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It's time for GARDENING again!

1577 Views 48 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  ALWIN
OK - admit it.

How many of you planted seeds too early because you wanted to get a head start on the local gardeners only to struggle to keep the sickly lanky things alive indoors because you didn't have enough places to keep them whilst you potted them on cos it was too cold and wet outside, and half of the panes in your greenhouse are broken, so now they're all dead and your having to start again LATE! ...........................................................................................................:mad: :mad:

OK - SO! Just me, then? :hehe:

I have to move my tiny (6ft x 8ft) greenhouse so I can get at yet another wall that needs to be rebuilt.:(

I have built my new base, in its new location, under the tuition of a friend. I decided to make it 2 breeze blocks high so i could build 2 b. block high walls running around the inside forming raised beds (easier on the back) for tomatoes, peppers, and perhaps a cucumber (I'm a cucumber first timer).8)

Great! After putting my 4in x 4in lengths of wood on top of the base so I can fix my greenhouse frame and gain even more height, I am now left with the steepest steps up to and down into the smallest greenhouse in christendom.:eek:

I can see for miles on the top step. and i am now going to have to go out and buy some more lengths of wood to clad the base cos b. blocks look dead ugly. This is proving the most expensive bit of DIY ever.

Fortunately I have some pea and broccoli plants that we grew on the course that are still alive, and i have ended up planting onions and very, very, very, late garlic (should have been done in autumn!!!:p :p ) on my kitchen windowsill, so I'll be able to stick them outside next week.

I have also made 2 wood stores (stores made of wood for storing wood) and heeeeey! they look like a normal person made them!!!:lol: :lol:

The birds are all busy creating a rumpus and squabbling, ripping bits off the trees for nesting. I have seen the owls that have nested somewhere near the garden and produced offspring every year that we have lived here (3 years).

Unfortunately the rook colony is also back directly above the children's trampoline (which is now covered in 'white' and large twigs they have dropped whilst nest building. i'm sure they hurl those twigs at one another.

What a NOISE
! It would be a site more quiet living within spitting distance of the M6.

The builders are due to start our house extension within the next couple of weeks, so prepare for Mrs Stresshead from Stressland on the Slopes of the Mountain Stress type posts .....

Perhaps I'll learn how to post photos this year????:)
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Rather than building wood up around the bricks...try either past growing wild flowers and green spray paint...prettier and cheaper.

I live in Florida, so don't really grown anything, plan to do it when we move to the Carolinas, but we do get alot of birds the cacaphony is quite loud in the the cats YAKKING and GROWWWWWWRing at the windows makes it quite an awakening!

Haven't planted any seeds yet:blush: I'm always a bit late ,as it seems, is my neighbour who was planting her potatoes yesterday ....'earlies' a bit too late if you see what I mean:rolleyes:
We too have very noisy birds nesting just under the guttering.Some(I think sparrows)have cleverly made a nest out of twigs and sheeps wool.Unfortunately,they have left one long,dangley bit of wool with a large twig attached to it which rapps noisily against the landing window.I daren't pull it off in case the whole nest comes away.I think they are sparrows anyway,but judging by the size of the twig,I wonder if crows are hiding there!8)
Hi Stephani

I'm tempted by the spray paint idea, but can't grow wild flowers there because i'm short of places with light in my garden. I have a lot of protected trees that create shade - except for the area the greenhouse is in, so every bit of space around it has to hold veg. The only other area with good light in summer holds fruit.

None the less - a nice idea!

My cat is in hunting mode too - alas, despite the large bell round her neck, which does prevent her from catching adult birds, she has already brought one starling chick in :sad:.

I'm pleased when she catches mice - that's her job, but I hate the way she brings the head and shoulders with the front legs still attached, into the sitting room for us to share with her. She always eats the best bit herself :sick:

Julsie - your neighbour is way ahead of me - my 'earlies' are still chitting in the cellar, and will stay that way if i don't get the greenhouse shifted cos they're supposed to be going in the old site.

You wait all winter to get started then somebody over winds the clock and the hands just race round until you are behind.

Could you reach the wool with a pair of scissors?
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gardening again in tropics

Hi Alwin and all
glad to hear that you are into your plants again.:rotfl: Interesting you saying about planting too early. In some of my posts I mentioned that we had a flood here in Mackay, even my daughter had metre more through, still getting insurance, but for our gardens it has been great. I have mentioned to others that I'd put one Pumpkin seed in my small back yard, and it took over the small yard, but after flood (not affecting me) had 2 fullgrown ;) pumpkins, so had to pull out plant as grass so high- all gone now, still some frozen in fridge.

