2021 The Plot Thickens: The Gardening Thread

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  • It's wild how easily and well garlic grows. We have positive hedges of it here--at least small ones! And best of all, the various munchy mammals don't bother it. Or the onions.
    I wonder if planting flowering bulbs and garlic closely together in the pots would solve Cathscats problem of squirrels eating the emerging shoots of the flower bulbs?

    What a good idea! If I find that the squirrels are also troublesome in the new place I might try that next year. Though new place is by the sea, not in the wooded mountains, where I am just now, so there might be fewer of the lovely little pests. (They are pretty and I do like watching their acrobatics on the trees!)
  • We lost a dog that way (onions in scraps--I know better, now :sweat: ). I have tried to do research to find out if humans are different or just, you know, bigger--but have found nothing conclusive. Perhaps a bit of both? I have certainly heard people recommending onions "to clean your blood," and that hints at the anemia that onions cause in other mammals.
  • The narcissi are out on the front border of my drive, with the lone hellebore which survived of the three I planted last year. In the garden there is a blanket of crocus flowers in yellows and purples, and snowdrops on the meadow area (I only bought and planted a small number of these in the autumn to see how it went; I must buy loads next autumn as they look great).
    Some of the rhubarb planted last weekend are already pushing through!
  • Graven ImageGraven Image Shipmate
    edited February 25
    I have a garden dilemma. Our new home has a lemon tree in the front yard. It is rather large and part of the branches hang in my neighbor's yard. Not sure just whose lemon tree it was, I asked her. She said well it is on your property but most of the neighborhood share with the lemons. It is loaded now. I said, "Thanks, I just wanted to know if I am the one who should be pruning, feeding, and watering it." " Oh no," my neighbor said," we have done nothing to it and it gives lemons all year long. " My dilemma is that it has a few yellow leaves on it, and were it up to me my experience with lemon trees is that in spring you take off all the lemons, prune it back, and start feeding it until fall. I would normally do the same to this tree. I have no problem putting the picked lemons out for people to take but my new neighbor seems to be very convinced that I should leave the tree alone. Not wanting to upset the whole neighborhood I am now not sure what to do. I am concerned that if I start messing with it, it might stop producing, even though that does not seem likely. Do any of you have any lemon tree advice? I have always had good luck caring for my other lemon trees.
  • (Sorry @Graven Image , no lemon growing experience from me)

    I finally caved in and started sowing today! Was going to put it off until March , but one day won’t make a difference right?

    Indoor germination Can’t here, our windows face the wrong way. And funds in order to properly propagate With Heat are absent.
    So I have waited until the wide open N E Scotland skies turned blue. And as of this week the greenhouse is a tad warm, so time to start off in there Now!

    Tomatoes and aubergines. Which should be ok. And spring onions, which I have been Unable to grow ever since moving here.

    Over wintering cauliflower and onions are being gradually hardened off + are now large enough to withstand black bird attention

    Happy Days

  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Nowhere for seed trays, so everything will have to go into the ground/pots outdoors. So a couple of months to planting yet.

    Kind downstairs neighbour put up the garden arch for me. I expect the waterproof paint on Monday which will let me start turning large planter into mini pond. And I am eyeing the half dozen chunks of stone currently by the front path and thinking Hmm... rockery.

  • Just pottered on and off all weekend. The shed has now just about reached the point where all I can do is wait for lockdown to ease enough to allow Knotweed-brother-in-law to put sparks in it - though I note that it has expanded a little in the sun and I can now see where I've missed bits with the wood treatment. Good job I've got a bit left...

    Winter onions and shallots have gone in on the allotment, having been kept in roottrainers in the greenhouse - good job too, given how wet the plot was! They all had really stonking roots, and the shape of the rootball from the roottrainer makes them really easy to put in too. I have high hopes of my onions this year. I also had a bit of a pick - it's reaching the point where things will soon bolt, the parsnips are starting to re-sprout already, so I picked swedes, beetroot and parsnips, and took a load of veg over to Mother Knotweed who then distributes them between herself and Brother Knotweed's household.

    I also straightened the blocks holding a water butt up - not a job that really needed to be done, but the lopsidedness was annoying me.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    Our household appear to have a few chilli seedlings...

