Sunday morning angle grinding musings

If plastic herons, owls and other decoys keep predators away in the garden then would fake plastic slugs (a bit larger in size than normal ones) deter other slugs do you think? Also there are fake crocodile heads on the market to put in your pond “to keep big birds away” but how would a heron from Lewisham even know what a crocodile was? Above: some of the quality decoys on sale at the moment. We here at weeds currently have a 99p ebay bid on the life-like heron on the large wooden stick (which looks like what would be on the end of a large “rocket” firework). Keep your fingers crossed we get it!

2015 starts here…

The Kenneth Bager Experience – Biological Bread – Music for dreams

A big new years greetings to all from us here at weeds. We start the new year off as we mean to go on, with good tunes! This one’s from The Kenneth Bager Experience from Denmark and starts as a nice chilled out affair then builds into a bit of a catchy balearic one and it certainly don’t disappoint!

So may your gardening exploits be good for the forthcoming year and may we all have fewer frosts and slug damage in our gardens. Big up 2015!

Sweet as a nut

Things have been a bit mad here the last couple of weeks as life has been conspiring against us (and trying to grind me down!) I’ve also got just over the shock of seeing the back of the house in Green rather than the dreary Grey undercoat that’s been on it for nearly 2 years as I finally got off my backside and got the paintbrush out. It’s about the same sort of time that the fence has been in a half-painted state too!

Pete's Sweet Pea Tower

After months of nothing but bare bamboo canes (AKA “Pete’s Sweet Pea Tower!) the Sweet Peas are now giving it large. I think they are from some overwintered “perfumed mix” seeds I got off ebay for less than a couple of quid with P+P. It was looking a bit ropey in the spring so I popped some more seeds in and now it’s gone bonkers. I do like a sweet pea and so do the Bees it seems. The Sweet Williams are now out after a good years wait. I reckon it’s been worth it to see a bit of mad colour now. Here’s what the garden was looking like the other morning. The Plum tree is steaming on (see the specialised root watering device beside it aka an old grey bit of plastic pipe found in a skip) and in the lower left corner of the picture those mad egyptian onions which I got well cheap in the local garden centre.

Early July morning

The slugs have also been giving me gip as I’ve lost a few plants over the last few weeks. I was told by a gardening mate that there was a piece in The Telegraph a few years ago that mentioned making your own nematodes (microscopic eelworms than feed on slugs) (the recipe is here!) I’m all up for the DIY punk ethic and all that, what with the composting, the wormery in a bucket and Comfrey liquid but DIY nematodes, no thanks! The thought of collecting 20 odd slugs and keeping them rotting in a bucket is not my thing. I blame it on the time I stood on a slug once in my barefeet on the way to the loo early in the morning when we lived in a grotty bedsit in Clapham years ago. Have you ever tried getting that slime off? urghhh!

On a brighter note I was passing Victoria Embankment gardens the other morning and watched a council gardener in his cream jeans and bright yellow fred perry with the collars up (do they sound like gardening clothes to you?) doing press-ups while holding a trowel next to the flower bed while his mates were putting in annuals. Brilliant, don’t you just love those council gardeners!

Also I was told by another gardening mate that if you just lightly “wilt” Carrot Tops they are like Spinach. I have never heard that before. I know Joe Maiden from the brill Gardening with Tim and Joe was talking the other week about eating baby Beetroot leaves in a salad after doing some thinning out. They sound better than Carrot tops though! Big up the Summer (when it finally arrives and stays for more than two days).

Let it rot

compost in a 2013 style I opened the compost bin I started just over a year ago this morning and it is looking mighty fine! The kitchen/plant waste has near enough rotted except for a few eggshells and the odd large potato. I’ve made a mental note to cut up the kitchen waste finer and to crush the eggshells even more from now on. If you look closely at the contents you’ll also see a nice blue biro. How the hell did that get in there? How long will that take to rot do you think?

Rereading Jane Perrone’s book this week I could really relate to the section about making compost where she writes “I’ve been known to secrete used tea bags in my pocket to take back for my own ever-hungry compost pile.” Tea bags never get wasted in our house, after a brew they either get chucked on the compost heap or the worms have them.

it's the worm!Talking about worms here’s how the wormery is progressing in the garage. It’s taken a lot longer than I thought (I started it early last summer) but I’ve got a big jar of liquid plant feed out of it and there’s also a good bit of compost underneath the rotting veg, sprouting onions, killer sized slugs and mouldy bread.

Also this week I started off some seeds on the kitchen windowsill, Cabbages (goldenacre) and Foxgloves (pam’s choice) and sometime soon will get those tomatoes seeds out of the packet. That’s good for me as I sowed them just after xmas last year. Patience dear boy!

One for Ron!

Yesterday I visited the friends of Horniman’s plant sale in Forest Hill. I got down there a quarter of an hour after it opened and I reckon I might have missed a few bargains as people were walking out with bagfuls of plants and there were a few bags stuck behind some stalls to pick up for “Ron” (later on).

Saying that, it wasn’t a bad sale, I got 4 Tomato plants (Gardener’s Delight) for £2 and 10 assorted Dahlias for £3, all very healthy looking with a little bit of root growth peeping out of the bottom of the pots. Good value or what? I also got a couple of houseplants, an Aloe vera for a pound and a medium sized Chinese Money plant (Pilea peperomioides) for a fiver.

The only down side was part of the sale was in their big glass conservatory. Not good considering the sun was beating down yesterday. I left after five minutes in there before the tempers got frayed, “What, you want three pounds for THAT?” “Plant sale rage” I can do without!

Also while buying the Tomato plants, someone told us a bonkers tip for deterring slugs. Put coffee grounds and crushed egg shells around your plants but also mix in some oat bran. The slugs go for it with gusto, go back to their lair to expand and explode. Not a very nice ending!