Comments for en-gb 30 Thu 28 May 2015 22:40:31 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at Datchet Thrifty can mean = n insight - I dont know what you have done to us Alys! - but we have planted / grown & are now eating so much lovely veg - its wonderful!Here is the tip; we used all our old plant-pots, planters etc we moved on to old buckets and recycled containers - large clear plastic ones that contained lard balls for the birds. We planted Tomatos in these - and they are ideal - as you can clearly see the water (or water and feed) percolate down the pot - you know precisely when they are full & therefore how much water to use without waste.Also have recycled tree pruning as canes - 'cept the Budlia canes have rooted ! Tue 21 Jul 2009 14:25:39 GMT+1 bessyj Alys, I think your theory regarding pest and predator relationships might be right. I've just popped out to the garden to find lots of ladybirds and their larvae all over the black fly smothered echinops - they are chomping their way through the blighters. Hooray! Fri 03 Jul 2009 20:10:22 GMT+1 Angelique1969 Dear Alys,I only signed in as a member of this blog to give you my compliments on your book The Thrifty Gardener. It is almost a bible to me; well written, nice lay out, very nice photo's and good advices. Even if I don't use all of your advices, the ideas are so simple and can be done by someone like me (non technical at all!). I even recommend it to a relative of mine.I can't wait to buy your new book Garden Anywhere, but I have to be patient because it isn't translate into Dutch yet. Please write more of those books!Greetings from a big fan from the Netherlands!Angelique Mon 29 Jun 2009 18:35:43 GMT+1 alys fowler I've just let the chickens eat all my (strangely large) wild strawberries merely because it was so lovely to watch them having fun. There was one point where they both had lots of red strawberry juice covering their beaks and I swear they looked pleased with themselves. Mon 29 Jun 2009 14:19:14 GMT+1 David Rusling We have 3 chickens that we keep fenced in to the old orchid (which had no apple trees when we bought the house 3 years ago). Previous owners had dogs, so the perimeter is well fenced off too. This year, I built a coop (we call it Buckinghen Palace) with a 2m x 3m floor area. Just look on the web and you'll see loads of advice and postings. I personally wouldn't let them just roam anywhere (although the odd outing isn't a problem) and I'd never let them anywhere near my vegetable plots! We feed ours on pellets and scraps and they give us eggs and fertilizer. Bargain. Plus they're strangely relaxing to watch... Sun 28 Jun 2009 12:43:36 GMT+1 boldpuppy Oops I,m so sorry I just realised I spelt your name wrong. Sun 28 Jun 2009 12:38:27 GMT+1 boldpuppy Hello alice, I've got some chickens recently too. They're so much fun. They've even started laying, Yay! Mine are completely free range though, they just go in at night. They've done very little damage to my plants and have really only upset one pansy so far. They patrol my greenhouse regularly for slugs snails and woodlice. Now thats organic pest control for You! I think one pansy is definately a small price to pay. I discovered recently that I also have a hedgehog that visits my veggie garden evey night and protects my vegetables from slugs and snails. The chickens also like to peck at my shoes if I stand still. Not sure why though. They are really great company when you are pottering about the garden though. Even the dog has gotten used to them now. She does like to steal eggs if she finds them first. Anyway. I reslly love the show. I missed it this week for the first time this year and I was disgusted! I cant get it on i player even cos i,m in Ireland. Sun 28 Jun 2009 12:36:54 GMT+1 miniree Hi AlysI have also been contemplating buying a couple of hens and particularly have considered rescuing a couple of battery hens. Apparently, once they have acclimatised, it is very rewarding to see them blossom in the unaccustomed fresh air. However, how large a pen do you need for them and if you let them roam around the garden while you are on hand, are they tricky to catch? Sat 27 Jun 2009 14:27:47 GMT+1 Mary Hill Bessyj, I agree, pinch out the tops of the broad beans. If you get them before the aphids you can steam/boil them and eat them as greens. My neighbour says pinching out makes the beans swell in the pods. Fri 26 Jun 2009 09:50:17 GMT+1 RedMill Hello Alys and other readers, I want to go back