Sounds like its a bit of a mixed idea then on the one hand for some of my maritime species this'll probably be excellent but not too sure my herbs (mainly from the Mediterranean originally) will be happy with this!
This might be more an A-Level sciences question but how does Capillary Action function?
So as far as I understand water functions in such a way that water molecules 'draw' neighbouring molecules towards them. This means that as long as plants are stood on a base that is kept wet even if the plants are comparatively large and tall water will be drawn up to the top of the pots.
But how does this actually function? if you had a large pot containing a seedling and it was stood in water would the pot itself need to be moist before drawing up water? Is this an efficient way of keeping seedlings moist?
I have some pots with capillary matting (special matting designed to be kept damp) but how easy is it to make a capillary system ourselves? I was wondering if the same principle would apply if I used a plastic container, with a little water pooled at the bottom, and set a standard plant pot inside it to stand in the water (provided a glorious illustration below) if this would also work? I've always heard conflicting things about standing plants in water however; my grandmother used to always insist it was the best way of watering plants however i've always been told it leads to roots rotting; is there a difference between doing this with seeds that haven't developed roots and developed plants?
Thanks for the great replies guys one of the things I really love about these forums is that everyone is full of ideas and experiences and particular thanks for the photo!
Camellia Sinensis and Ceanothus? Never even heard of them but now i've read up on them they sound absolutely fascinating; I think for my garden they would't really work but I love the idea of these on an allotment so will definitely keep these in mind.
In terms of foundations I imagine i'm not that far off from my neighbours foundation in places; another issue is with the house i'm in being a few hundred years old I often find buried 'masses' in the garden; big concrete lumps and pipe-working which I have no way of knowing whether it is active or inactive. This might sound over cautious but my neighbour, who has the same problem with buried infrastructure, found that an old abandoned tap buried at the back of his house seems to issue clean fresh water from who knows where! I assume some of these pipes must be main pipes or power lines so i'm wearing of inadvertently breaching something 'active'
That is my main issue with trees and with bay trees specifically; I love my bays in pots and would be encouraged to try a hedge of them (even though i'm in UK zone 8 so it may be a bit rough for them) but I fear some of the things i've read have led me to believe they can be somewhat invasive.
The pictures of asparagus are stunning; I had no idea they created that sort of 'fan' effect; are they productive plants in cool climates?
Oh thats good to know! Was it the standard rosemary or have you tried any of the large rosemary varieties? Its surprisingly hard to find pictures of the tall varieties of rosemary to see what the actual end result of a rosemary hedge would be.
Thanks for the great link! I like the idea of some of the taller varieties of Rosemary (such as Tuscan Blue or Blue Spires) but i'm not sure either would be cold hardy enough or thick enough to function as a hedge. I liked the idea of Bay, in fact I have a plant chugging along happily in my bathroom, my only concern is that apparently that likes temperatures of 5 degrees at the least which I couldn't guarantee all year around here oh and i'm somewhat concerned that its roots could be potentially damaging.
My space is extremely limited so i'd like to have trees and the like but my concern there is that it would start to affect the foundations of my neighbours property (we are only metres distant).
Oh really I didn't know that? I assumed both were perennial, i'll wait to see which dies off completely come winter then! Yes I think you're right I just like to know what is what; my silly fault for moving them around so often!
I have two varieties of Oregano planted in my garden (Hot and Spicy and Greek) and a Marjoram (Gold Splashed Marjoram) unfortunately since planting them the garden, and some of the plants, have been moved around a little and I'm unable to identify which is which so i'm hoping some of you may have a better idea than me.
The first one i've started to call 'Long and Leggy'; it seems to grow tall (the tallest of any of the others, rivalling my Hyssop) rather than out and has grown so much that it has pulled itself over leading to a fairly messy appearance. The taste is powerful and intense and seems to linger on the tongue so I am assuming this is the 'Hot and Spicy' however the leaves do have a golden speckled quality so it did make me wonder at first if it was the Marjoram (though the flavour is more intense than the other two) I feel as though I should have cut this back and dried the leaves, as the size of the plant definately affects its looks but I wanted to allow the flowers to bloom; any advice for cutting back oregano?
The second plant i've started to call "Flourescent" as the leaves and flower buds on this particular plant seem a very intense and bright green. The flavour of this is also intense but more muted than the 'Long and Leggy' though when I first tried it I found it had a longer lasting aftertaste than the other two; Greek Oregano? This plant is the slowest growing so far but is happy and healthy.
