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Latest posts by Topbird

Fruit Cage

Posted: 05/02/2016 at 16:33

Raspberry & blackcurrant gin is also an excellent restorative Andy - cures all sorts of problems.

 My fruit area probably totals about 6m x 7m & I have considered a walk in fruit cage. But, as you say, they are expensive and my neighbour's cage was damaged & distorted a couple of years ago after he failed to remove the netting before we had heavy snow and high winds. For now I will muddle along with temporary cages erected just for the few weeks I need them.

Thanks for your comments about the straw Verdun - maybe I just got a bad lot - might give it another go with a different supplier.

Fruit Cage

Posted: 05/02/2016 at 12:38

Can I pick your brains (again ) Verdun?

What type of straw should you use and where do you source it? Have you had a problem with cereal seed germination?

The one time I tried to use it I got a bale from a local country / equestrian wholesaler. I think it was barley straw and I think it was sold as suitable for rabbit / small animal bedding. Looked lovely & did a good job for the first couple of weeks - then I saw the green shoots where seed (obviously mixed up in the straw) had germinated. Within days the whole patch was starting to resemble a lawn! Made loads of work over several weeks weeding it.

I must have bought the wrong product but I don't know what the right one would be.... 

Fruit Cage

Posted: 05/02/2016 at 11:46

Hi Andy

I grow autumn fruiting raspberries & can confirm they need less cosseting than summer ones. I don't bother netting them and my supports consist of simple pole surrounds and (tough) twine or wire threaded round and through the patch of canes.

The main problem I have with autumn raspberries is the root runners which have to be ruthlessly pulled up and cut back every spring. They can be quite rampant if they like the conditions & I'm a little concerned you might end up with raspberries growing through your strawberries if they are only a couple of metres away.

I have to net strawbs against blackbirds - but I use a temporary low mini cage & just lift the netting off as I need to pick them. This cage is constructed round the plants just before the fruits ripen & removed when they've finished. 

I've allowed 1.5m between my currant bushes and construct temporary individual cages around them as the fruits ripen. (At least that's the plan - they were new last season)

I'm also not a fan of landscape membrane as a weed suppressant on cultivated areas unless there are extenuating circumstances (per Busy Lizzie's case).

I prefer to prepare the soil in the whole area really, really well before planting & then use a thick (4") mulch of bark chippings around the currants and raspberries (my strawbs are in a separate bed). This does a good job of suppressing weed germination, makes the paths drier to walk on when harvesting, gradually breaks down to provide some slightly acid humus to the soil and also looks quite nice. It is easily scraped to one side when you need to dig out those runners or if you want to add extra compost / feed to the base of your plants.

I wouldn't use bark around the strawberries, however, as it could shelter slugs which will eat the fruit. I don't like straw either after I had one batch which contained loads of seeds & I grew a barley (whatever) field in my strawberry patch. Temporary cardboard collars sounds a good way to go.

Netting strawbs doesn't stop the voles who tunnel up from below to pinch the fruit  - no solution (except my cat) found to this problem (yet)....


Posted: 05/02/2016 at 09:59
Clari - if I was you I'd give your boss an ultimatum. Pay today by fast bank transfer or in cash - no more work until you have the money. But you have to stick to it and mean it...

Sorry to hear Doc & Flowers are feeling so rough. There seems to be a really nasty heavy cold / nearly flu / bad cough doing the rounds this year & I'm pretty sure it's what OH & I had last summer. Seemed to last for ever. OH picks up all sorts of bugs from people coming back from far flung places & sharing their germs on planes.

Mighty atom is a lovely snowdrop Dove - was that one of your b'day ones from last year?

I'm playing the waiting game today - my order of 21 plants was despatched yesterday so might arrive today. Schoolgirl error to order on a Wed - if they don't turn up today there's a strong chance they'll be sat in a sorting room over the weekend.

Have a good Friday

East Anglian Snowdrop Walk

Posted: 04/02/2016 at 14:00

East Anglian Snowdrop Walk

Posted: 04/02/2016 at 13:53

How kind of you to remember Nut

Yes please - I have a large new woodland area to populate and they will be perfect for there. 


If you listen to the Archers ....

Posted: 04/02/2016 at 12:36

B*st*rd !

Saw a report that the actor who plays Rob in the series (Timothy Watson) has been booed and hissed at public meetings / events and has stopped looking at all Social Media because of the venom out there.

It must be very difficult to handle when the public stop being able to distinguish between real life and fiction and start to attack the portrayer of this nasty character 


Posted: 04/02/2016 at 11:37

Steve - 

East Anglian Snowdrop Walk

Posted: 04/02/2016 at 11:35

18th is slightly better for me than the 25th  (and I'd rather meet sprogs in batches of 1 or 2 with (grand)parents than in herds of school parties....  ). 

Maggie - I live just over a mile from you (how nice to know there is another forum member so close) - so it would be daft for me not to offer you a lift - probably have to go via Stowmarket to collect a Panda from the station but it would be lovely to have some company for the whole journey.  Will exchange full addresses / phone numbers when we can do so out of the public eye 




Posted: 04/02/2016 at 09:55

Hmm.... looking at the rain - it may be a few days before the garden is dry enough for working 

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