    Reading up ( in books, online etc) is merely serving to remind me Exactly Why I have never attempted to grow these before!

    Any words of encouragement for this newbie chilli grower?
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    I'm tempted to say "Don't read up on them!". I used to grow cayenne peppers which could go out in a sunny spot and, providing I remembered to sow them early and in the warm, were no trouble at all. Then I inherited some chillis, which have been overwintered on a north-facing windowsill, and didn't sow seeds for several years.

    Last year I sowed a pot of Trinidad Perfume which is supposed to be have a strong Habanero flavour, but little of the heat. Eventually I forgot about it, and when I tidied away the propagator in about August, I found a tiny chilli seedling that could only have sprouted in the last few days! Currently it is flowering on the bedroom windowsill, wildly out of season.

    This year I have some some seedlings, from our own plants, as they have slowly snuffed it over the winters, and I was down to one. Three seeds sprouted, currently growing alongside the maladjusted habanero.

    In all honesty I'm not sure what the fuss is about - yes, they need to be sown early and in the warm, but you can do that in an airing cupboard. Pot them on like anything else, keep them warm (mine go into the greenhouse once the risk of frost is passed). Bring them in in the autumn, make sure they don't dry out (misting regularly helps reduce the risk of red spider mite)... that's about it.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    Hmmmm
    Thank you

    I think!
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Circus Host, 8th Day Host
    We have been allocated our plot in the garden :smiley:. It's a fairly large plot that we're sharing with another lady. I went to meet her at lunchtime today and she's very nice. She even texted me afterwards to say she'd left us some primroses to plant so we could start straight away.

    There is a shed in the middle of the garden with equipment that everyone can use. I've spotted some beans and peas in there so I think we might start off with those. I've also started off some mint and basil in the house for planting out later.
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    Ethne Alba wrote: »
    Hmmmm
    Thank you

    I think!

    I sense we may garden on different levels! I'm just a keen muddler, no expert.
  • Local gardener (very local, I remember him as a child living next door but one, and I taught his health care assistant mother at the hospital) arrived yesterday and deposited his apprentice to clear the overgrown area at the side of our garden where we need to put up a new fence between us and the neighbours. Hopefully husband will order fence soon as I usually plant courgettes and beans on that border.
    Gardener admired the job my husband did with the decking BBQ area at the end of the garden.
    This weekend I want to do some preparing of the veg patch ready for planting in a few weeks.
  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    I have a garden dilemma. Our new home has a lemon tree in the front yard. It is rather large and part of the branches hang in my neighbor's yard. Not sure just whose lemon tree it was, I asked her. She said well it is on your property but most of the neighborhood share with the lemons. It is loaded now. I said, "Thanks, I just wanted to know if I am the one who should be pruning, feeding, and watering it." " Oh no," my neighbor said," we have done nothing to it and it gives lemons all year long. " My dilemma is that it has a few yellow leaves on it, and were it up to me my experience with lemon trees is that in spring you take off all the lemons, prune it back, and start feeding it until fall. I would normally do the same to this tree. I have no problem putting the picked lemons out for people to take but my new neighbor seems to be very convinced that I should leave the tree alone. Not wanting to upset the whole neighborhood I am now not sure what to do. I am concerned that if I start messing with it, it might stop producing, even though that does not seem likely. Do any of you have any lemon tree advice? I have always had good luck caring for my other lemon trees.

    Prune it as much as you see fit. You could of course leave the branches intact which hang over your neighbour’s fence and she can pick what she can reach.

    Lemon trees in Sydney used to be called housemaid’s delight. Back in pre-sewerage days when every backyard had an outhouse there was a lemon tree planted up against the back fence. People tossed the contents of their chamber pots onto the ground around the tree and the lemon trees loved it.

    It is understood that any lemons hanging over the back fence into the lane are there for the picking. I’d wonder about Mrs Next Door’s assertion that the whole neighbourhood helps itself to the fruit off your tree...

  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    @Sandemaniac Hah! Another muddler here! I m taking from your words that I just Give Them A Go? That ‘s what I m going to do. After all . What can go wrong ?except they die of course and that is hardly a disaster

    I ve been gifted the wretched things from a sister whose Orangery is providing her a Very enviable head start

    I was just expressing something midway between terror and horror.

