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Old 05-04-2015, 01:59 AM   #1
NaokoSmith
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The Garden Shed

I know that many on here secretly harbour a vegetable love, as Marvell puts it. They may be proud Dirty Old Men and Trollops and Perverts, but if you get them in a quiet corner, they whisper of earth and growing things .



I have just bought a flat with a peculiarly large and un-developed garden and I am keen to have people tell me what to do in it <snerk>. Unfortunately the potential offered by Throbbs’s delicious illustration here isn’t practical (NB those garden implements are real), as the garden has a very low wall and a constant stream of dog walkers coming past to go to the park. Please give me lots of advice, some of which I will ignore and then you can say: “I told you so”.

AllardChardon has already explained that my having dug out sods and just lazily turned them over to make a vegetable patch will mean I am picking grass roots out for the foreseeable future, but I’ve done that now so too late. Piglet and I have only just put the potatoes in, and you can all tell me how that’s too late, which I know but I did have to dig the ground out in order to put the potatoes in at all. As I tell my students, if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly. We will get something and we are not really depending on the potatoes to get through the winter, only pretending in a Marie Antoinette-ish way.

One year when Piglet was very small, I had to plant the potatoes in June in gro-bags! We of course didn’t get nice roasting potatoes, just some little new potatoes. However Piglet was incredibly excited, crying: “Look Mum! We put one potato in and it turned into lots!” It was like an amazing piece of magic to her, which it is really.

HP has also told me I must paint the shed with something and I promise to do that too - as soon as it stops raining (means never here in Wales!).





I have decided not to mow the end of the lawn til these unexpected flowers which started blooming in it are over. I had to rake this other bit of lawn before mowing it, and it took a very long time! as it was choked with dead leaves and grass and moss. I did get to pretend I was Demelza from early episodes of Poldark while doing it, and then go in and have a cup of tea and piece of cake and pretend I was Elizabeth. I think I may have got the wrong kind of rake – thereby hangs a tale, my dears.

Feel free to post your own pictures of gardens, unusually shaped vegetables, questions and answers in here!
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Old 05-04-2015, 02:43 AM   #2
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Old 05-04-2015, 03:05 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by JAMESBJOHNSON View Post
I am the Garden God.

Behold: https://www.facebook.com/jasbjohnson

Contact me if needs be.
That's great! I have been wondering about this elephant garlic I've been growing for years, I have no idea when to harvest it. I'll take a picture and post it.
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Old 05-04-2015, 04:33 AM   #4
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That's great! I have been wondering about this elephant garlic I've been growing for years, I have no idea when to harvest it. I'll take a picture and post it.
Borrow an Elephant from the Zoo and get it to advise you ?
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Old 05-04-2015, 04:50 AM   #5
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Borrow an Elephant from the Zoo and get it to advise you ?
LOL there is no zoo nearer than Bristol. I will rely on Jimbo instead of Jumbo. Pictures of the garlic soon! (I believe it's a variety of leek, not really a garlic although it produces a bulb like garlic except bigger - hence elephant.)
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Old 05-04-2015, 04:54 AM   #6
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LOL there is no zoo nearer than Bristol. I will rely on Jimbo instead of Jumbo. Pictures of the garlic soon! (I believe it's a variety of leek, not really a garlic although it produces a bulb like garlic except bigger - hence elephant.)
Jumbo has more in the imagination, though. . .
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Old 05-04-2015, 05:00 AM   #7
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Jumbo has more in the imagination, though. . .
Maybe you could write the imaginative story in which Jumbo gives advice about garlic? LOL. I want practical advice on this thing I planted about three years ago, which is still growing feebly in a pot. (Probably ought to put it in the ground now that I have my own vegetable patch.)
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Old 05-04-2015, 05:03 AM   #8
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I'm not available to play with Handley. If you want my advice no bull shit from you.
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Old 05-04-2015, 05:08 AM   #9
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I'm not available to play with Handley. If you want my advice no bull shit from you.
The only shit I want is horse manure for the roses.

