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Latest posts by Topbird

Things you do that annoy yourself...

Posted: 15/07/2015 at 11:21

Thanks Bushman - no I haven't tried companion planting.

It was noticeable that the voles did not appear in one bed earlier this year when I had garlic in there (it was a bed they 'used' last year).

The garlic was harvested about 3 weeks ago & I noticed the first couple of holes in that bed this week.....So, companion planting may well be worth trying next year.

As a quick fix for this season - do you think a few teabags soaked in Jeyes fluid and buried about 4" inches down would have a similar effect? I would keep them about 12" from the crop (Jeyes flavoured carrots - yuck!) but there are enough little spaces that I could probably put one tea bag about every 18" or so.

I need your help

Posted: 15/07/2015 at 10:53

Thanks Nanny B I'd forgotten about freezing 'nanas. It's a nice treat - a bit like a creamy ice lolly with less of the guilt.

I know it's a bit of a no-no on a weight loss plan -  but some people find it really hard to do without cake or like to have cake in the house for family and friends. A big cake sat in a tin is the way to madness if you are depriving yourself - especially if you are unable to put food in the bin without a huge guilt trip.

However, a cake cut into very small portions and frozen will allow for the occasional small treat for you - and also allow you to look like a domestic goddess when visitors call 

Things you do that annoy yourself...

Posted: 15/07/2015 at 10:40

Hi Bushman

Yes - the voles are coming out to play in 2 of my 3 beds at the moment - carrots & beetroot are their favourite targets. I talk to them too - my maritime ancestry comes out then - words even I didn't know I knew .

Hope nobody overhears me when I do that - will never get invited to WI meetings again 

Things you do that annoy yourself...

Posted: 15/07/2015 at 00:27
It's nice to see I'm not alone too NGCARDS !
I wonder if anbody else talks to themselves in the garden? I chat away like a good 'un - usually either giving myself a b*ll*cking for doing something stupid (again) or telling the plants what I think of their performance today.
Doesn't annoy me that I do it - but it probably worries the neighbours somewhat

I need your help

Posted: 14/07/2015 at 19:38

It certainly sounds as though you are intending for this to be a life style change Pauline - rather than a shorter term 'lose some weight' diet.

They say it takes about 3 to 4 weeks for a regular chore or activity to become a habit.

I'm sure the drinking more water / herbal teas and especially drinking just before and during a meal will be very beneficial in terms of both hydration and helping you to eat a bit less at each meal. So try to do that for the next month or so - & then you will probably find yourself  doing it without even thinking about it.

'Conscious eating' is another good 'trick'.  Really concentrate on each mouthful of food and savour and chew it properly instead of wolfing it down without it touching the sides. Put down your knife & fork between each mouthful, put the sandwich down after each bite - you will almost certainly feel more satisfied more quickly and you might even lose weight without really changing too much in your diet because you will probably eat less. 

Smaller plate sizes are another good tip to trick your brain into thinking it's had more than it has. Some other favourite tricks have already been mentioned - turn one slice of toast into 2 by cutting in half etc. Cut everything into little pieces and eat the pieces one at a time. Only butter one slice of bread in a sandwich. Those tricks really work over time. Even if you only reduce your calorie intake by 100 per day (about 1.5 choc digestives) that is still over 35,000 a year.

No foods should be forbidden. Allow yourself to eat what you like but try to look at the positives and concentrate on the healthier foods you do like rather worrying about giving up the unhealthier options.  

When you opt for an unhealthier treat really enjoy it - make it last and, most importantly, tell yourself it's ok to have it - but not for 20 minutes. Then drink some water. After 20 mins, if you really still want it - have it. You'll be surprised how often the craving will pass or you decide to opt for something a bit healthier.

Overgrown garden and novice gardener!

Posted: 13/07/2015 at 19:09

Sounds like a great project Green Novice - very exciting. It would be helpful to have one or two pictures so we can see the scale of your problem (one man's 'large garden' is another man's 'huge estate') and perhaps give you some advice re the best tools for the job (e.g. whether you need a brush cutter or whether a tough lawn mower will do).

Other than that the advice to do a bit at a time is very sound. 

Things you do that annoy yourself...

Posted: 13/07/2015 at 18:51
  1. Putting things down then wasting 10 mins looking for them - hand fork, secateurs, garden knife etc - every single blessed gardening session.
  2. Not labelling things properly because "I'll remember that.... " yeah, right
  3. Not staking in time - some plants I do - many I don't - each year I promise to do better - each year I don't
  4. Taking forever to put plants in. In spite of 'setting things out' I always end up standing back and thinking "that needs to go a little to the right.." - usually means moving several plants. Little saying of mine - "Why plant it just the once when you can plant it 3 times.."
  5. Snipping unopened flower buds when getting carried away with the dead heading
  6. etc etc


Posted: 13/07/2015 at 18:37

Evening All. Garden is looking a bit spritzed up after a day of much needed light rain and drizzle. No need to water the veggies tonight - hooray !

Welcome aboard Bushman - any idea what to do about voles in my raised veggie beds? Little b**gers eat the beetroot and carrots from below  I love my cat but he has proved totally useless at sorting that particular problem.

Clari - lovely to 'see' you. Sorry you had such a pants weekend - hope things sort themselves out one way or another.

Everyone else seems to have been busy bees. I need to get on sorting out the jungle now the tennis has finished & attend to other jobs put on hold for the duration... 

I need your help

Posted: 13/07/2015 at 16:29

Lots of good tips above!!

When I am trying to lose a few pounds I have to plan a week's menu to get all the shopping and planning out of the way in one go and I find it easiest to plan meals which require the least amount of last minute cooking. That's because thinking about food makes me hungry, prepping food when hungry leads to 'picking' and the place where there is most temptation is in the kitchen and the shops. So it's much better for me to spend less time in either of these places and to prepare as much as possible in advance when I'm not hungry. 

I also find it easiest just to have the same things for breakfast each day (cereal, fruit & tea), a limited selection of things for lunch (easiest thing is a huge vat of soup made from lots of root vegetables cooked in stock for about 2 hrs in the oven and zuzzed up - no fat, few calories, quite thick and satisfying,  prep time = time to peel veg & zuzz, makes several days worth, can be frozen). For dinner I have a rota of about 10 meals - many of which are prepared in bulk, in advance (veg curry, sweet & sour chicken etc).

For recipe ideas I found the Rosemary Conneley Inch Loss Plan very useful and the freezer is my best friend. Prepare low cal meals in bulk, freeze and then quick & easy to reheat on the day.

I also prepare a huge bowl of fruit salad type stuff (pineapple, oranges, grapefruit usually) which sits in the fridge for about 3 days over which period I can pick at it if I'm feeling peckish / need something sweet or use it as a dessert. Again it's about having a purge & getting all the prep for several days done in one go.

Good luck 


Posted: 12/07/2015 at 19:33

I don't use council soil improver due to concerns about introducing horrors such as JKW into the garden. It might be illegal to put JKW etc in the council bins but you can bet your bottom dollar some people do it - either through failure to ID the plant, or ignorance of what should and should not go in the bin or just a 'don't care' attitude.

That said, I have no idea really what goes into the composts and soil improvers available from the GC and other suppliers - and there are some very unpleasant sounding composts out there according to some of the other threads on the forum. (ones that smell of petrol & other chemicals, ones containing glass, lumps of plastic and wood etc)

I am now of the opinion that it is worth paying more and trying to stick to local reputable suppliers who I can visit & question about the source of their raw materials. Other than that I use as much home produced garden compost and leaf mould as I possibly can - at least I know what goes in it!

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