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Sasa
  • Sasa
  • Advanced Member
17 June 2024 06:42:27

Not me, although I do have various fruit trees: apple, pear, plum, cherry, as well as raspberries and lots (and lots) of blackberries. The birds are currently having a bit of barney over the cherries... it's rare that any survive to be eaten by me!

Originally Posted by: Retron 



Ah, yes, the eternal struggle with birds – nature's little opportunists. They have an uncanny knack for swooping in and stealing your perfectly ripened fruit right under your nose. It's almost as if they have a secret spy network just to thwart your gardening efforts.
Kingston Upon Thames
Retron
17 June 2024 06:47:59

We've been for a walk through local fields today. In several locations where land is scheduled for development, it has been left fallow and is covered with a profusion of poppies and other flowers. We realised as we walked that there were no bees evident and looking and listening carefully revealed few insects of any description. On a warm day like today, I'd expect to be able to hear the insects in such places as much as I could see them. Silence.
 

Originally Posted by: Ulric 


Might it just have been too windy for them? It was breezy here yesterday afternoon and you had to look in sheltered areas to find any insects - there were very few on the flowers bobbing in the wind.

This morning, with only a light bit of wind now and again, it's buzzing - literally. Plenty of bees, flies, little midge-type things - most of which were in hiding yesterday!
Leysdown, north Kent
DEW
  • DEW
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17 June 2024 07:25:56


Three pictures of interest, all from the wild part of the garden.

1 - a profusion of daisy-like flowers, I've forgotten what they're called. There are masses of them this year.
2 - barley, not usually found in a domestic garden. The nearest farmland is 500 feet away, so that's quite some going!
3 - taken at my eye level (5ft 8 ) - another of those massive spear thistles. 1.5m max, as per that other site - hah!

https://ukwct.org.uk/weather/g1.jpg? 
UserPostedImage

https://ukwct.org.uk/weather/g2.jpg? 
UserPostedImage

https://ukwct.org.uk/weather/g3.jpg? 
UserPostedImage

Originally Posted by: Retron 


1 - looks like Feverfew, Tanacetum parthenium, an infusion of leaves is good for headaches (don't try this at home, just in case I'm wrong! Can be confused with some camomile species)
2 - a different daisy in the foreground, Ox-eye daisy, Leucanthamum vulgare
3- no comment
War does not determine who is right, only who is left - Bertrand Russell

Chichester 12m asl
Saint Snow
17 June 2024 08:38:25
I've not got the hang of this composting.

Had a bin for about 3 years. Contents are mostly a mix of 50% veg trimmings/peelings (no spuds), 25% grass cuttings, 20% garden leaves/soft prunings, 5% plain cardboard (mostly recycled egg boxes)

I initially had a problem with it being too dry (so I now water it sporadically), but it still seems to be a home for a colony of ants and woodlice.

I got it to full and it's all composted down (the bottom has been composting for 2+ years - is that too long?).

The problem is, when I've gone to take the compost from the hatch at the bottom, I've found the compost is full of roots. Roots which have grown upwards from the ground, from the trees that are near it. As well as making the compost difficult to extract (and having to remove dozens of roots from it), those roots will have been nicking all the nutrients in the compost. 

Has anyone had a similar problem? 

I nearly canned the whole thing and took the bin to the tip but, after calming down a little, I've tried a fix by tipping out all the compost onto a tarp and removing the larger roots. I've put an old piece of chipboard down and placed the bin on top of that, then re-filled the bin with the remaining compost. 

I get that this is going to block access to to worms burrowing up from underneath and these are vital to successful composting (if I see any in the garden, I'm going to relocate them into the bin!), but the alternative is to have tree roots continue to invade from the bottom.