I will post a pic in a bit, I seriously want advice about this elephant garlic, and other plants.
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Old 05-04-2015, 05:23 AM   #10
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Your 'elephant garlic' may well be elephant garlic. It's a member of the leek family and generally takes a year or two to divide into individual bulbs. Try the broken up bulbs roasted with chicken pieces and a sprig or two of rosemary. Just a suggestion.
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Old 05-04-2015, 05:28 AM   #11
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The only shit I want is horse manure for the roses.

I will post a pic in a bit, I seriously want advice about this elephant garlic, and other plants.
The best advice is in the series of books Lawn Expert; Rose Expert etc. You should be able to find them in charity shops.

They start with the basics.

Lawn - if you haven't already got a lawnmower, buy a SMALL rotary one. The smaller ones take longer to do a given area of grass but are much easier to manuoevre. The grass box doesn't get impossibly heavy. Most garden centres treat lawnmowers like crotch rockets - the bigger and noiser the better.
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Old 05-04-2015, 05:28 AM   #12
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Your 'elephant garlic' may well be elephant garlic. It's a member of the leek family and generally takes a year or two to divide into individual bulbs. Try the broken up bulbs roasted with chicken pieces and a sprig or two of rosemary. Just a suggestion.
I sure will! if I can get advice on when to harvest it from JBJ. I am worried the poor thing has not been able to divide up into more bulbs because it's restricted in a small pot where I shoved it before I had a decent garden. I must go and take photos. I am just doing a laundry load, some reviews and cooking brunch for myself, then I must pop out, weed the pot (it's co-habiting with something which seeded itself in the same pot) and take the picture.
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Old 05-04-2015, 06:43 AM   #13
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I sure will! if I can get advice on when to harvest it from JBJ. I am worried the poor thing has not been able to divide up into more bulbs because it's restricted in a small pot where I shoved it before I had a decent garden. I must go and take photos. I am just doing a laundry load, some reviews and cooking brunch for myself, then I must pop out, weed the pot (it's co-habiting with something which seeded itself in the same pot) and take the picture.
Sam is correct. Elephant Garlic is a leek. I find that onions/leeks are sensitive to space and drainage. That is, they do best in raised, spacious beds. Most container plants do best in spacious (wide) containers. I raise onions/leeks in 2'x2'x1' elevated boxes filled with compost.

Gardening books are notoriously bad because they generalize gardening advice, and plants are where they are within a particular environment. What I cant grow where I live thrives 25 miles away where the Bay moderates cold temps. So the rules aren't the same tho both places are within the same planting zone.

Not long ago I audited an expert gardening lecture at our local gardening center. The presenter is a perfesser employed by a large seed corporation. She told us we have 3 planting seasons in this area, I know we have 4. I've gardened here all my life.
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Old 05-04-2015, 08:14 AM   #14
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Naoko, Elephant garlic is part of the onion genus and can be planted in spring or autumn.


Genius? No, but there is a great Wikipedia article.

I would guess HP meant put a wood sealer on the shed. Paint is not too good, unless you want to watch it flake off in cold winters and hot summers.


Use Google! I've found there are care articles on almost every type of vegetable or flower or plant.

Looking at your lawn photos, you have a moss problem. Piglet would be grey-haired waiting for you to rake it out. Suck your teeth and get a guy with a scarifier and a bag of fertilizer to rejuvenate the whole patch. Yeah, it costs a bit but you have better things to do-and it is a one-off.

Start a herb garden in pots outside the door so,when cooking, you can always snip a bit of fresh rosemary or basil.

PS the moss treatment should be in Spring, after the snow/frosts.


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Old 05-04-2015, 08:41 AM   #15
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Lawn - if you haven't already got a lawnmower, buy a SMALL rotary one. The smaller ones take longer to do a given area of grass but are much easier to manuoevre. The grass box doesn't get impossibly heavy. Most garden centres treat lawnmowers like crotch rockets - the bigger and noiser the better.
I skipped you! as I was posting at the same time. I will have to give you a kiss


I have acksherly bought a lawnmower already. I saw a small one being offered for £35 on Gumtree being sold just round the corner, so I offered £30 for it. It's a Qualcast something-or-other. Apparently the best small mower is a Bosch Rotak but I figured this would do. I correctly calculated that as she lived just round the corner, and had had someone who went to look at it but didn't buy it, the owner would be willing to deliver it to me.

