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Shan

Boasting Slightly













dpack

nice, a well tended glasshouse is a pleasure to see
Shan

Thank you. Very Happy
gz

well done...a lovely sight
jema

Very impressive
Mistress Rose

Excellent. My peppers are way behind that, but at least they are growing with a hope I might get a crop. With luck I will get a courgette or two over the next few weeks.
gregotyn

Now there is a green house! lovely job, Shan.

I want to go and see the green house of the man who is doing the excavations for me. He is totally organic-he says-and uses biochar which he burns himself. He has shown me a picture of his broad beans which are about 8 feet high in there. I will confirm, if they let me go in to see them. He tells me that the roof is 12 feet to the apex!
Anyway he tells me using biochar a good way of being slug free, as a side benefit, and he uses it inside and out of the green house, and this stuff is also something of a fertilizer in its own right.
sgt.colon

Lovely looking greenhouse and plants, Shan. Smile

I have one pepper plant left and it's 3 inches tall. Laughing
dpack

3" taller than my non courgettes then Laughing
Shan

I willbtake photos of my squashes tomorrow but they are not nearly as impressive as my greenhouse.
Mistress Rose

My peppers are about 6" high, but I cheated and bought them. One has a flower on. I have a couple that came up from seed, but haven't planted out yet. I ought to do that.

I use some biochar that is the fines from our own kiln. It will absorb organic material and water and let it out slowly, so it will help the growth although it acts more like a sponge than actually being a fertiliser.
Shan

It sounds like biochar could be quite useful for soil in hot countries.
Mistress Rose

It can be useful in the UK too. It needs to have some fertiliser in it first, such as Dpacks horrible brew, run off from a wormery, or liquid with well rotted animal manure in it. It will then release this slowly while taking in water when there is plenty in the ground and releasing it slowly when it is dry. This is to do with the pores in the structure; I have used it to clean plating baths, where it is used to remove organic impurities, so this is the proven science. Some people will claim a lot more for it, but I don't think any more has been proven.

I found a flower on one of my peppers btw. Not a patch on your plants Shan, but getting there.
Shan

Thanks Mistress Rose. I will have to look at sourcing some in Portugal. The wind strips the moisture from the soil pretty quickly and it could do with something to help.
gregotyn

The man who is helping me with my excavations even eats biochar. He begs all the small branches he can from my tree exploits and we had a big burn-up a week or so ago. It is a definite for hot climates for the reasons you have given, but to be able to regulate water in the soil must be it's most useful point. My friend does the burn up in a 45 gallon drum as well as a large ex oil tank. I will be asking him to show me how the drum system works, I get clean 45 gal drums ad lib! The process is simple Shan, you could manage it yourself with out buying in, assuming you will have fruit trees in UK/Portugal and will be pruning them annually, and it is those branches and bigger twigs are all he uses, 2 inches diameter and less. It came out as having a lot of ash but this is also useful in the garden 'they' tell me. He uses biochar as a pathway to his greenhouse and round the edges reducing the slugs to nil he says. I think this is because he has pathways all round the edge of outside and inside, as well as up the middle. I am asking for a viewing and will report back when I 'know' first hand how it works!

I am hoping to get a lot more done this weekend on the waste pipe situation-one way or another aim is to unblock across the road even to the point of breaking open a pipe or so to get in and do some rodding!
Shan

I'm looking forward to hearing more about his biochar system (hopefully with some photos too).

Good luck with the rodding.... we have our fair share of it in Portugal because the damn pipes don't have much of a fall and the pipes are realistically too small in diameter.... grrrrrrrr Mad Builder & plumber should be shot.
dpack

re drains:

if basic stuff like rods, dye and eyeball cannot sort out what the problem is spending a couple of hundred quid on a camera survey can establish if the original can be fixed or if it can't.

camera lads usually also have serious pressure kit . moles etc and experience.

time and money spent on intel is almost never wasted especially with pipes Wink
replace or mend is best decided before you get the digger out Wink Wink

if the apparent problem is under a roadway there is a high chance it is a crushed pipe. knowing where to dig might help but if one bit goes the rest might well follow

it might be a lump/s of something ( see rods jets etc ) roots or any of the other things that end up in drains
2 toy cars and a couple of sacks of coal was one i dealt with when we eventually found where it had settled

best advice is find your local " dirty Dean " phone em up and get a pro survey of the issues.
it usually works out cheaper and faster to start with a pro in the team

drains are a nightmare until you have enough intel for a sensible plan
Mistress Rose

We just get the small stuff that is useful for biochar as a by-product. We haven't really got an outlet for it as our attempts at sale haven't been very successful, but I do know that Wimbledon has a lot of it under their courts as someone from Dorset that we know sold them a few tons a while back.