But the passionfruit is yielding 26 fruit and flowers:wink2: . Put in tomato and sweet pea seedlings last week- usually between St Paddy's day and easter here. Seeds are sprouting now- cabbages, flowering plants and more. Our weather is just cooling in mornings- 18C, but still 28C day, as we move towards the winter, but usually sunny all winter and most of year. Sorry you asked about a plant once, Alwin, and I didn't reply- sorry. have been busy getting to drs and spec??? have to garden around 6-7am bcause of sun probs- eyes/skin etc, so great to hear re your plants all
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Oh I'm envious of you all right now :p

Autumn has really taken hold and we have had our second frost. Maximum of 7C yesterday and probably minus something last night but who was up to read the thermometer :lol:

The falling leaves and colours are beautiful though! I have defied all gardening rules and taken cuttings of my camellia sasanqua's :lol: wish me luck.

Hey Alwin, Do you have hostas (large green leaves only small flowers) where you are? Here we use them in the shade, a lot of them just absolutely love the shade. Your excitement is contagious, I am going to try some hanging baskets, and some clay pots of flowers, but veggies are out for me. The bird bath will be full and some seeds for the birds. Good luck on your garden!
:flowery: :flower2: :rose: :pansy: :give_rose: :posy:

Violets..Pansies..Impatiens..all love shade. They self sow too! Do you like bleeding hearts?

You sound like your having a lot of fun, playing in the dirt! lol..

I planted some sweet pea flower seeds. My clematis are all leafing out nicely.

I will plant three tomato plants after the tenth of May. I will plant two cumumbers by seed. One lemon, and the other a Market More. Just water your cukes a lot, once they start to put on..that way they won't taste bitter. :wink2:

I am going to plant two pumpkin plants from seed. one miniature pumpkin, and one Big Max..(for my grandkids).

I bought a couple of flats of petunias for various pots, around our home and patio. I think that pretty much sums it up for me, this year for planting.

Last year, I got carried away, and my hubby had to pick up the slack. I promised not to do that to him this year! LOL.

Oh! I have two very large Perennial Hibiscus that are just gorgeous..One is bright red, and the other is bright pink. The flowers on each plant are at least
ten to twelve inches in diameter....I will try and post pictures of each of them in bloom this summer..

Have fun..

Love You,
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HI Mary

I haven't done any sweet peas this year. I'll be fed up later. I have some tumbling tom tomatoes on the go (about 5inches now, that I was going to put in big baskets with scrabling sweet peas. I have not grown that variety before. Never mind - toms will bebetter in greenhouse here.

I amenvious of your passion flower. I had one inmy last gardenand it was my pride and joy.

Lily - good luck with your camellia. I try all sorts at all sorts of times of the year and the strangest things work out.


Yes - I do have hostas. I was not keen on them becasue of the slugs. I am an organic gardener and it just seemed such a nuisance trying to keep the slugs at bay. A neighbour kept giving me bits that she had divided from her own plants. I am very grateful now as they have padded out into nice plants. I have 4 different types i think. They are poking through the soil now - about 4 inch leaf spikes showing, just waiting to unfurl.


clematis are probably my favourite flowering climbers. i have hundreds of flower buds on my pink montana, which ios growing up against the part of the house to be extended, so I will have to cut it down (snivel!).

I love bleeding hearts. I think i have 3 types, but my favourite is a blue-green feathery leaved one with pale pink flowers. There is a great big monster of one down in the wild part of my garden that i never get round to splitting. Think it has white flowers, but it gets drowned by weeds and yellow loosestrife every year because i cannever find time to get downthere to tidy up.

I will heed your advice re the cumcumber. I am going to set up an irrigation system in the greenhouse becasue I am notoriuos for running out of steam and forgettting to water the greenhouse when it gets hot. Going to invest in one of those automatic openers for the ventillation window too.

Your hibiscus sound lovely. They are on my list of 'nice to haves'. I do not have a single customer with hibiscus, so i have not been able to pinch a cutting! I do get good sun in the little patch of garden at the front of my house, so could grow a couple there. It always looks scruffy because i use that area to bring on plants that like sun. Then i shove them in my shady garden and wait from them to start stretching and leaning as the strain to get enough light!

I have one viola that looks like a tall lime green leaved blue pansy. It came from scotland and it is really vigorous. I have purple and pink varieties of violet - given to me last year and already starting to flower and spread nicely.

I like things to tumble over the paths and look a bit neglected. It's the best way to disguise my wobbly paths and tumble down walls.

