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We plough the fields and scatter...

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Mangleworzle, Jan 5, 2020.

  1. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    I bought a box of mixed wild flower seeds for butterflies, bugs, and beetles in a supermarket in Normandy, and a similar one in Aldi at home, and chucked them all into a cleared patch of front garden. The result was a long lasting array of multi coloured wild flowers, some up to 5ft tall. Haven't a clue what most of them were but the butterflies, bugs, and beetles loved them, and so did I. Have been round collecting up the seed pods and emptying them into a container ready for this year's planting.
  2. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    we've sown borad beans late autumn, and will sow more in spring. We have rhubarb, new crowns to replace the ones Mr Belle accidentally killed. I also have two gooseberry bushes which I need to net this year, as last year something furry ot reathery scoffed the lot in one sitting!
    I have a veg trug which I've now devoted to strawberries, and we grow as many different herbs as we can, both in the garden and in pots.
    I'm rather keen on incorporating my veggies into the flower beds....particularly rainbow chard which isso pretty, so tasty and grows back after you cut it.
    sbkrobson likes this.
  3. davidmu

    davidmu Occasional commenter

    What an enjoyable thread! A useful tip for many new to the hobby is to visit garden centres and stores such as Wilko in early September when seeds are drastically reduced but still have two or more years of good germination left. Last Autumn I picked up about 20 such seed packets for less than a fiver. The only seeds I would think twice about in this category are lettuce and carrot. They do deteriorate rather quickly.
    sbkrobson likes this.
  4. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Lead commenter

    I only grew cucamelons once , they took over my greenhouse, so I've not grown them since.
    If you are a member of the RHS, you can order from their seed catalogue, collected from their own gardens, so they often have unusual varieties, not vegetables though.

    I love hearing about what others are doing, and talking about what I'm up to, I can talk for England!
    I've got cabbages overwintering, my parsnips, we had for Christmas dinner but they were a bit of a disappointment .

    I'm going to move my raspberries this year, I grow multiple varieties as I love them so much.

    I have salsify self seeding all over the front garden which I never planted, and haven't yet tried to do anything with. Lovely flowers though.
    sbkrobson likes this.
  5. 60sunnysmile

    60sunnysmile New commenter

    I love gardening! I simply cannot sit still in the garden as I always see something that needs doing. I try to grow vegetables but I need to invest more time and thought into them. My garden is on the small side (I live on a housing estate) and most of it is dedicated to shrubs and summer flowers. I tried growing potatoes 2 years ago, in large vegetable bags I bought at Wilco. I harvested 1 decent sized potato, the rest of the small ones (the size of peas) went into the bin. Unfortunately, I used the left over compost in my flower bed and this past summer I had loads of potatoes growing amongst the flowers. Too many actually. I managed to dig out about a dozen decent potatoes, but I worry that there are still tiny potatoes in there that will grow again this year.
    I am thinking of looking into an allotment as I could keep the vegetables there perhaps.
    I might try to grow tomatoes against the south facing wall.
    My only real issue is watering. I am trying to cut down on watering so any tips on that would be great.
    Mangleworzle and sbkrobson like this.
  6. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    I hate gardening but I try to do enough to keep the garden acceptable to the neighbours. We've decided to build a break of fruit bushes halfway down the lawn, for the hens to be kept behind, but I'm not sure what to choose. We already have enough blackcurrants, and I might put in some raspberries, but any suggestions for anything unusual and delicious?
    sbkrobson likes this.
  7. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    Sounds like a good place. I was chair of an allotment group for 34 years and they hardly ever meet at the pub.we built up from a small membership on 19 acres of land to a almost full membershop of 10 acres
    I retired in December 2018 because I had developed a habit of falling over on the plot. (Unfortunately not from drink either!)
    Mangleworzle and sbkrobson like this.
  8. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    If you want raised bed B&Qare selling some easy to assemble ones for £20, You simply fold them out they have strong corners and the plankings not bad, but I would advise treating the wood with a water-based preservative.
    Look and consider the idea of companion planting for extra plants, beneficial insect attraction and pollination.
    Chart here
    Also consider non dig methods ...it worked for me on raised beds.
    I also used an online sees supplier whose seeds worked well and although smaller quantities where enough for one allotment.
    The allotment used Kings seeds which always where reliable.
    lexus300, Bedlam3 and Norsemaid like this.
  9. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    Think you might find the hens wont be contained by bushes unless its some prickly ones.
    Try an online trawl to see what poultry keepers suggest.
    sbkrobson likes this.
  10. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Lead commenter