It seems to be the in thing at the moment as far as toothpaste, soap etc goes. I am wondering about trying a little soap; just buying a small amount of the ''cast your own' stuff for home use. Judging by the colour son in particular ends up after working with the kiln (he still seems to attract dirt even though he is nearly 40), I am not sure if it is a good idea or not. Very Happy
sgt.colon

My final pepper plant has now tipped off its mortal coil. Sad
Shan

re drains:

if basic stuff like rods, dye and eyeball cannot sort out what the problem is spending a couple of hundred quid on a camera survey can establish if the original can be fixed or if it can't.

camera lads usually also have serious pressure kit . moles etc and experience.

time and money spent on intel is almost never wasted especially with pipes Wink
replace or mend is best decided before you get the digger out Wink Wink

if the apparent problem is under a roadway there is a high chance it is a crushed pipe. knowing where to dig might help but if one bit goes the rest might well follow

it might be a lump/s of something ( see rods jets etc ) roots or any of the other things that end up in drains
2 toy cars and a couple of sacks of coal was one i dealt with when we eventually found where it had settled

best advice is find your local " dirty Dean " phone em up and get a pro survey of the issues.
it usually works out cheaper and faster to start with a pro in the team

drains are a nightmare until you have enough intel for a sensible plan


Thanks but we know what the problem is and unfortunately, it would take a lot of demolition work to fix it. We have managed to finally sort out the 'fat-berg' left to us by the previous owner but the pipe diameter is still a problem. The loos have these super economic water saving slushes, which unfortunately, don't help the problems.... so that will be top of the list in terms of changes. Whilst, I appreciate the need to save water, there also needs to be enough water going through the pipes to prevent blockages...... especially as I am not good with smells!
Shan

My final pepper plant has now tipped off its mortal coil. Sad


Oh dear! better luck next year... or maybe cheat and get a grafted pepper plant or two?
Mistress Rose

I am afraid I had to buy a couple, but they seem to be doing all right. I still have 2 surviving of the ones I sowed, but they were so far behind I added a couple more. I seem to have some courgettes and squashes set on the greenhouse plants, but whether they will come to anything I don't know yet. Shan

It has been a funny old year. sgt.colon

It has for certain things, others are romping. I think I'm just about to get a glut of peas. Om nom nom. Shan

Yummmmmmmy! Pea, chorizo & mint risotto is a very worthy use! Make sure you chuck in the peas right at the end and stir through the mint on serving. Oddly enough, dried mint works better than fresh in this dish. sgt.colon

That sounds lush, Shan and now I'm really hungry. Razz Shan

I'm always hungry. Laughing sgt.colon

Laughing Laughing gregotyn

Basically, Shan, biochar is the small twigs up to a max of 2"diameter and after the burn you land up with small charcoal and ash. I will have a go at getting some photos taken and see if someone can post them, when we have another 'go' reducing the trees by the house. Failing that I will see if he can take photos and print them off and send them to you and you can post if possible.
I am hopeless at this modern technology. I spent 6 months on one of the lesson guides which was only supposed to take 4 weeks! I suppose the fact that I am not taken up with this new stuff means I don't walk into people or obstacles on the pavement!
Shan

Phones should have 1 big button for answering and hanging up calls and numbers for dialling. Everything else is unnecessary! Laughing People laugh at me because I use a paper calendar instead of my phone!

