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 Growing stuff

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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Mon May 26, 2008 1:39 pm

905 wrote:
Scallions are named after the Israeli city of Ashkelon
I bow down before you, in awe of your deep store of useless information. Cool
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Mon May 26, 2008 1:40 pm

TheBear wrote:
I can't wait until I have my very own garden to start doing proper growing.
Me too.
We're such a bunch of Granny and Grandads on this forum! Embarassed
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Mon May 26, 2008 1:51 pm

905 wrote:
TheBear wrote:
A relevant article in the IT today.

From that:
Quote :
even our scallions [are] imported from Israel
Pointless fact of the day: Scallions are named after the Israeli city of Ashkelon, and the term dates from Roman times.

Oh, how do you get ladybirds to nest in you garden?

The main thing is not to spray them with toxic substances. The other is to have some patience and they will come. You have to allow an aphid population to develop first, then the ladybirds and bluetits and other predators follow on. The have all evolved together so that the predators are not born until the prey are up and running. There will be a few days when you may feel panicky because the aphids look like they are in control, and then the lads show up and eat them.

It is a bit like the way we all run off looking for antibiotics in the first few days of an illness, without giving our immune systems time to kick in. Then the antibiotics get the credit for making us better when we would have anyway. And the bugs develop immunity to the antibiotics because we use them too much. Most things get better on their own in five days if you do nothing. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Mon May 26, 2008 2:02 pm

cactus flower wrote:
905 wrote:
TheBear wrote:
A relevant article in the IT today.

From that:
Quote :
even our scallions [are] imported from Israel
Pointless fact of the day: Scallions are named after the Israeli city of Ashkelon, and the term dates from Roman times.

Oh, how do you get ladybirds to nest in you garden?

The main thing is not to spray them with toxic substances. The other is to have some patience and they will come. You have to allow an aphid population to develop first, then the ladybirds and bluetits and other predators follow on. The have all evolved together so that the predators are not born until the prey are up and running. There will be a few days when you may feel panicky because the aphids look like they are in control, and then the lads show up and eat them.

It is a bit like the way we all run off looking for antibiotics in the first few days of an illness, without giving our immune systems time to kick in. Then the antibiotics get the credit for making us better when we would have anyway. And the bugs develop immunity to the antibiotics because we use them too much. Most things get better on their own in five days if you do nothing. Very Happy
You could follow the natural course and allow the ladybirds to show up, or you could go out and buy some proverbial antibiotics.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Mon May 26, 2008 9:19 pm

The wind!

My poor sun flowers!
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Mon May 26, 2008 9:23 pm

It's worth remembering at this time that the wind dries things out - you may need to water more than you think, even though it's not particularly sunny.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Mon May 26, 2008 10:22 pm

Aye, and I seem to have lost the hose.

How does one misplace a 25m long yellow tube?
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Sat Jun 07, 2008 10:10 pm

A very good gardening day today. Not exactly 9 bean rows planted, but 9 onion and leek rows, and some cabbages. The strawberries are ripening nicely although the birds and bugs are hovering around them waiting to pounce.

After a couple of years of insane business the construction downturn has resulted in a big improvement in my flower beds that are in full blast again with roses, little pink geranium, cornflowers and day lilies.
The wisteria is blooming late and the whole garden smells of sweet tobacco and musk roses.
flower
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:09 pm

We have just eaten the last of the strawberries: it was a race between me, 2 slugs and a couple of thrushes. Humans did best with slugs coming in second and the poor thrushes a poor third.

The storm took half the wisteria off the walls, but the trellises are still sound and we are hammering them back up, after cutting back the wisteria hard. The house looks strangely bald in places as a result.

The raised beds are all ready for tomato and lettuces to be planted on, if the rain will hold off I'll get some done tonight. Potatoes are growing well in buckets.
Because of the focus on food and because of the rain the garden has got a generally dishevelled look about it. I need a dry day to cut the grass or the whole place will look like a hayfield.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:23 pm

"Now in the day, all's ravelled by the wind's blowing" as Larkin said. Our strawberries are still yellow and nubby - so I'm hoping for some sun to swell them over the next couple of weeks. It will be worth having a look at the gooseberries in the morning too. They should have passed their bullet stage by now.