    I ll let you know if any make it and seriously- thank you!
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    Yep, just give them a go, that's what I did! Good luck, you shouldn't need it.
  • Sojourner wrote: »
    [


    It is understood that any lemons hanging over the back fence into the lane are there for the picking. I’d wonder about Mrs Next Door’s assertion that the whole neighbourhood helps itself to the fruit off your tree...

    There is no fence, the tree is in the front yard and it seems 1/2 of the branches are on the neighbor"s side. I have decided to pick most of the lemons, put some in a box by the tree and post on community board free lemons for whoever wants some. I will juice the rest and freeze them. I am going to trim it, feed it, and water it well until fall. Mr Image of course said most likely it will die, from the shock of the attention. LOL
  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    Sounds reasonable
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    FrolickingFrogs in the pond!

    With the demise of our fish over winter maybe we can be hopeful about these rapidly increasing clumps of frogspawn?
  • Yay! We normally only notice that the frogs are on the move when they start turning up laminated onto the roads... no sign yet this year.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    Turned half the compost bin and was squeaked at.

    Will leave the other half for another day, think it s a mousehouse
  • We started digging out a compost bin, and two robins not only started ro
  • Sorry, started rooting around, but actually went inside. We felt mean when we left, and closed the door. One of them was quite big, which I think means a continental variety.
  • MarthaMartha Shipmate
    I emptied out my compost heap recently and was quite surprised to find actual usable compost at the bottom of it! Most of it looked like a heap of dry bits, which I know isn't what they're supposed to be.

    Today I planted courgettes and butternut squash inside, and peas, perpetual spinach and spring onions outside.
  • We have had our first frog - obviously had a run-in with something with teeth as it had three legs - but seemed fine otherwise.

    We may also have a taker for lots of my concrete I want shot of... fingers crossed, they are even willing to come and remove some themselves as they are on furlough!
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    @Sandemaniac a proper result that!

    Here the frogs are still frolicking and the frogspawn clump is growing. The pond has shattered frogs propping themselves up staring at passing birds and humans!
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Circus Host, 8th Day Host
    I have started a load of things off in the house but don't have anything much outside yet. My tomatoes are all up except one, and I am especially chuffed with my red kuri squash, which have all come up. The seeds came out of a squash that I bought on the market, and as I was cutting it up to cook it, I looked at them and thought "I wonder if they would grow".

    My peas are being a bit disappointing, though. Out of the eighteen I planted, only five are doing anything so far.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    edited March 28
    Welsh Onions.
    (Which are not Welsh at all, but....)

    I almost bought some seeds last year. Then forgot. Now 250 seeds have arrived via a gardening magazine!

    Does anyone have these perennial herbs growing?
    And if so, do you use the leaf only, like a chive? Or use the bulb, like an onion?
  • JLBJLB Shipmate Posts: 20
    I find that the bulb bits of my Welsh onions are a bit woody, so I only use the green bits. They self seed enthusiastically, so I pot them up, and distribute via various routes.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Any ideas for what to plant in the lee of dominant trees/shrubs? I have an area just over the fence from my neighbour’s leylandii which seems to support nothing but chickweed. And another next a Pyrocantha which is similarly dry, impoverished and shaded.
  • When we moved into our house there was a large evergreen shrub next to the garden gate, about 8 ft tall, which I felt was Too Tall. I hacked it down over the next couple of years, which ruined its appearance, and then I removed it altogether. For some reason the evergreen also attracted wasps - we had a wasp bike in it most years.

    Since then I have planted a succession of shrubs, all of which have died. The latest is a hebe which flowered beautifully last year, but seems to have died over winter. The one before that was a different hebe, which also lasted for only two years, and before that I tried fuschias. There is an azalea in the same bed which has flourished for the last decade.

    What am I doing wrong? Has the large evergreen somehow stripped that patch of ground of nutrients?
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    edited April 10
    @JLB thank you very much indeed! I shall go and likewise.

    Have nothing to add to any conversation about shrubs. Two of our mature hebes have just died. I thought they were bombproof?
  • When we moved into our house there was a large evergreen shrub next to the garden gate, about 8 ft tall, which I felt was Too Tall. I hacked it down over the next couple of years, which ruined its appearance, and then I removed it altogether. For some reason the evergreen also attracted wasps - we had a wasp bike in it most years.