Thanks Gregotyn. I was hoping for photos of your friend's set up in terms of planting.
Mistress Rose

In his case the ash will help as well as it contains potash. Ours comes out as pure charcoal, which has the properties I have mentioned. If you are using wood ash as a source of potash, keep it dry and only apply when you want to use it as it is very soluble in water and will leach out very quickly. gregotyn

I will do my best to get pictures and see if he can post them here for you to view. If not I will try to get them printed off and send them on. gregotyn

It appears that the man with the big green house is as competent as me regarding photographs and getting them near a computer, I am going to see if his step-daughter can do it for us to see. Shan

You're a star but pease don't put yourself out. Wink dpack

my only boast is that auberge is rather bigger than it was , has a name, has a flower and needs a stick Laughing

a less than perfect place, indoors on a rather restricted window sill but the happiest one i have ever had, most of mine have lasted minutes from seed or plant
Mistress Rose

I have only grown one aubergine, and it was called Aubrey by the person that gave it to me. It didn't fruit. My courgette and squash in the greenhouse are doing quite well, but the courgettes refuse to get quite big enough to pick. I have some for now, so will wait until they are. sgt.colon

What have you called yours DPack? dpack

auberge, it seemed gender neutral so as not to offend our hermaphrodite with spikes.

i didnt know they have spikes as i have always killed them before that stage

huge leaves was a bit of a surprise as well.

my cucumber plant is a bit reluctant Rolling Eyes
gregotyn

Of course things are reluctant to fruit, MR, they know their fate! Mistress Rose

You could be right Gregotyn. I have had the first of the mangetout peas, and think there are some more pretty well ready. One of the runner beans has a flower bud, but that is as far as they have got so far. gregotyn

I stopped growing runner beans-I no longer had the patience to wait till they are ready. Plan is to retire and start feeding myself again with veg.-I'll need to buy a freezer. It would save a daily trip out to the local town. Shopping is easy now, it is on my way home from work. Mistress Rose

That is one of the advantages or being at work and being near shops every day. If you only came off your hill once week, you would have to write a shopping list as you ran out of things, then remember to take the list with you each week. I sometimes forget, then have to hope the local shop has what I want, which they don't always.

Had the first courgette last night. Not very big, but thought it might encourage its siblings to grow on a bit as there are plenty there.
Shan

I think they're nicer small and of course they do seem far more productive when picked smaller. gregotyn

My sentiments exactly, Shan! Mistress Rose

Yes, it does bring on more. The one in the greenhouse is producing quite well. The ones outside are growing but will only produce if we have good weather for long enough. I did really well for both squash and courgettes last year, but I was rather late putting them in this year, and our growing season outdoors isn't too long. We are in the south, but being up a hill seems to make a big difference. Mistress Rose

Got another couple of courgettes from the greenhouse yesterday, and looks as if they will keep coming now. One male flower on the outside ones so far, and a couple of tiny squashes in the greenhouse so far. There is one small pepper as well, so I will leave it to grow a bit. Shan

My peppers are doing well.

The Aubergine plants are enormous but I think they are suffering from a bit of overwatering (I need to get the auto watering on separate lines because the peppers are getting too little & the tomatoes & aubergines are getting too much) as I noticed that one of the fruits had rotted. Now that I'm back, I can manually take over the watering.

I thought it might help to also thin out the Aubergine plants a bit to help increase ventilation?
dpack

three very bushy and vigorous tomato plants took a hank of sash cord,many sticks , trellis and mesh to tie them up into position

one tomato is two stemmed and 6 ft tall , it has assorted supports holding it to wire mesh on the wall

the carrots in a window sill trough upstairs are doing well, at a guess the first thinnings at little finger size are a couple of weeks away.
for small/salad carrots the upstairs trough thing does save a lot of bother with pests and diseases and so long as you use a pick small type 6 " of good loose stone free potting compost seems to suit them.
in the ground or even a container near ground level i uses to have a variety of vermin most places i have grown carrots
if everything is perfect carrots are easy but perfect is tricky unless it is created and a carrot bed is a nightmare of pests, diseases and soil conditioning.
unless you go down the agribusiness methods route, tub up is a decent chance of organic carrots from soil to pan in seconds.
pick em in the sun if poss Wink
im not that keen on most carrot based foods but super fresh little ones are ace.
dpack

i am no aubergine expert but i have read ventilation matters but it is hard to drown them or make em too damp.

sunny, airy and steamy was the impression i got from reading about em

auberge has a stick and it's own sunny ish window sill indoors, nice plant i'm not eating my curry before it is hatched though Laughing
tahir

My peppers are doing well.

The Aubergine plants are enormous but I think they are suffering from a bit of overwatering (I need to get the auto watering on separate lines because the peppers are getting too little & the tomatoes & aubergines are getting too much) as I noticed that one of the fruits had rotted. Now that I'm back, I can manually take over the watering.

I thought it might help to also thin out the Aubergine plants a bit to help increase ventilation?