 

Martin
Home: St Helens (26m asl) Work: Manchester (75m asl)
A TWO addict since 14/12/01
"How can wealth persuade poverty to use its political freedom to keep wealth in power? Here lies the whole art of Conservative politics."
Aneurin Bevan
NMA
  • NMA
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17 June 2024 09:16:51
We had a composting class here a couple of years back Martin. I think this might have been the nudge to get you going on your own system? If I remember, it went something along the lines of adding an accelerant to the top of the heap. Did you do this?

Reading your latest predicament, it seems you have a good mix of materials.
But the roots issue is one I haven't heard of before. But I guess it is possible.
I would plan/hope on removing last year's additions about a year later. You can do it faster. This would mean there is less opportunity for roots to move upwards into the container.

How is your plastic lawn? You mention grass clippings. Does this mean you have forgone this plastic monstrosity? Congratulations if so.
Removing dog poo from a plastic lawn is not the easiest task, which is one reason I've heard people remove fake grass.
Especially with some of the rich doggie diets they have today. 🐶

Before giving up on the compost heap, a cup of chamomile tisane (tea) might reduce the stress or if you have a headache feverfew certainly helps. DEW is right. Make sure it is feverfew though.

Oh, and chipboard might not the best material for a base. It probably contains formaldehyde which is an anti-bacterial agent.
Nick
Vale of the Great Dairies
South Dorset
Elevation 60m 197ft
Saint Snow
17 June 2024 10:02:29

We had a composting class here a couple of years back Martin. I think this might have been the nudge to get you going on your own system? If I remember, it went something along the lines of adding an accelerant to the top of the heap. Did you do this?

Reading your latest predicament, it seems you have a good mix of materials.
But the roots issue is one I haven't heard of before. But I guess it is possible.
I would plan/hope on removing last year's additions about a year later. You can do it faster. This would mean there is less opportunity for roots to move upwards into the container.

How is your plastic lawn? You mention grass clippings. Does this mean you have forgone this plastic monstrosity? Congratulations if so.
Removing dog poo from a plastic lawn is not the easiest task, which is one reason I've heard people remove fake grass.
Especially with some of the rich doggie diets they have today. 🐶

Before giving up on the compost heap, a cup of chamomile tisane (tea) might reduce the stress or if you have a headache feverfew certainly helps. DEW is right. Make sure it is feverfew though.

Oh, and chipboard might not the best material for a base. It probably contains formaldehyde which is an anti-bacterial agent.
Nick

Originally Posted by: NMA 




Thanks for your reply, Nick.

I have added accelerator a couple of times (but not for a while). To be honest, since I started adding water occasionally, it's helped the process speed up. That's the lesser of my concerns.

Thanks for your tip on the chipboard; I hadn't thought of that. I just had a piece left lying around; it's pretty swollen due to exposure to the elements for the last several months. I'll see what I have got to replace it.

I've still got the artificial grass in the back. I honestly wouldn't change it. We have a dog and made the decision on the lawn after the first winter we had her, when every time we'd let her out for a wee/poo, we'd have to clean her muddy paws. Our back lawn, due to most of it being in the shade of the several large trees we have at the end of the garden (the back of the house faces south) was just moss and dandelion with a bit of grass mixed in. Regarding dog poo, I get that. Ours used to have soft/bit runny poos fairly regularly and it was tricky to clean (although in summer it'd dry out and in winter sometimes freeze, both of which makes it easier 😁). But we moved her onto a grain-free diet two years ago and it's been a revelation, with solid, uniform poos very much the norm and 'runny bum' a rarity. I'll add that, lawn aside, my back garden is pretty nature-friendly. I even have a corner that I keep overgrown and with a couple of rotting logs on the ground.

My front lawn is and always will be laid to grass.