    Since then I have planted a succession of shrubs, all of which have died. The latest is a hebe which flowered beautifully last year, but seems to have died over winter. The one before that was a different hebe, which also lasted for only two years, and before that I tried fuschias. There is an azalea in the same bed which has flourished for the last decade.

    What am I doing wrong? Has the large evergreen somehow stripped that patch of ground of nutrients?

    If you've got a botanical garden or gardener's service, they'd be the best people to ask. In the absence of those, you might consider allelopathy (if you know what kind of evergreen it was) and also certain long-lived pests (we had a kind of fungus-y mite-y thing that infected a pine tree and lingers yet, 15 years later, attacking a lilac, roses, and cherry tree, though not irises, other bulbs, or herbaceous perennials. Also bear in mind that the roots of that evergreen are doubtless decomposing underground, and may be upsetting the soil balance. If your azalea is happy, you've probably got acid soil there. You might try other stuff that likes acid, and see what you get.

    On allelopathy, see https://www.thespruce.com/what-is-allelopathy-1402504 for an intro.

    In any case, it might just mean choosing a totally different kind of plant to grow there, to see if it does better. That is, not a shrub or evergreen. If you want something taller, try some tall annuals, a vine on a trellis, or something that grows from bulbs or underground crowns, like peonies. Or go for a tall grass of some sort (I'm NOT suggesting bamboo, because I like you). If they do well, that gives you more data about the situation.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Planted a go of dry root perennials this morning. They'd made a delayed (thank you Brexi!) journey from the Netherlands, and didn't look too well on it. One bag seemed to have some mould. Another just seemed to be dust and a few thin tangles of dried fibres. A third was a sprouting mat.

    I'm not wildly confident; though it is sunny, the ground is cold (my fingers were numb even through gloves). I've sloshed some seaweed-laced water over their graves, one can but hope.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    edited April 14
    Window sills crammed. Surfaces of furniture pushed near windows all full. Old plastic storage boxes used as ad hoc cold frames are piled high. Old fridge turned into cold frame Full! In the cold frame proper and the greenhouse I am now loosing track of seedlings, such is the chaos in there.

    Starting germinating in March was a very bad idea. But having rescued the lost sweet peas, they at least are romping away
  • Well, I have nearly got rid of the prime piece of concrete, and three quarters of a tonne of topsoil need to be barrowed in to replace it. Oh, and shift the bagged rubble... I've shifted an astonishing amount of it for free, I just hope I haven't glutted the post-lockdown project market and have to get a skip in!
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    I'm working round my garden, bit by bit, having not been able to work it for about three years. There's a lot of ground cover from geranium rotundifolia, which I never saw in the past, but which is very easy to get rid of, being shallow rooted. The compost bins are full.
    One problem is that when I have cleared the soil, it becomes attractive to the two cats now moved in next door, so I've had to cover with plastic trellis and other bits and pieces. I'm also going to soak it with Jeyes fluid before getting anything in - it's supposed to be for growing veg in those beds. And sprinkle liberally with pepper and a proprietary capsicum based stuff. I've got a squawker which is supposed to shriek at any intruder it senses, but they did their doings right in front of it.
    Yesterday I cleared a space under a rambling rose which I had not planted before, and am wondering about wild garlic. Though I might put that in a large pot. I have a number of those, but can't remember what I was using them for, apart from the one with angelica. Now died back, without ever having seeded the garden.
    There is stuff I'm going to have to use glyphosate on - vinca and ground elder which arrived from next door, and the Virginia creeper which has been creeping underground under the rose. As soon as it pops up from where I cut it back yesterday, it'll get squirted.
  • Yes, I've gone right off cats since we got a garden!

    I believe that wild garlic spreads like hell, but that may not be an issue if you are after ground cover, and it's quite short so you can grow taller stuff through it.
    We have a similar Geranium, TBH at the moment I am just leaving at as I want some ground cover and something for the insects until I've got stuff ready to go in. In the long term a bit of it is fine, as I want a cottage garden-type garden with apparently unplanned masses of colour.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I'm swithering about geranium. At one time there were great rampaging tracts of it, smothering all in its path. A few small clumps survived The Great Clearance. I'm tolerating them for the moment, but wondering whether to turn them loose on a couple of problem area where, at the moment, is only chickweed.