What I've noticed here lately is the profusion of roses - all kinds, in the very old hedge that runs along the north side of our house - it' gets the sun all day on our side (while the neighbours are less fortunate.) The crabs are hanging over the clothesline - anyone got any good ideas for things to do with crabs? I'll start collecting the inspiration now. One can only eat so much crab jelly, you know.

The rocket I planted only three or four weeks ago is well, rocketing out of its container and I'm happily munching away on it. The lambs' lettuce is far slower - still only two small leaves like thumbnails.

We're getting meadowy here too, cf. All that rain is being thirstily slurped up by anything green. The growth is life-affirming.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:30 pm

Yes, its been an astounding year for roses, both wild hedge ones and in the gardens. I think it was the good warm spring. The strawberries on the windowcill were your idea. It is south facing and very warm.

I'll see if I can come up with a reserve use for crabapples. There must be some kind of wine that could be made. Crab apple jelly with pork is good.

Deep fried elder flowers is good free food at this time of year.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:31 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:44 pm



Speaking of roses, these are outside my kitchen door - fabulously fragrant. I haven't even gotten around to potting one of them but it seems perfectly happy. I've roses and strawberries in another pot and they are overjoyed to be together, both making great progress.

I'm expecting a big digger to do some work outside in the next couple of days, after which time I might be able to have some proper beds.

The little gem lettuce I planted less than a month ago in a window box are doing really well, though I'm not sure it will get time to form those nubby bunched heads that are so tyically little gem -. I'm eating the delicious thinnings as I pass by. Time to plant more. The artichokes have leaves a couple of inches across already and are hinting at their architectural spikiness even if they haven't left ground level yet.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:45 pm

Our glasshouse is going full steam now, with two varieties of onion, cabbages, lettuce, spinnach, 'erbs, and loads of tomatoes. They should be ripe in a week or so and the buggers are flowering again.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:34 pm

One third of my young cauliflower plants were eaten last night. I'm going to try broken eggshell and upturned jars tonight - otherwise, apart from sitting up all night watching them, has anyone got any non-toxic suggestions?
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:40 pm

Sharp grit is good in the absence of eggshells which aren't really great...

Saucers (remember them?) are better than jars too with plenty of beer.

A family I used to live with in Germany used to have evening entertainment in the form of Schneckentoeten - which meant each person armed himself with a paint stripper and spent a cosy family half hour dissecting slugs in the garden.

You can also try sprinkling lots of table salt around the plants but not directly beside them. It should be a dry night. Slugs react to salt like mushrooms do. It aint pretty.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Tue Jul 01, 2008 1:53 am

I've always thought putting salt on slugs was really cruel. They just melt. The poor things. At least drowning in beer is a bit more humane.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Tue Jul 01, 2008 2:03 am

It is cruel. But anything other than deterring them with grit is inhumane. Slug pellets work on the same, salt-like principle I think. It's all very fraught, this gardening business. There are tough decisions to be made.

It might be possible to make collars that turn out and down to go around the cauliflowers, cactus. Would they fall off the edge, upside down, rather than crawl over? Maybe old mineral bottles might work, or milk cartons?

I squish greenfly in tissues rather than spray noxious stuff or pour suds on the roses. But none of it is satisfactory. This year I notice I've lots of ladybirds - so maybe not spraying has been a great advantage...
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Tue Jul 01, 2008 3:17 am

With plants such as hosta which are vulnerable to slugs and snails try copper rings. Seems to be very effective for specimen plants that you grow in pots but you can use in the ground. It does seem to work, not sure why, battery effect with the slime giving them a small jolt?

I used to do a lot of gardening at school but now just do not seem to be anywhere for long enough so gardens become problematic well major headache.

On scent honeysuckle on a still summers evening is hard to beat as are some of the old roses.

With regards wildlife and birds in particular, I would make a plea for not being overly tidy gardeners. Even in a small garden there should be areas that are not manicured. My weeds are trees and there are more logs than even the most dedicated lumberjack can burn so branches are left to rot and there are areas for composting. All good for insect life and birds.

