to both of the others) then FB's suggestion would work.

If, however, you have big woody stems and / or toxic plants you will need to clear these to avoid injuries - either mechanically (digging!) and / or with chemicals.

A picture or two might help us point you in the right direction.



Posted: 11/07/2013 at 08:47

Ouch! - been there a few times - but we are surrounded by paddocks and horses.

I use the antihistamine cream (+ tablet if it's really bad) as an initial treatment - but then scale down to Witch Hazel gel after a day or so. This is very soothing and cooling and stops me scratching which makes eberything much worse.

The Witch Hazel is also really good for other less serious bites and things like nettle rash & burns and it's non greasy and clear so even my OH is happy to use it.

badgers in gardens

Posted: 10/07/2013 at 17:23

I don't have badgers Sylvia - but I think I'll remember your tip - I suspect it might work as a harmless deterrent for quite a few pesky creatures. Might even try it down the vole / mice holes which have suddenly cropped up in my raised veggie beds!

Discussions started by Topbird

Will Jeyes Fluid harm my Box hedge?

Replies: 4    Views: 243
Last Post: 16/03/2014 at 21:15

Growing strawberries

Replies: 4    Views: 301
Last Post: 14/07/2013 at 23:02

Harvesting spuds, onions & garlic

Replies: 3    Views: 602
Last Post: 25/07/2013 at 20:19

Dividing Perennials

Replies: 5    Views: 376
Last Post: 12/06/2013 at 10:34

Moving delphiniums at the wrong time

Replies: 9    Views: 922
Last Post: 20/05/2013 at 16:08

Is this Pea Weevil?

Something's chewing my pea seedlings 
Replies: 1    Views: 275
Last Post: 04/05/2013 at 10:49

Getting rid of daffodils

Rogue daffodils in raised veggie beds 
Replies: 6    Views: 851
Last Post: 27/04/2013 at 22:12
7 threads returned