    The other factor is my neighbour's 'summerhouse' which is creating a 10ft high wall along about 50% of our common boundary (there's already a 7ft fence on the remainder). Fortunately they are to the north west so they don't block the light significantly. In fact, they are probably shading their own garden more - but since they grow no plants, that won't matter.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    The only thing I found that stopped cats ..... (although in our situation it was Other cats terrorising Our cat that was the problem) ......was water pistols.

  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    I noticed that Martha mentioned everlasting spinach upthread. Can anyone tell me if this tastes anything like ordinary spinach please?
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    It turns out is was not my new neighbours' cats. Yesterday another appeared under the bird feeding station. My guest objected to my seeing it off. I'm going to fix some plastic trellis to the top of the gate where it got in and out, and the adjacent bit of fence.
    The village rules do not allow us to have fence higher than than 6 ft, though some people have insisted on having the communal hedge against their garden at about 8 ft, but they are the only people affected by this - for privacy - it will shade their gardens badly.
    One of my colleagues found themselves overlooked by a sort of not a treehouse erected in a neighbours' garden, which waas particularly difficult as they were a pupil's family, and not a friendly one.
    I have realised, looking from the eyrie of my townhouse bedroom, that I am the only one with worked bare earth - plastic lawn, flagstones, closely planted beds reign supreme. The cat must have been delighted when it spotted my work.
    Yesterday I popped out to Waitrose for some compost and found they had just had in a lot of veggie seedlings, so I have stocked up on a variety of things - won't put the roots in where I have used the Jeyes. I met a chorus of disapproval elsewhere for using the stuff on soil (which used to be acceptable practice), even though the worst ingredients have been dropped.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Maybe y'all can help. Google couldn't. I was petting the doggo and there was something tiny and green jumping on her back. I figure it's from out in the garden as most pet parasites aren't day-glow green. It was about the length of a long grain of rice, but as thin as a needle. I grabbed it and it basically disappeared into the skin of my fingers. Any thoughts?
  • Don't know where in the world you are, but if in N America, could it be a spring cankerworm?
  • Or, if in the UK, tortrix moth caterpillar?
  • Okay, now I'm creeped out! Did you get it OUT again?
  • MarthaMartha Shipmate
    Huia wrote: »
    I noticed that Martha mentioned everlasting spinach upthread. Can anyone tell me if this tastes anything like ordinary spinach please?

    I believe it's a kind of chard, if you've ever eaten that. I've just nibbled a leaf, and it's a very mild flavour. I usually chop it and throw a handful into curry, stew etc, at which point it tastes like any green leafy thing.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Actually went to a garden centre! Got the things I'd intended (compost, hanging basket, grass seed, bird food) but then got a bit unfocused not to say unhinged in the plant section. Least thought-through purchase was probably the rambling rose. The only viable site is the brick wall behind the patio which gets sun but has no soil. So nipped out yesterday to big (but cheap) hardware store, got a large square plastic garden bucket, drilled holes in the bottom and filled it with leafmold topped with compost. Hopefully that will give it enough of a micro-environment.
  • I saw a housefly yesterday. First insect of 2021. It won't last, although it's to be 15°C today, tomorrow it is forecast to snow again. It also snowed 3 days ago. In between I did rake up some of last year's leaves and snow mould.

    So far, we're just dreaming of gardening. The ground is still frozen below about 6".
  • Firenze wrote: »
    Actually went to a garden centre! Got the things I'd intended (compost, hanging basket, grass seed, bird food) but then got a bit unfocused not to say unhinged in the plant section. Least thought-through purchase was probably the rambling rose. The only viable site is the brick wall behind the patio which gets sun but has no soil. So nipped out yesterday to big (but cheap) hardware store, got a large square plastic garden bucket, drilled holes in the bottom and filled it with leafmold topped with compost. Hopefully that will give it enough of a micro-environment.
    I like a good bit of garden centre frenzy. Which rambler did you buy? I had a lovely Felicite Perpetue in front of the house before we had the drive done but it had to go. I want to site one in the back garden but Mr H is not keen.
    I have a gorgeous rose La Reine Victoria in the garden which thinks it is a rambler though.
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