Another pet subject; instead of planting ornamental cherrys such as Prunus ‘Kanzan’ or similar why not plant fruit trees. Cherries, plumbs, apples etc. OK the flowers are less spectacular (gaudy some may say) but you get fruit as well as flowers and birds love fruit trees. I have old fruit trees which the tits love. If you want to harvest you have extra work in pruning etc but if you are not particularly worried leave it to the birds. They are very useful particularly in early spring when food is scarce as the birds eat the buds.

Strawberries and blackbirds; with strawberries there usually isn't enough to give the birds a real run at it. However I have a lot of currants which are never used for making jam and blackbirds just love them and the red currant is really quite pretty. For children the raspberry perhaps provides more fun than strawberries (more hunting gathering) and the varieties that are available mean that here at Squire Hall there are raspberries right into late autumn again more food for birds. Gooseberries are another one that is so easy to grow.

Also if you are one of those people who kill just about anything you touch I recommend the much underrated rhubarb. Prolific and tough as an old boot and rhubarb crumble is easy to make.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:21 am

That's a great post, Squire, thanks.

You're right about the manicuring. Apart from the fact that it makes the work level obscene and prohibitive, unless you live at Powerscourt or somewhere that requires a very formal garden, too much formality and tidiness are poor solace for the soul.

Honeysuckle is magificent - my mother has an old variety growing up the side of her garden shed with some wild (self-seeding but with no fragrance) sweet pea and a profusion of what we call Grandad's rose which has hundreds of tiny but very fragrant pink flowers. I hope to grow some from cuttings this year.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Sun Jul 06, 2008 1:51 am

Squire wrote:
With plants such as hosta which are vulnerable to slugs and snails try copper rings. Seems to be very effective for specimen plants that you grow in pots but you can use in the ground. It does seem to work, not sure why, battery effect with the slime giving them a small jolt?

I used to do a lot of gardening at school but now just do not seem to be anywhere for long enough so gardens become problematic well major headache.

On scent honeysuckle on a still summers evening is hard to beat as are some of the old roses.

With regards wildlife and birds in particular, I would make a plea for not being overly tidy gardeners. Even in a small garden there should be areas that are not manicured. My weeds are trees and there are more logs than even the most dedicated lumberjack can burn so branches are left to rot and there are areas for composting. All good for insect life and birds.

Another pet subject; instead of planting ornamental cherrys such as Prunus ‘Kanzan’ or similar why not plant fruit trees. Cherries, plumbs, apples etc. OK the flowers are less spectacular (gaudy some may say) but you get fruit as well as flowers and birds love fruit trees. I have old fruit trees which the tits love. If you want to harvest you have extra work in pruning etc but if you are not particularly worried leave it to the birds. They are very useful particularly in early spring when food is scarce as the birds eat the buds.

Strawberries and blackbirds; with strawberries there usually isn't enough to give the birds a real run at it. However I have a lot of currants which are never used for making jam and blackbirds just love them and the red currant is really quite pretty. For children the raspberry perhaps provides more fun than strawberries (more hunting gathering) and the varieties that are available mean that here at Squire Hall there are raspberries right into late autumn again more food for birds. Gooseberries are another one that is so easy to grow.

Also if you are one of those people who kill just about anything you touch I recommend the much underrated rhubarb. Prolific and tough as an old boot and rhubarb crumble is easy to make.

That's great advice Squire. Even in money terms, soft fruit is a sure bet as its easy to grow and expensive to buy. If you want to eat the strawberries rather than watch the birds eating them, you could try popping the bunches of strawberries into jam jars (on the plant) while they are ripening. It used to work for me. I was trying to convince EVM of the ecological balance that would deal with garden pests if he stood back and didn't intervene, but now my kitten has gone and upset everything in my garden. There were two clutches of young thrushes taking out every slug and snail until the kitten took out several of the fledgling thrushes. Then I put a bell around her neck, but it was too late for this year. She still crouches between the strawberry plants waiting for the birds. Nature is red in tooth and claw.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:59 am