Take off some of the leaves to increase airflow
Shan

Thanks. I removed about a third this morning. Mistress Rose

I don't seem to have a lot of luck with carrots. Have had to reseed the bed and a few of the new ones just starting. It is raining this morning, so that will help them.

I had to thin the chard the other day, as for once it is very enthusiastic. It is in a new raised bed with lots of compost and a good depth of soil, so rather better than the previous beds. The onions are doing well in similar conditions including a lot of rotted sawdust and again, the rain will do a lot of good.
Shan

Well, I have a new problem. A Starling keeps getting into the greenhouse via the auto-opening windows and demolishing my tomatoes. I'm going to have to net over the top of the greenhouse; very annoying. gregotyn

Get Mr Shan outside with the air gun-or is that illegal? Shan

Well, I have just managed to catch it in the greenhouse and rid it of its head. Hopefully, it was only one Starling. dpack

avian infestation is one valid defence but netting the windows might be nice Wink

you are scary, cqb with vermin is no Shocked Laughing

something that might help is that birds pecking at tomatoes are often more interested in water than calories, i have reduced outdoor damage to nowt by always having a full bird bath
dpack

ps i have an arrangement with the mice, they get to use one nice one as an edible hammock and eat that one first.

the scale would be me eating a tomato i could sleep in, they get maybe two a season.

if they break the deal the chilli comes out and they get nowt
chilli does not work with avians
Shan

avian infestation is one valid defence but netting the windows might be nice Wink

you are scary, cqb with vermin is no Shocked Laughing

something that might help is that birds pecking at tomatoes are often more interested in water than calories, i have reduced outdoor damage to nowt by always having a full bird bath
Plenty of water here. I think it might have been a single Starling that had a taste for tomatoes.... not anymore. I shouldn't mention it but the chicken ate the Starling's head.
dpack

why does that seem so normal?

ahh, the dirty 4 dozen ( and various other chooks ) Laughing

meshing the vents with fly screen is good as it is a pretty good small pest barrier as well , however mesh will also exclude pollinators .

15 mm mesh will exclude most birds while allowing airflow and insect transit

if the windows auto open a low tech approach might be as simple as good gaffer tape and a bit of decent textile net on the side they move away from.
ie open out net on inside easy or the other way which can have access ( and perhaps pre hospital trauma life support ) issues

inside or beside outside i feel comfy , over makes me nervous with glass.
Mistress Rose

I would suggest mesh over the vents too if it reoccurs. My bedroom window when I was a child had wire mesh over it as a neighbours cat used to come in, and Mum was terrified of cats generally, and that one would suffocate me while I slept in particular. Strangely, I rather like cats. Very Happy Shan

Well, the netting arrives today. I'm going to monitor the situation & if it was only one rogue Starling, I'm going to avoid netting purely because we do get various bees in the greenhouse. If not, I'll have to set it up. Gaffer tape is not really an option as the greenhouse is quite large, so impossible to reach the apex or even the windows from the outside. Doing it from the inside is a possibility but likely to be quite tricky as the arm of the auto-opener is on the inside. I had thought about attaching tennis balls to the corners of strips of netting and flinging it over the greenhouse and then tying down.... the joys... gregotyn

I wood use a couple of laundry line props to help get the net over the roof, using Mr Shan on one and a friend on the other and you as supervisor! Mistress Rose

Laughing Shan

Good idea Gregotyn! Laughing gregotyn

Thank you Shan, but remember, it is under your supervision. So just 'if' things don't go to plan, don't blame me. Shan

Don't worry, I won't .... besides it sounds very sensible! Wink dpack

one handy tip re netting things.

things have all manner of corners, snags, frictions etc etc.

if you first cover the thing with a sheet of visqueen or a polyprop tarp ( organic versions may be available but it needs to be smooth and slippery and strong enough not be be caught by a clip or whatever ), then you can then stretch and adjust the net, fasten one side and perhaps most of the edges ( if you cut or folded the sheet well ), pull out the sheet from the open side and finalise any fastenings for the net.

if it works for a cammo net over assorted uncooperative flora or a cargo net on a rather twiggy bender frame for growing cucumbers it should work over a glasshouse.

so long as the sheet material is snag resistant it does make life easier for that sort of thing

i must try to talk some body into it for netting cherries etc Laughing
Shan

Good idea... and I will use it next year for netting my cherries. Laughing
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