One day it will not look like a bomb site!

PS - A neighbour gave me some cucumbers last year and they were freshly picked, but tasted very vinegary. Why was this?

Take care all.
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Hi Alwin,
Didn't think of using scissors did I?duuurrr!:blink:
Do you use beer traps for the slug problem?we had terrible slugs at my last place,they hoovered eveything so I used beer traps,at least they died happy.
From what I've heard you can get male and female cucumbers and the males have a bit rougher,tough skin with small prickles and taste bitter so maybe your neighbour gave you some blokish cucumbers?best to bin those!:)

We have the most beautiful peachish colored hibiscus...if you want me to tend you one, I can fed-ex it...just PM can tell me how to clip the right parts for you. I can pack it in a small foam cooler and ship it on over.

Plus any other natural floridian plants you want me to collect for you.

Hi Alwin,

When, you buy your cucumber seeds, they will say on the outside if they are for slicing or pickling. Here in the States, that is how it is, anyway. The pickling cukes in general are smaller and, do have spines on them. They are not as sweet.

Did your neighbor perhaps give you some of those? Also, I learned during my course, not to plant cucumbers, next to melon of any kind. I kept them away from pumpkins too. They can cross germinate, and that can make the ruin the flavor.

If you have problems with bugs..grow marigold flowers! Most bugs, hate the strong pungent smell of them! Have fun Alwin! I wish I could garden like mad with you...:lol:

Hi Everyone

I just wanted to ask you if you like poppies? If it is fall for you, you could rake a spot where you would like your poppies, sprinkle your seeds, and then just gently press them into the soil.

The trick is not to cover the seeds. Poppy seeds, like lobelia, need very cold temps, and light to germinate. You could plant them now, or early next spring while it is still frosting to get a beautiful display, next season.

I love the giant peony mixed poppies. The flowers get up to 5 inches across and are double. They come in shades of cherry, lavender, pink, whites and some bicolors..They would be beautiful in late spring and early summer!

Those do need full sun..though.

Poppies, don't like to be transplanted either. (annuals)

I love poppies..Do you? They come in a lot of beautiful colors now..:lol:
I have seen them in bright pink, peach, purple, white, bright orange, and of course the traditional and always gorgeous scarlett red. The afore mentioned are the perennial Oriental Poppies.

Lily, I love camilias. We could grow them in C.A. but, not here in Idaho, unless one has a greenhouse. I miss the banana trees and citrus trees that grew there also.

On the plus side we grow lovely lilacs here and they smell so beautiful..

Enjoy, your beautiful fall colors Lily, and your camellias. :)

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Hi Julsie

I have tried beer traps, toasted crumbled egg shells, grit, copper tape, copper rings, tin foil, bran, a bucket of salt water to deposit them in after picking. And numerous other tricks too grisley to relate.

They all work to some extent. BUT too many methods actually kill them very, very badly.

During my course the emphasise has been on leaving wild life alone and encouraging a natural balance of creatures. Including not poisoning, squashing, hurling, drowning, dessicating, or impaling on garden foks or any other spikey instrument accidentally falling into my hand, slugs or snails.

It has been a culture shock. In my world if it moved slowly and was slimy you should kill it with extreme prejudice.

Anyway - turns out i have been a monster all my life. :eleph:

It seems i am supposed to put them in my compost heap to help the composting process. I am informed that they will not lay hundreds of millions of eggs for me to spread all over my veg plot, but die due to the heat of my well made hot composter. Sure. But my composter is neither well made, nor well tended, so it does not get hot.

So! What am i now doing with my slugs and snails? I actually collect them and put them in the council green waste wheelie bin. How mad is that? i keep my enoromus container of environmentally friendly slug pellets hidden and rarely use it now. It's very tough, this 'green' business.
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Julsie and Sandy

What you describe about the cucumbers makes a lot of sense. Funnily enough, pickled gherkins do look very male somehow :blush:

I get the male / female thing and will check out the labelling. Thank you very much.


That is a very generous and wonderful idea. I will check it is ok first. We could unwittingly spread foreign pests and diseases to one another (through the plants - not one another!) so I'll check first. I don't want to be the Typhoid Mary of the UK plant world!

Then I would be happy to PM & swap addresses whilst sending postage costs, etc. What a grand experiment it would be! Thank you very much for thinking of me.