 

Martin
Home: St Helens (26m asl) Work: Manchester (75m asl)
A TWO addict since 14/12/01
"How can wealth persuade poverty to use its political freedom to keep wealth in power? Here lies the whole art of Conservative politics."
Aneurin Bevan
Roger Parsons
17 June 2024 10:58:39
"Chamber Lees" - that's the secret! [Lincolnshire Dialect] Good for onions I'm told. 😁
RogerP
West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire
Everything taken together, here in Lincolnshire are more good things than man could have had the conscience to ask.
William Cobbett, in his Rural Rides - c.1830
NMA
  • NMA
  • Advanced Member
18 June 2024 08:46:13

"Chamber Lees" - that's the secret! [Lincolnshire Dialect] Good for onions I'm told. 😁

Originally Posted by: Roger Parsons 


Yes of course.
Far better than putting it straight into watercourses and the seas and hope that no one notices.
 
Vale of the Great Dairies
South Dorset
Elevation 60m 197ft
NMA
  • NMA
  • Advanced Member
24 June 2024 08:57:40
Not my garden but taken earlier today on a path to a beach. It shows how little rain we've had in this part of Dorset in recent weeks.
June has been quite dry with negligible rain. Last winter, this path was impassible.
https://i.imgur.com/RQ8AIQl.jpg 

UserPostedImage
Vale of the Great Dairies
South Dorset
Elevation 60m 197ft
Sasa
  • Sasa
  • Advanced Member
24 June 2024 15:41:49

I've not got the hang of this composting.

Had a bin for about 3 years. Contents are mostly a mix of 50% veg trimmings/peelings (no spuds), 25% grass cuttings, 20% garden leaves/soft prunings, 5% plain cardboard (mostly recycled egg boxes)

I initially had a problem with it being too dry (so I now water it sporadically), but it still seems to be a home for a colony of ants and woodlice.

I got it to full and it's all composted down (the bottom has been composting for 2+ years - is that too long?).

The problem is, when I've gone to take the compost from the hatch at the bottom, I've found the compost is full of roots. Roots which have grown upwards from the ground, from the trees that are near it. As well as making the compost difficult to extract (and having to remove dozens of roots from it), those roots will have been nicking all the nutrients in the compost. 

Has anyone had a similar problem? 

I nearly canned the whole thing and took the bin to the tip but, after calming down a little, I've tried a fix by tipping out all the compost onto a tarp and removing the larger roots. I've put an old piece of chipboard down and placed the bin on top of that, then re-filled the bin with the remaining compost. 

I get that this is going to block access to to worms burrowing up from underneath and these are vital to successful composting (if I see any in the garden, I'm going to relocate them into the bin!), but the alternative is to have tree roots continue to invade from the bottom.

 

Originally Posted by: Saint Snow 



I had a poor experience with composting bins, so I have given up on them.

Instead, I recommend finding a shaded spot in your garden and creating a compost pile. What works best for me is using a few pallets to build a square structure. Continue layering different materials, as you are already doing, and place an old carpet on top to retain heat, which helps the compost break down.

I believe the issues with composting bins may be due to their size, lack of airflow, and absence of natural rainfall.

To get the compost takes 1 year.

 
Kingston Upon Thames
Bertwhistle
30 June 2024 08:44:13
Can't pick & eat the cucumbers as quickly as they are maturing. Never had full ones before July before but this year we had two in May, and two dozen since!
Bertie, Itchen Valley.
'We'll never see 40 celsius in this country'.
Caz
  • Caz
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30 June 2024 09:16:19
We sowed seeds from last year’s Halloween pumpkins and planted three in the border under the beans. I think that might be two too many because they’ve taken over. No fruits yet but lots of flower buds.  
WRT composting, I remember my biology teacher telling us he’d send his little boys out to pee in their compost heap to activate it.  I sent my little boy out to do the same and even when grown up, despite us having three loos, he’d still disappear round the compost heap.  We don’t have one now though.
Market Warsop, North Nottinghamshire.
Join the fun and banter of the monthly CET competition.
NMA
  • NMA
  • Advanced Member
30 June 2024 09:41:00

We sowed seeds from last year’s Halloween pumpkins and planted three in the border under the beans. I think that might be two too many because they’ve taken over. No fruits yet but lots of flower buds.  WRT composting, I remember my biology teacher telling us he’d send his little boys out to pee in their compost heap to activate it.  I sent my little boy out to do the same and even when grown up, despite us having three loos, he’d still disappear round the compost heap.  We don’t have one now though. 