to the comfrey tip of about 3 weeks ago. I too now have a comfrey water compost going but I wanted to tell you about a little miracle of comfrey. Twice now I have used it to work as a sort of plaster of paris to very broken plant stems. One a rose that I broke quite severely by accident three years ago and one about two weeks ago that was a fairy large young tomato with a little crop of tomatos already visible. I accidently broke him for about 85% of his stem. I was sad of course but because I had the comfrey already nearby my feet to make the comfrey juice for the tomatoes I wrapped a leaf quite tightly around the break and fastened this with a rubber thingy to the bamboo stick. Next day quite aware that I would find a very wilted tomato I went to look at them all and there he was all strong and happy and now to this day the stem is still holding. The comfrey leaf has not rotted just dried a bit. I suppose you know the country name of 'Knitbone' for the comfrey plant.... Well it Knitsstems too.... Just thought you would like to know. I sure you will be impressed at this story of plants helping plants physically. They are too wonderful to be true sometimes. Take care and enjoy your summerLindy Fri 26 Jun 2009 06:37:12 GMT+1 alys fowler BessyjI say pinch out, Sort of concentrates the plant into bean production and does help with blackfly population as they love the tender top shoots. Pinch out when you have at least five flower and preferably before the pods appear. I was wondering where all the ladybirds were as teh aphid population seems phenomenal this year. And then yesterday the garden was crawling with ladybird larvae and hoverflies. THis made me think that in the natural order of things predators don't really appear until the pest populations got fairly big.Gardenmad2Get chicken now. they're so funny. Don't smell, if that's what you mean by dirty? Sure they poop alot but you just scoop up the bedding onto the compost and viola instant accelerator for the pile. They do scratch up plants but mine have a fox proof run and house, so they can't get near anything i love. I intend in the autumn to use them as chicken ploughs and let they scratch through the beds, but till then they live in a coup and run. I'm building an extension on the run so that when I'm in the garden they can have a bit more fun. The eggs are lovely, but not nearly as lovely as watching happy hens scratch about. Plus they're really soft and like being held and stroked. Lovely pets. Can't believe it took me so long to get them. Thu 25 Jun 2009 11:49:27 GMT+1 GardenMad2 I do envy you having chickens. I would love to have a few and I think we have room (the garden is nearly an acre) but I have been told they are very dirty and they scratch up your plants? I also worry about foxes as we are quite rural and I hear them at night. Am I worrying too much or should I agree with the rest of the family who think I am quite mad? Tue 23 Jun 2009 23:49:54 GMT+1 bessyj Congrats on the chickens! My friend has three chickens who work wonders on the pest control front and has foiled the foxes by popping them in the greenhouse at night. Its been hideously busy at work and the weekends have been hectic too, however, I have found time to sit outside and ponder on our small garden at its peak. I have a huge soft spot for roses, and the rosa mundi, zepherin drouhin, and gertrude jeykll are looking and smelling fab. I've also been growing some old fashioned sweet peas next to the back door and bringing in some bunches every day or so which cheers up the kitchen table. All very pedestrian in terms of species and type but I'm happy which is all that matters. My five year old son has noted that for somebody who doesn't like pink to wear, our garden is full of pink and purple flowers!The garden seems very quiet after the active nesting and fledgling period. Birds pop in now and again but they must be having a happy time munching on bugs elsewhere as I have greenfly on gertrude and blackfly on my echinops. I'm not too worried as these things sort themselves out but my usual ally the ladybird has been almost entirely absent from the garden this summer. We had two seasons of the asian (harlequin) ladybird in the garden, and in the house, but I haven't even seen any of these blighters.One quick veg question for the forum; to pinch out or not to pinch out the tips of broad bean plants? They are flowering and a good size - does pinching out give a better crop? Tue 23 Jun 2009 20:14:12 GMT+1