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Latest posts by Topbird

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 20/01/2015 at 07:41
Ashdale - Santa was kind enough to bring me one of those weather stations with a couple of remote sensors - has provided much entertainment so far (we gardeners are easily pleased aren't we?) and it's lovely lying under the duvet and reading that right now it's -5C in my garden.
So possibly no gardening after all - have sent hubby out to get some frosty sunrise photos of the abbey ruins instead.

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 19/01/2015 at 17:38

Ooops - sorry / manners etc  - Hello Rosy and welcome to the forum. Everyone is bit bonkers on here so (if you think you are mad) you are in good company 

Enjoy the banter...

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 19/01/2015 at 17:07

I think it officially got above freezing here today - but it didn't feel like it & it's still white where the sun didn't penetrate - so no gardening today.

Might try finishing digging up the raspberries tomorrow though - it's amazing how warm you get when you're working - warm all over except my darned right foot..... chilblains on the way again I expect 

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 18/01/2015 at 16:29

Sunny, dry & still today  (but very cold) - so I've been out there for 2 hours and dug up some more of my raspberry bed (I decided last summer I had made a mistake with the original planting so want to start again). Now feeling very virtuous  if a little achey.

We moved here about 4 years ago & in our first summer (2011) I think I only saw about 6 worms in the whole garden. It was very rewarding today to see loads of the little darlings wriggling around - even in a small area. All that digging and soil improvement is starting to reap it's rewards 


Are you gardening in France too?

Posted: 18/01/2015 at 16:13

Well GG - I think you should just keep doing more of the same - that is a lovely garden you've got going there in difficult terrain and climate. Well done you!  


Are you gardening in France too?

Posted: 18/01/2015 at 12:44

I have no experience of this type of gardening but is there stuff growing naturally which can be tamed to be a low maintenance natural garden?

Do you have some photos so we can see what you are up against? 

Filling raised beds

Posted: 18/01/2015 at 12:37

Hi Kelsbels

I used a mix of spent mushroom compost & topsoil in mine. It was a bit cheaper because we needed enough to warrant a bulk delivery of loose stuff on the back of a truck and the surplus was just spread on a new border. I made the mistake of increasing the ratio of compost to soil which meant that the mix was a bit too 'strong' and heavy for most veggie crops in that first year. Beans did well but carrots and salad crops really struggled. 

But now it's all rotted down a bit more it's great soil - like planting in a grow bag.....


Posted: 18/01/2015 at 11:48

Just to add - if you want to grow Lillies it might be worth downloading Friday's Great Allotment Challenge (iPlayer).

The second section was about growing lillies. You might pick up a few growing tips as well as what not to do - also ideas for varieties. You will also see the lilly beetle so you know what to squash in summer......


Posted: 18/01/2015 at 11:40
Hi Thomas & welcome to the forum.
Some good advice above. I would definitely use the next few weeks to clear your beds of weeds and improve the soil as suggested and repair the greenhouse. I would also give the glass a good clean.
If you think you would like to use the greenhouse for starting off seeds etc you will probably want some form of staging (work benches) in there. This is often 2 tier so you have a top bench for working and trays with a shelf underneath for storage. You will also need things like seed trays, watering can, plant labels. Ebay might be your friend here.... Come back to us with specific questions if you are not sure what to get.
You will also need some tools for digging over and maintaining your garden - probably a small hand fork, a larger border fork and a pair of secateurs to start you off - hope you have a birthday coming up!
Regarding the veg I would definitely second the advice to only grow what you like to eat and would add 'and what is expensive or difficult to buy'.
Herbs are ridiculously expensive in supermarkets so if you will use them they are a great start & fairly easy. Thyme & rosemary are good with meat, coriander is a must if you like indian or asian food, and chives and parsley are good all rounders.
If you like peas I would try some - you can't buy really fresh peas. Bags of salad leaves are expensive so a selection of those would be good.
It's a bit difficult to be more specific without knowing how much growing space you have and how much time you can devote to it - especially in the summer when it will all need watering.
So, have a think about what you can beg, borrow or buy equipment wise and what you want to grow. Have a tidy and clean up (garden - not you!) and come back to talk to us some more.
Gardening is great fun - you'll have some failures but we have ALL been there - and the satisfaction of your first harvest is just great.

What would you do with this huge garden?

Posted: 18/01/2015 at 10:49
For now I would just concentrate on keeping the grass cut and any shrubs maintained while you have a long think about how you want to use that wonderful space. Almost any 'garden' of that size is not going to be lower maintenance than the grass unless you spend a fortune on hard landscaping.
You need to be really honest with yourself regarding the amount of time you are prepared to spend establishing the garden and then maintaining it and also how much money you can afford to invest.
When you've decided all that, I do think it might be an investment to call in a garden designer to draw up some plans. A bit of money spent there might save expensive mistakes later on.
Personally, I like the sound of a formal garden near the house, a fruit and veg area, a small orchard and a wild flower meadow and the idea of dividing the space into these areas with hedges.
If you can get the gardening bug you will end up with the sort of garden most of us can only dream of - but take it slowly to start with, get some professional advice and keep us in the loop. We love a project

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