Originally Posted by: Caz 


The good old-fashioned accelerator trick.
Vale of the Great Dairies
South Dorset
Elevation 60m 197ft
NMA
  • NMA
  • Advanced Member
30 June 2024 09:58:38
I haven't grown figs for years but last winter I decided to grow one in my ‘Mediterranean’ garden. My previous fig cultivations produced plants that thrived but with more foliage than fruits. This time instead of planting in the ground I planted the new plant in a container to restrict the roots. I now have Fig.1 that all going well might ripen next year. I’m hoping more fruits will form this year.

Fig.1
UserPostedImage
UserPostedImage
Vale of the Great Dairies
South Dorset
Elevation 60m 197ft
Roger Parsons
01 July 2024 17:43:41
We have been looking at our runner beans today with concern. They are flowering well, but no sign on any pods forming. As this ties in with low numbers of insects in the garden generally, we are concerned that they may not have been pollinated. Our French beans are about to flower, so were are watching them to compare. We have a lawn covered in clover with barely half a dozen bumblebees interested. 😬
RogerP
West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire
Everything taken together, here in Lincolnshire are more good things than man could have had the conscience to ask.
William Cobbett, in his Rural Rides - c.1830
NMA
  • NMA
  • Advanced Member
02 July 2024 05:51:45

We have been looking at our runner beans today with concern. They are flowering well, but no sign on any pods forming. As this ties in with low numbers of insects in the garden generally, we are concerned that they may not have been pollinated. Our French beans are about to flower, so were are watching them to compare. We have a lawn covered in clover with barely half a dozen bumblebees interested. 😬

Originally Posted by: Roger Parsons 


I was out around the lake over the weekend and noticed the lack of bees and so on. The insects of note this year are the dragonflies and damselflies. The garden much the same with few insects.
Vale of the Great Dairies
South Dorset
Elevation 60m 197ft
StoneCroze
06 July 2024 06:34:07
We had loads of pollinators around early in the year, but as elsewhere this windy spell has diminished their numbers just as the beans are coming into flower.
Alderney, Channel Islands. (previously known as Beaufort)
Sasa
  • Sasa
  • Advanced Member
06 July 2024 06:53:13

We had loads of pollinators around early in the year, but as elsewhere this windy spell has diminished their numbers just as the beans are coming into flower.

Originally Posted by: StoneCroze 


Weather was very dry. I expect after this period of wetter weather when the skies clear the pollinators will be back in large numbers as the pollen starts to flow again.

Unfortunatelly so will the slugs.
Kingston Upon Thames
Roger Parsons
06 July 2024 07:35:22
Nectar production is closely associated with soil moisture and temperature. Clover, for example, needs both water and warmth to produce it. We have had a very dry spell, often cool, so it is fair to assume the "nectar flow" has slowed for many species of plant. Many invertebrates can aestivate in dry weather, becoming active again when conditions change. Have a read of this useful webpage:
https://www.beelistener.co.uk/beekeeping-in-scotland/how-to-recognise-a-nectar-flow/ 

RogerP
West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire
Everything taken together, here in Lincolnshire are more good things than man could have had the conscience to ask.
William Cobbett, in his Rural Rides - c.1830
Roger Parsons
06 July 2024 07:38:30

I was out around the lake over the weekend and noticed the lack of bees and so on. The insects of note this year are the dragonflies and damselflies. The garden much the same with few insects.

Originally Posted by: NMA 


In the garden in our wild area yesterday, one Blue Damselfly male, one small bumblebee, a day-flying micromoth and a Small White butterfly. Many of my correspondents report a similar shortage of insects. No honeybees.
RogerP
West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire
Everything taken together, here in Lincolnshire are more good things than man could have had the conscience to ask.
William Cobbett, in his Rural Rides - c.1830
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