Author Topic: About this forum  (Read 6126 times)

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Offline Simon

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About this forum
« on: April 23, 2006, 09:33:05 PM »
Hello, TalkSwindoners. I suggested this forum, and haven't posted anything yet, but please don't let that stop you from starting new topics here.

I live in a small flat with an even smaller back garden, a bit smaller than the average living room. Part of the garden I use (with varying degrees of success) to grow vegetables, and the rest I've left to go wild for now.

I am keen to use my garden to supplement my food supply, even though I know it's far too small to produce all my food. I am also keen to learn about and develop gardening techniques which work in harmony with nature rather than in conflict with it. For example, I make my own compost, I weed by hand, and I have never used any chemical fertilisers, weedkillers, pesticides or other artificial poisons. I won't tell you what I do about slugs, in case anyone's squeamish...

So I'm looking to share ideas about gardening, particularly on making it low-maintenance, handy planet-friendly tips for dealing with weeds and pests, the many arts of composting, what grows well in the Swindon climate with the clay soil we usually seem to have, that kind of thing.

I come to this forum as a newbie rather than an expert. I have managed to grow potatoes, onions and a couple of pumpkins, and have tried and failed to grow quite a few other types of veg. It's a learning curve.

I'm hoping that there are some other keen gardeners out there who share my views on harmony with nature, as well as my type of soil, weather, and the most prevelant local weeds and pests, and we can pool our knowledge on these things and how best to work with them.

Please feel free to post your local gardening experiences, questions, etc in this "Dig It!" forum.

Simon.


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Offline Tobes

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Re: About this forum
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2006, 01:01:59 PM »
Simon - I'm a not really Mr Green fingers, but I too have a tiny plot. You mentioned pumpkins - I've had great success growing these UP the side on my house and off onto my flat roof. Believe it or not, pumpkins will climb like a vine if they have a trellis to grow up and its a good way of maximising your space, as well as freaking out the neighbours, as the thing grows triffid-like over you house  :D
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Offline Keith

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Re: About this forum
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2006, 10:20:08 PM »
I don't know how big your compost heap is, but I heard that slugs will remain inside a compost heap that is moderately well stocked and help accelerate the composting process.

Glad to hear you don't put pellets down for the slugs, the cumulative effect of poison in the foodchain for wild birds through to domestic pets is something most people ignore.

Offline Simon

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Re: About this forum
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2006, 11:11:10 PM »
I seem to remember some expert recommending compost bins as a good way of disposing of slugs without hurting them, and it makes sense to encourage them to feed on my green waste rather than on my food crops. I've found slugs, worms, spiders and even entire ant colonies in my compost bins, but it doesn't seem to have spoiled the final product  O0

The idea of growing pumpkins up a wall still has my mind boggling  :o

It sort of makes sense when you've got a handy flat roof and you consider the long stalks they send out, with little tendrils gripping to anything they find along the way, but what do you do if a pumpkin sprouts half-way up the wall? Build a shelf to support it? Or just cut it off because it's growing in the wrong place?

We are all in this together, but some of us are more in it than others (with apologies to George Orwell)

Offline Tobes

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Re: About this forum
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2006, 08:59:02 AM »
I made slings out of my girlies old tights to cradle the pumpkins and lashed 'em to the trellis!!! They seemed to carry on growing just fine. Sorry - I guess an image of stocking supported vegetables isn't helping the boggling process  :D
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Simon

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Re: About this forum
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2006, 12:06:45 AM »
The discussion about wormeries can now be found in the new Wormeries topic. It starts like this...

Can't be doing with slugs - making them comfy in my compost heap is a step too far I say.
Wormeries though... since Alligator mentioned them I have been intrigued.
This is one of many sites that offer them as well as regular garden worms that you can bung into your compost heap  ( well, there you go - worms with different jobs )

http://www.greengardener.co.uk/wormeries.htm


I still think that SBC could step up to the green line and offer wormeries to residents. Wormy people could pay for their wormery with wormery juice.



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Offline johndoyle

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Re: About this forum
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2006, 11:28:28 AM »
nice to see this thread. Did Rural Studies at school and used to look after the family garden but stopped a long time ago. Have tried some bits in my own garden (strawberries and raspberries have been the most successful).

I've just got an allotment in Cheney Manor with another family and we're just in the process of talking about crop rotations, double digging (and how to avoid it), etc.... Will be using the garden primarily for flowers and herbs and to support wildlife - had our first hedgehog in the garden last year and a rake of butterflies from a few native wildflowers.

TWIGS and The Haven are worth a visit to chat to people with more experience and to get some inspiration.

Re stuff growing wild - blackberries in abundance around Nine Elms and we had bucket loads collected. Also collected lots of Sloes around Nine Elms and Peatmoor and made Sloe Gin.

If you're over the border in Wiltshire, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust are giving away compost bins (and looking for Compost Ambassdors). They don't carry this offer into Swindon for some reason.



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Offline Lynda

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Re: About this forum
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2006, 06:03:54 PM »
The WWT also offer advice on composting ( hopefully sans slugs)

Quote
John and the Home Composting Team at the Trust offer free advice on any composting issues. Phone the composting advice line 01380 725670, ext 266 or 268, or email compost@wiltshirewildlife.org.


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Offline Simon

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Swindon, Wiltshire, compost bins
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2006, 11:55:57 PM »
If you're over the border in Wiltshire, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust are giving away compost bins (and looking for Compost Ambassdors). They don't carry this offer into Swindon for some reason.

I read about that scheme last year, and was surprised and disapointed at Swindon being excluded.

Apparently Swindon is a Unitary Authority, and therefore isn't part of Wiltshire, despite any geographical evidence to the contrary. I'm guessing that WWT (who also have an office in Swindon) managed to secure some funding to pay for the compost bins, and made an arrangement with the council(s) in Wiltshire, but Swindon Borough Council weren't part of the deal.
We are all in this together, but some of us are more in it than others (with apologies to George Orwell)

Offline johndoyle

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Re: About this forum
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2006, 08:33:59 AM »
Swindon Borough is a 1-tier county (aka Unitary Authority) and has been independent of Wiltshire since 1995. (having first gone thru the Thamesdown naming route).

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1995/Uksi_19951774_en_2.htm
Constitution of new county of Thamesdown
    8.—(1)  Thamesdown shall cease to form part of Wiltshire.

    (2)  A new county shall be constituted comprising the area of Thamesdown and shall be named the county of Thamesdown.

    (3)  Section 2(1) of the 1972 Act (which provides that every county shall have a council) shall not apply in relation to the county of Thamesdown.


It's deemed part of Wiltshire for ceremonial activities thru the Lieutenancies Act 1997.
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1997/1997023.htm


I suggested to the Uni of Bath that Swindon MPs are not entitled to attend their Court as their constitution listing elgible attendees lists Wiltshire MPs as a generic group but not Swindon MPs.


A mind is like a parachute - it works best when open. http://www.savecoate.org.uk/