    Well that might depend on what your hens like and if the bushes will be accessible to them. Mine would have stripped a raspberry bush in seconds!
    I espalier my apples along the chicken enclosure, they like the blossom when it blows around but don't bother much with the developing fruit. They are along posts with wires so they cant get through. Raspberries aren't very bushy unless you get a bushy variety..mine grow tall and need staking. They would be no deterrent to my chooks.
    sbkrobson likes this.
  11. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    Bedlam3 likes this.
  12. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    Fruit trees ordered and coming soon. Greenhouse erected. Planting beds will be created next. Brand new garden so lots to be done so it will be evolving over time.
    Mangleworzle and sbkrobson like this.
  13. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    I have a small north-facing garden of heavy clay so it's always been a bit of a dead loss. The front's a long wedge. Most of the gardens in our street were paved over to allow extra parking so our grass and border one is the favoured cat lavatory.
    Shrubs do well, and bulbs, but delphiniums, phlox etc do alright for one year then get guzzled by six inch slugs the second they poke their little heads out in spring.
    I have a small greenhouse where I grow tomatoes, lettuce and chillies. Very productive.
    sbkrobson likes this.
  14. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    I went on a fruit tree pruning course last year and have already set about the foliage around the estate with my secco secou secca cutters for the winter pruning. Raspberries (including the late blooming yellow ones) and Strawberries turn up by default now I've worked out which bits to get rid of each year. Last year I planted small Plum, Apricot, and Peach trees, and a Phoenix Grape Vine which is suited to N Europe, so this year is hopefully when some results will emerge. I cut back three small apple trees quite drastically last year as they needed doing properly, and one of them still produced a goodly crop. Oddly enough it was the cheapo Aldi Golden Delicious, which were bright red by picking time. The Scrumptious and the Falstaff will hopefully get back into the swing of it this year. I also put a Braeburn in last year.

    Main problem I have is a b astard tree rat which helps itself to all the fruit. I don't grow any veg as the garden space is too small, but I try getting hot chillies to grow in pots. I also rescued a sprouting avocado from my compost bin and it's doing quite well in the house now.

    My biggest garden project isn't even my own - I'm involved in re-creating an ancient planting area as part of a local historic project. All good fun, and exercise. I reckon I've shifted a couple of skipfuls of earth and compost by hand already. The planting boxes will be made of woven hazel, as soon as I've lopped it off the trees.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2020
    Mangleworzle and sbkrobson like this.
  15. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    You could grow a medlar tree-they smell amazing, or at least certain types do, they flower prolifically, and they fruit a little later than most indigenous fruits, so it is a good contributor to all year self sufficiency. They are ultra easy to care for ie just let them get on with it and chop bits off which you don't like. The fruit is impressive in yield, and interesting in that to get the best from the fruit you have to "blet" it, which basically means let it go slightly rotten. You did ask for "unusual".
    if you don't enjoy eating them they make truly excellent wine
    Mangleworzle likes this.
  16. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    Sorry, I wasn't very clear. Our hens are in a moveable run. Instead of moving it all over the lawn it's only going to be in the back part from now on. Then we can fill in the hen holes in the part nearer the house and make it look more like a lawn again! They do get some time out of the run but they're so thick they don't bother with most of the soft fruit. They'll hoover up the windfall apples and if I'm picking blackcurrants they'll hang around hopefully. I do seem to have particularly gormless hens at the moment.

    I like the idea of a medlar. Are they easy to come by?
    sbkrobson likes this.
  17. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    It depends on what you are growing, but a good way to maximise plant benefit from minimum watering is to sink something non porous and cylindrical into the ground adjacent to your plants. Pots, drainpipe, hosepipe, cut off bottles, old wellies pierced through. When it is time to water, you just put the water in the apertures you have thus created, and the benefits are multifold-the water goes straight to the roots, it does not soak the surface so cannot evaporate, and obviously you are not chucking water in places where it wont be used.

    Something fascinating i've experimented with in the last few years was shown to me by our local Gurkha community who bring superlative arcane skills from a heritage of intensive slope farming-you sink tubes deep into the soil far away from the plant. You do this with tall architectural plants, such as sunflowers, artichokes, sweetcorn etc. What happens is magical-the base of the stem becomes unusually thickened and below ground the root system expands into iceberg proportions for anchorage. All in a bid to reach out for the limited and very localised water supply. If you get the spacing right, you can use it to grow exceptionally high and top heavy seeming plants which require zero staking and are still wind resistant. Magical. Yet actually just basic science.

    Watering? Less is more.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2020
    Norsemaid and magic surf bus like this.
  18. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Yes. You just need to take a trip down to the closest foothills to the Caspian sea, hire a local Bohemian type who's on a day trip from Georgia, and he'll point one out for you. A proper non hybrid heritage medlar, the only remaining ones in the whole world (it's true) Propagate in your preferred fashion and cross your fingers behind your back at customs.

    Or you can get them from the RHS site.

    I like the sound of all those fruit trees and all those dim chickens. Am quite in awe of those who keep poultry, I don't think I could manage the sense of fragility of having care of so many living breathing things.
    slingshotsally likes this.
  19. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    Thank you. I'll look into it.

    Chickens are the easiest things in the world to look after once you've got them set up right. Mine have a big food hopper and big water vessels so as long as it's not ridiculously hot or freezing I only have to see to them every other day. Their run is enclosed (lids as well) so I don't have to be shutting their pop hole or anything. They don't mind a bit of cold. My neighbour had a tree in her hen run and the hens roosted in it in all weathers, in fact they refused to go into the lovely house she'd provided entirely, choosing to lay their eggs in a barely accessible pile of mud behind the tree!

    Hens don't mind if their water bowl is an old pan and their nest box is made water tight with an old plastic tablecloth. They're a cheap date, and if they get ill they mostly recover or die quickly. They tend not to linger. And you get eggs! What's not to like? You should definitely get some.
    slingshotsally and sbkrobson like this.
  20. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    It's funny you say that, because not so long ago, wanting to leave teaching I tried to set up a dating agency for chickens. Sadly I had to give it up within a month as I was really struggling to make hens meet.
    oldsomeman and Aquamarina1234 like this.

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