Archive for July, 2009

Organic Slug Control

Slugs When I went out last night to take some pics of the new Almond trees we’ve got I noticed that the wet weather seemed to have woken up a whole cohort of slugs. It was incredible – I collected this pot-load of slugs in about five minutes, just by strolling around the edges of the lawn, and having a look at their usual favourites. To have an up-front and gruesome look at them just click on the pic to get the full-size effect.

If I was being scientific about it I’d claim that this Hosta was planted as a Companion Plant to decoy the slugs from other things we wanted to protect. However the reality is that slugs and snails just love Hostas, and this is the result:
Slugs on the Hosta
I got three slugs off this one plant – you can even see two of them in the pic – the one in the bottom left was over six inches long!

Having collected them all, how was I going to get rid of them? I opted for the tried and tested method of chopping them into little bits with the trowel. It’s a lot more face-to-face than sprinkling them with salt or covering them with boiling water, but for the sake of my Karma, I thought a quick, clean death was best.

Not sure if I’ve made a great dent in the local slug population, but there certainly weren’t any more waiting for me when I strolled around later. I’ll have another look tomorrow and assess the scale of the invasion!

In doing a bit of research on this I found some great links, and now know far too much about this subject. Apparently the tool of choice is a needle on the end of a stick, and a head-torch so that you can go strolling around the garden at night. Apparently if you do this you can end up with hundreds! I think I might just try and encourage more frogs, toads, hedgehogs and beetles – and maybe add some nematodes too.

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Planting Almond Trees

Almond Trees Just took delivery of the first trees for the forest section of our eco-house garden.  These have a dual purpose – they’re also the trees we’re planting for the littlie’s naming day we’re having on the weekend. These are Almond trees – Prunus Dulcis ‘Robijn’. And apparently we can expect them to fruit, even up here in chilly wet Manchester. OK, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, I think we will need to get some sun to get reliable fruit on them. This particular variety don’t flower until May so if they’re in a nice, south-facing sheltered area the flowers should avoid frost and therefore survive to fruit. And just in case I’m wondering what those Almonds would look like – there is one on each tree!

An Almond Another Almond

They’re pretty impressive trees – probably about 180 cm tall already, lots of nicely pruned branches. It’s been quite hard getting tham at this time of year (most of the trees we’ll get will go in bare-rooted in November time) but we found these potted trees at Flora Select and they have been really helpful all the way through the process and delivered them on the day they said they would. Here’s the info they have on these trees:

Prunus dulcis is a small bushy deciduous tree native to Asia and North Africa having pretty pink blossoms and highly prized edible nuts enclosed in a hard green hull.
Fruiting will start two to three years after planting. The flesh of the fruit can be eaten as Almonds are closley related to Peaches and Nectarines.

Plant in well drained fertile soil. Avoid heavy pruning as Almonds flower on second year wood.

  • Eventual Height: 4 mts
  • Eventual Spread: 4 mts
  • Full Sun
  • Deciduous
  • Fragrant
  • Flowering Time: April-May

Now I just have to dig the holes ready for the planting to happen at the Naming Day party on Sunday! That’ll be fun.

Our wartime Victory Garden

OurVictoryGarden

The bottom half of our garden was a victory garden during the war – and we’ve managed to get hold of a picture! It’ll be very interesting to compare the traditional row-and-path planting they’ve got here with the wide bed garden that we’re planning.

Many thanks go to the previous owners for leaving this picture for us!

A beautiful wartime Victory Garden

A Wartime Victory Garden
I saw this picture as a kid and it has stayed with me all this time, inspiring my concept of the beautiful, productive potager. I just found the book again – as we’re getting all our old books out of storage following our recent move, and decided to share it. I’m not sure I can even identify all the vegetables they have in that garden, but it is an amazing layout – although I’m sure it could be a little more productive, and I’m not sure they’ve got their companion planting right 🙂