I have only grown one pumpkin in my life and was horrified at the rate it bagan to romp over my entire garden (I had a very small garden at the time). I truly believed it thought my name was Seamore and it was going to eat me one day. So I gave up on all things 'squashy', but it is useful to know about the cross pollination thing. Though it does sound like a possible interesting experiment too! :wink:

I have never grown gourds either, and would love tips on how to do so. Remember, we have a short season in the North of England and most of my garden is in semi-shade. Lots and lots of water though! i'd love to dry and varnish some and hang them from my trees.


Every year I promise myself to do companion planting, and every year I fail to get round to it. I did do some marigolds last year to attract the blackfly away from my broad beans. Unfortunateyl I don't much care for their smell either. I think it worked though. And they did look cheerful. My beans were less infested than the year before, but I also pinched out the soft growing tips, which they like best.

Poppies are fabulous. The poppies you describe self seed happily in my garden every year. I never know if / where they will pop up. I love the frilly pink / mauve ones that look like peonies, but also the shiny deep red with purple / black centers. I save the seed heads and put them in a basket for visitors to help themselves to on garden festival day in the village.

I also have several oriental poppies, which I am a bit jealous with. I absolutely HATE it if somebody asks for a bit, but i have learned how to take root cuttings now, so once i am organised :heehee: I will get some on the go to give out. Well, I MIGHT share them. I like to think I would share them anyway. Will I share them? Absolutely not a cat in h--l's chance! I'm even a bit crotchety if somebody leaves with a seedhead from my orientals. Pathetic and mean really.

I will give just about anything except oriental poppies.

There is a lovely perennial poppy called Patty's Plum that is well worth a go if you see it. I bought some and GAVE (yes ... it really, really hurt) a couple of them to my mother-in-law.

Mine died.

Every year she tells me how beautifully well hers are doing.

Don't you just love mother-in-laws?
See less See more's Alwin's compost corner time:lol:
I don't know what's wrong with my compost bin either.........the waste just seems to sit there:sad:

Sandy I love oriental poppies too. I had some perrenial ones.a lovely salmon pink.
Unfortunately everytime they flowered they would soon get flattened by the wind or the rain.
Spring has sprung here in Suffolk. I live on the edge of town by heathland so now the gorse is blooming along with my wallflowers the air smells like honey.
It means we get lots of birds in the garden.
Currently......there is a greedy crow (called Joe) always tries to stuff more than his beak will hold
....robins (all called Bob) and some very noisy magpies (aaaaark aaaaark) very inconvenient as I am superstitious and have to say good morning to them individually:rolleyes:
I'll try to take some pictures soon,too.
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I think you need to pee on it a bit!:lol: the compost heap I mean!
I am not game to look in my compost bin :lol: I think it's a slimy mess :hehe:

Stephanie I would love a peachy coloured hibiscus bush but unless they are deciduous hibiscus they don't grow well where I am :( I don't know about the UK import laws but here in Oz we have very strict quarantine laws and any plant matter is seized at customs and destroyed to protect our own species :bigsmile:

Sandy I must water the camellia cuttings today, I must water the camellia cuttings today :lol: I have a problem remembering to do this to lots of things on my verandah and my plants have to be pretty tough to survive :hehe: We have sooooooooo many camellias here, I love them and they grow really well in my particular climate.

Alwin you need an antechinus or two to take care of those slugs and snails!

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You would give my tutor a coronary! Can you imagine how horrified he would be with the number of drugs we all take?!!!

Unrinating on our compost heaps might be a great idea, but it might be better if we asked some healthy friends to donate theirs. I'm sure we'd get lots of volunteers! :eek:

The number of drugs we would be sloshing all over our compost is frightening. I wonder though ... what effect do steroids have on vegetables ... could be an interesting experiment ...

I have never heard of the entries being testd for drugs at the local horticulture show.

Others might not want to eat them much - not sure it would do us too much harm really.


You are probably doing the same thing as me with your compost heap. I use the rubbish black plastic compost bins becasue they were free from the council. They do work for people who compost properly.

I just throw my vegetable and garden waste in as it is produced without any concern for alternately layering my green materials with more woody stuff or screwed up newspaper. That means there is not enough air in the mix, but adding a bit of horse muck with straw really helps.

The other thing I do is keep going. If the pile sinks i think 'great - more space' and keep adding so it is never going to be ready. I have no excuse because i do have 4. I keep promising myself i will build 3 great big wooden jobs so I can do it properly, but there is never any time spare in the world.
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Lily .... an aunty WHAT? :blink:

Is it a type of biological control like a nematode or something? :shrug: :explain:

I can't sleep tonight so at least you've given me something to google! :sick: :plaster:

I do try to attract birds and hedgehogs to get rid, but i think they prefer my precious worms!
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