It seems to work fine. It's light and easy to lift in and out the shed and there is a handy basket thing on the back that collects all the mown grass for you to put in the green bin.
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Old 05-04-2015, 08:45 AM   #16
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Looking at your lawn photos, you have a moss problem. Piglet would be grey-haired waiting for you to rake it out. Suck your teeth and get a guy with a scarifier and a bag of fertilizer to rejuvenate the whole patch. Yeah, it costs a bit but you have better things to do-and it is a one-off.

Start a herb garden in pots outside the door so,when cooking, you can always snip a bit of fresh rosemary or basil.

PS the moss treatment should be in Spring, after the snow/frosts.

Don't tell my co-workers I am a closet gardener.
Your secret is safe with me!

You're right, there is loads of moss. Also dandelions and hosts of other things! There is lots of lawn and I am thinking whether to dig some over for flower beds, etc etc. I will come back and tell about the rake and take advice on the lawns ...

I live upstairs in the first floor flat! so I don't mind if the pots of herbs are a little distance from the front door. I'll post more pix so you can see why I may be putting them by the veg. patch.
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Old 05-04-2015, 08:52 AM   #17
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Sam is correct. Elephant Garlic is a leek. I find that onions/leeks are sensitive to space and drainage. That is, they do best in raised, spacious beds. Most container plants do best in spacious (wide) containers. I raise onions/leeks in 2'x2'x1' elevated boxes filled with compost.

Gardening books are notoriously bad because they generalize gardening advice, and plants are where they are within a particular environment. What I cant grow where I live thrives 25 miles away where the Bay moderates cold temps. So the rules aren't the same tho both places are within the same planting zone.

Not long ago I audited an expert gardening lecture at our local gardening center. The presenter is a perfesser employed by a large seed corporation. She told us we have 3 planting seasons in this area, I know we have 4. I've gardened here all my life.
Here's the pic of my elephant garlic. I planted it two or three years ago, at the old house which had a miserable North-facing garden completely surrounded by tall fences. The main crop we grew there was slugs. Nothing grew very well, especially as I was trying to grow my plants in pots, in the darkest dampest spot by the back door.

I can tell already that I ought to put the garlic into the vegetable patch where it will have much more room and I will do this pronto. I might go and get another bag of sharp sand first, as the veg patch soil is clay-ey. (I have put two small bags of sand into it already.)

I'm also wondering when I might be able to harvest the garlic (if ever), so I can enjoy roasting it with a nice chicken.

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Old 05-04-2015, 10:02 AM   #18
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I had a moss problem at the back of my lawn close to the garage where the sun rarely shines.

I used a wide sprung rake like this:



It removes thatch (dead grass) and moss.

I raked gently once every couple of weeks and applied EverGreen 4 in 1 feed and weed. It is fairly expensive but effective. My lawn will never be like a bowling green because it is the grandchildren's play area, but it is much better than it was.
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Old 05-04-2015, 10:09 AM   #19
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Here's the pic of my elephant garlic. I planted it two or three years ago, at the old house which had a miserable North-facing garden completely surrounded by tall fences. The main crop we grew there was slugs. Nothing grew very well, especially as I was trying to grow my plants in pots, in the darkest dampest spot by the back door.

I can tell already that I ought to put the garlic into the vegetable patch where it will have much more room and I will do this pronto. I might go and get another bag of sharp sand first, as the veg patch soil is clay-ey. (I have put two small bags of sand into it already.)

I'm also wondering when I might be able to harvest the garlic (if ever), so I can enjoy roasting it with a nice chicken.



WHEN IT LOOKS LIKE THIS ^^^^^^
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Old 05-04-2015, 12:59 PM   #20
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WHEN IT LOOKS LIKE THIS ^^^^^^
Oh dear looks like it's going to be a while before I can get that roast chicken and garlic, LOL.

I will see about planting it somewhere with better space and drainage. Thank you.
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Old 05-04-2015, 04:07 PM   #21
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I would guess HP meant put a wood sealer on the shed. Paint is not too good, unless you want to watch it flake off in cold winters and hot summers.

There is over here a product (originating from Skandinavia, I think) called SADOLIN.
See HERE.

