Latest posts by waterbutts

Which tool to break soil the best

Posted: 09/10/2013 at 18:37

I'm afraid I know nothing about the merits or demerits of different tools. If you want to have fun on Guy Fawkes night, the clay lumps could be from brick size up to rugby ball size - or even bigger. It just depends on how it comes out of the ground and what you can carry!

What should I do with these apple trees and when?

Posted: 09/10/2013 at 18:30

I think the main thing to try and do is treat the hacked about old tree as you would a sapling. In other words, imagine that the water shoots are the main stems of a new young tree. So, in winter number one cut them back by a third of the new growth.  if there are dozens of them, cut out the ones that grow from the centre or ones that are crossing completely. This will possibly encourage the cut stems to branch out sideways in summer number two. In winter number two, cut them back by a third of that year's growth and with a bit of luck they will produce lateral shoots and a few fruit spurs in summer number three. It is tiresome and tedious and probably quicker and better to start with a new tree, unless you like the old one for sentimental reasons.

Which tool to break soil the best

Posted: 09/10/2013 at 18:22

Hello Rich, One of the best tricks I ever learned for dealing with really heavy clay soil, the type you could put on a potter's wheel, doesn't involve any machinery. Now is the perfect time of year to try it, too. 

Build a bonfire, as for Guy Fawkes' night. Put chunks of the clay round the edge. Build up more chunks to make a sort of clay igloo. Light the fire and leave it all night. In the morning you will have baked the clay just as a kiln would do for a potter. You can then smash the chunks with a sledge hammer. Clay that has been cooked doesn't stick together again.

Clearly, you have put a lot of work into sorting out some of it by adding organic matter, so it would be madness to do the bonfire trick on that part. Worth a try on the front garden, maybe?

Cowboy Bums.... (Lithops)

Posted: 09/10/2013 at 18:07

Oooh, beautiful. Yes, you are right, Buzzy2, the slugs would have a feast. They'd be whirling round and round like dervishes in the morning and spelling out lines from a Jack Kerouac novel with their slime.

What should I do with these apple trees and when?

Posted: 09/10/2013 at 17:55

Hello lusi83,

There are a lot of interesting points in your post. First, apple trees like all living things, have a fixed life span and no amount of cosmetic work is going to turn your granny into a sex goddess. The eating apple had no fruit last year but lots this year. This is probably caused by a phenomenon known as biennial bearing. Some varieties slip into this naughty habit more readily than others and once they have the idea it is hard to persuade them to behave properly. If you like the type of apple it produces then it's maybe worth putting up with this. On the other hand, you could just buy another tree and have a more reliable crop from a more modern variety, which will probably be healthier too.

The cooker got the chop, literally, but is still alive. It sounds as if it is now frantically sending up what are known as "water shoots" - great long, whippy things that are going skyward. Quite frankly, any company worth its salt would know that this is not the way to treat an apple tree. The shape of the plant is ruined, the water shoots will never produce fruit, the thing is a mess. Get rid of it.

If it were my garden I would ask myself if I liked the eater for its architectural merit (you say it is in the wrong place and loose in the ground, so no to that) or if I really liked its fruit and no other would please me. If not, then I'd buy a new one. The cooker is ruined, so buy a new one of those too. Make sure that they are compatible, that is in the same pollination group and flowering at the same time.

Good luck.

Hedge choices

Posted: 09/10/2013 at 15:48

I remember having the living daylights frightened out of me when I was a child about what would happen to me if I messed about with the laburnum bush in the garden. I used the same technique with the next generation and had no problems. Children are able to behaving themselves even if the methods used to get them to do so aren't always admirable.

Let us know what hedge you choose, G-FN.

Perrenials taking over garden

Posted: 09/10/2013 at 15:35

Do you want to get rid of them entirely or would you be happy to have some left? If you would like to keep some in the flower beds, dig the lot up and clean the bed as much as possible, then bury a length of some DPC blackplastic strip in a circle and plant a bit of the root in the circle. Generally speaking, the plant will then stay within the confines of the strip.

Cowboy Bums.... (Lithops)

Posted: 09/10/2013 at 15:15

Aldous Huxley and The Doors of Perception led to The Doors band and Hotel California, James Tayor et al. 

Gardening Cart

Posted: 09/10/2013 at 09:30

Swiss Sue.

I once knew a couple of elderly Swiss ladies. They taught me how to say, but not write, "kitchen drawer" in Swiss German. And I know from them that the Swiss like to think independently and don't appreciate being told to follow the crowd. I think that stool sums up the spirit of the nation perfectly.

Do the cows have matching attachments on their hooves so that milking can be done on the hop?

Cowboy Bums.... (Lithops)

Posted: 09/10/2013 at 09:23

I would think that they might just be able to go down to freezing point for a couple of hours (think Sonoran desert conditions) but would be much happier in the sunshine.

Did you buy one that produces mescalin?

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