Cactus, there's a product available called Slug Stoppa Tape which might be ideal for what's left of your cauliflowers. If it's reusable, it might be worth investing in - even though it's quite spendy. The gardener who told me about this also says that at big gardens - like the Botanic Gardens and Kew, they put plants in double pots and smear the edges of the outer one with Vaseline.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Sun Jul 27, 2008 1:33 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Even in money terms, soft fruit is a sure bet as its easy to grow and expensive to buy. If you want to eat the strawberries rather than watch the birds eating them, you could try popping the bunches of strawberries into jam jars (on the plant) while they are ripening. It used to work for me. I was trying to convince EVM of the ecological balance that would deal with garden pests if he stood back and didn't intervene, but now my kitten has gone and upset everything in my garden. There were two clutches of young thrushes taking out every slug and snail until the kitten took out several of the fledgling thrushes. Then I put a bell around her neck, but it was too late for this year. She still crouches between the strawberry plants waiting for the birds. Nature is red in tooth and claw.

Soft fruit is so easy, even the likes of the much maligned rhubarb is a great early crop. Must remember about the jam jars and strawberries the birds always beat me to it.

Birds will never take out enough slugs you would need an army of them. Flogs also eat slugs I have ponds and encourage them. I wonder what cats think of frogs? Cats themselves are useful, they are nature's, natural born psychos and kill everything that moves including mice and rats. The family that basically keep an eye on the place when I am away have a cat that brings in live rats to show how clever it is. Suppose it is its contribution to Sunday lunch, fresh meat. They even eat flies and then turn their noses up at Whiskers Organic, yes organic food for cats! Don't have any pets myself as move around too much.

Was hoping to be here into the winter to get more of the wilderness tamed and repairs done but increasingly looks like I will be spending the back half of the year elsewhere.

By the way one of the problems with frogs is the slaughter that cutting the lawn can become.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:05 pm

We've just dug a pond, which I'm expecting will do much for the wildlife here - I'm off this afternoon to get the liner for it. A lot of our garden is a vast expanse of lawn which we planted a year after we built so that it wouldn't look like the house had landed in a hay meadow after a tornado. I do realise however that it's now a tradition not to move into a house until the yard is tarmacked to the ears, the petunias are singing from the hanging baskets and the lawn is fit for Johnfás and his cricket team to play exhibition matches on.

I've been too prissy about digging into the lawn, spending far too long agonising and planning so I don't get it wrong and wreck the thing, but yesterday I dug like a mad woman (though a hymac that's doing some work on the farm dug the pond) and already I like it more. I'm going to plant a twisted hazel behind the pond and around it lots of little irises, grasses and pleasant things that I was given by a woman I hardly know when I visited her house for a work-related thing on Friday. Tomorrow evening if not tonight, my Jacinta pond will be glistening in the moonlight, though it will be a while before word gets around in frogland.

There's a quality of generosity about gardeners that's hard to match elsewhere in life. Maybe they're happier people with a sense of abundance? Pots of jam, heads of lettuce, tomato plants, cuttings, seedlings... are stamp collectors as sharing?
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:12 pm

Kate P wrote:
We've just dug a pond, which I'm expecting will do much for the wildlife here - I'm off this afternoon to get the liner for it. A lot of our garden is a vast expanse of lawn which we planted a year after we built so that it wouldn't look like the house had landed in a hay meadow after a tornado. I do realise however that it's now a tradition not to move into a house until the yard is tarmacked to the ears, the petunias are singing from the hanging baskets and the lawn is fit for Johnfás and his cricket team to play exhibition matches on.

I've been too prissy about digging into the lawn, spending far too long agonising and planning so I don't get it wrong and wreck the thing, but yesterday I dug like a mad woman (though a hymac that's doing some work on the farm dug the pond) and already I like it more. I'm going to plant a twisted hazel behind the pond and around it lots of little irises, grasses and pleasant things that I was given by a woman I hardly know when I visited her house for a work-related thing on Friday. Tomorrow evening if not tonight, my Jacinta pond will be glistening in the moonlight, though it will be a while before word gets around in frogland.

There's a quality of generosity about gardeners that's hard to match elsewhere in life. Maybe they're happier people with a sense of abundance? Pots of jam, heads of lettuce, tomato plants, cuttings, seedlings... are stamp collectors as sharing?
You'll need to get some water plants too.  
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