Don't ask me what's in it, but it is damned good (I use it on my shed).
As I recall, it permits the wood to breathe but keep the bad weather off.
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Old 05-04-2015, 10:37 PM   #22
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If you want to discourage neighborhood pets from entering, planting alliums (ornamental onions) or marigolds will both help that. Edible onions are also a possibility if you like to eat them.

If you want no-maintenance plants, muscari (grape hyacinth) is my favorite. They also make nice ground cover around the base of rosebushes or small trees (though pine trees will probably kill them due to acidity). Lily of the valley is another small, no-maintenance flower. I have some other varieties of small flowers (dwarf irises, snakeheads, squill) but they are not good for ground cover because they die off for part of the year.

If you want fruit, raspberries are nice if you don't mind the thorns and don't mind watering them once they start to form berries. Currant and gooseberry are probably also available where you are. Strawberries are also relatively easy but you may have to fight the local animals who will want to eat them, and they need more watering.

If you want bigger flowers, well I'll just list the ones I have: roses, lilies, coneflowers, daisies, centaurea (bachelor's button), columbines, carnations (pinks), tulips, daffodils, sunflowers, and hydrangea. You may be too far north for hardy hibiscus, I'm not sure what exactly your zone is.

If you want to do something elaborate, plant in layers by height. Below 1', 1-2', 2-3' (shrub) and optionally tree. This would be either a dwarf fruit tree or an ornamental tree.
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Old 05-05-2015, 12:02 AM   #23
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I'm jealous of your lovely garden, Naoko. Here in California we are in the midst of a horrible drought, I think this is our fifth year. We don't water our lawn anymore. It's just weeds now, anyway, and we keep it cut short, that's about all we can do. I do water the roses, and some flowers in the flower beds and a few pots, but that's all. Seriously considering having the front yard xeriscaped, but my husband isn't yet convinced that's the way to go.
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Old 05-05-2015, 12:14 AM   #24
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I'd advise figuring out what to do with your garden the same way, more or less, you find a good hairdresser. Walk around the neighbourhood until you find a garden you like. Ask that person for help and keep your fingers crossed they aren't the curmudgeonly sort.
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Old 05-06-2015, 01:42 AM   #25
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It seems to work fine. It's light and easy to lift in and out the shed and there is a handy basket thing on the back that collects all the mown grass for you to put in the green bin.
While I care about environmental stuff, I usually only practice 'greenie' methods when they benefit me. I've got a couple of small garden plots in my small yard, and I am awesome at growing armies of slugs to eat my green leafy goodies, but I do try fairly hard to get this stuff to turn out favorable for me.

A few things that you may be interested in looking at both involve skipping the bin.
First is to use a mulching blade for the mower - the best fertilizer for your lawn is the lawn trimmings. If the blade is kept sharp, the mulched cuttings won't be an eyesore, and they will feed your lawn nicely. I add -zero- things to my grass other than mulched clippings and rain water, and it's as thick as a forest.
Second is your own composting bin(s). I have two plastic garbage cans (bins, whatever) that sit in the back corner of the yard, and they have dozens of small holes drilled on the bottom and up/down the sides for ventilation and drainage. One of these holds the compost as it finishes it's "cooking", and the other is what I regularly add to. Some grass clippings, rose/bush/tree trimmings, coffee grounds and tea bags, old veggies from the fridge, organic table scraps, etc (this is me), fill the second can. The occasional flipping or mild watering is fine but not really needed.

This method that I do is very low energy on my part, it doesn't look or smell bad, and I no longer have to pay some service to come haul away my yard waste (money saved is money earned, yes?). The bigger benefit is that I now make some massively healthy food for my pants that somehow out-pace the herds of slugs that never go away. There's even enough compost ready to give to friends, and in the "cooking" can, there are hundreds of worms that the neighbor kids like to play (or fish) with. The only downside is that this method takes at least half of a year for you to get good compost, but it's totally worth it.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Little_Show View Post
Writing erotica is a very exhibitionist and revealing hobby. We are all opening our trench coats for a crowd.

Last edited by CeasarBoobage : 05-06-2015 at 01:48 AM.
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