The third is a real trooper of a plant, i've termed it 'Gentle and Bushy' This plant does have a slightly dappled gold look to some of its leaves (though not as intense as any pictures of the gold splashed marjoram i've seen) and has quite a mild taste but a well-rounded one, so i'm assuming this is the marjoram. I also noticed that even though it seems to have had a wood pigeon (of which we have a veritable epidemic around here) land directly in the centre of it this plant seems to have recovered and is producing new growth with a vengeance; not growing as tall as plant one but is definitely the bushiest.
On a slightly unrelated (but still herby) note I have a lavender 'Vera' in my garden too that shows healthy and vibrant growth, am I right in thinking that Lavender Vera is edible rather than simply being a treat for the nose (and bees)? I have read some people claiming the leaves can be used along with the flowers but this seems to contradict what other people have been saying.
I noticed some lavender for sale in a local garden centre that seemed to have been cultivated to have a long woody trunk with the leaves coming from the top, almost in the form of a small bush. I know this can also be done with currants but are there also other common garden herbs this could be done with? I'm wondering if oregano could be trained in this way as I am sure that would be quite beautiful and also free up space to plant thyme around the base or is such training harmful to the plants? If not how would one do this?
Thanks for the nice reply thats very kind of you! I'm just cultivating a mass of seedlings at present so hopefully in the early new year when i'm planting things up I can finally get some photos of my garden up.
I've gotten to the point of planting my garden and frantically growing seedlings and now keep finding myself moving my garden around on an almost daily basis; dealing with information overload and drowning in charts and graphs and hoping you chaps wouldn't mind telling me if i'm missing anything or giving me some basic advice (as you have numerous times before) I live in the centre of England and have a small (small small small - approximately 17ft Long (5.2m) and 12ft (3.66m) Wide.) garden i'm hoping to treat as a way of supplementing my diet with herbs and fruits I wouldn't normally buy (unfortunately its hardly big enough to survive from) so i'm wondering how wise my choices are so far, i've attached a little plan of my garden and denoted different areas.
1) Paved Area; Small area with a table and chairs and a few pots of my more delicate or invasive plants; French Tarragon, Basil and Mint along with a Morello Cherry tree (a mistaken buy in retrospect but it is beautiful and a hit with the birds).
2) Bin Storage; Small storage area containing my black bin and my fold-down bike; planning on hanging pots on the fence however perhaps containing a wider selection of my delicate and invasive herbs such as a wider variety of mint and another tarragon.
3) Southern Entry Fence; This is perhaps the most tricky area of my garden to find plants for. This area is directly onto my neighbours fence, the fence is approximately 6 ft tall and is owed by my neighbour (therefore I can't attach anything to this fence) and as it is in the lea of my house it is generally shady until the early evening. Originally had my redcurrants living in that area quite happily however this presents a problem of privacy; if ever the fence is removed (which my neighbours may well decide) when the currants lose their leaves i'll be looking directly onto them as my kitchen window faces onto this patch of land. My plan was to erect some free-standing trellis and train the currants to grow up the trellis. I have been somewhat disappointing with my currants, the redcurrant 'Red Lake' are beautiful little bushes that look wonderful whereas I find the blackcurrants look a bit drab and droopy; the blackcurrants also suffered badly with an aphid infestation so I was considering planting rosemary bushes in front of the currants to attract pollinating insects and also to scare off aphids which I understand rosemary is rather good for? Alternatively I considered planting my oregano, marjoram and hyssop in this area as to my understanding these are somewhat shade tolerant and aphid repellent.
4) Northern Entry Fence; This area gets a good amount of sunlight but, being the neighbours fence, I am considering a similiar strategy as planned for the southern part of this fence; rosemary bushes (I am looking at one or two different varieties such as 'Spice Island' and 'Tuscan Blue' but I am a bit worried about the effectiveness of these as a long term fence. Behind these I am interested in training blackcurrants on a trellis as they seem to be less tolerant of shade than redcurrants.
5) Southern Entry Garden; This is directly next to my seating area and also contains a birdbath; planning on a mix of sages (though can't find many attractive culinary varieties, though a garden frog seems to love my generic sage) Lavender, Sorrel, Shiso and Bee Balm so that as you enter the garden you'll get a bright dash of colours and smells along with the rosemary and other herbs complimenting each other as companion plants.
6) Southern Fence Garden; I'm cultivating some unusual heirloom brassica; some East Friesian Palm Kales and some Tree Cabbages; as these are not so touchy about shade i'm thinking of planting them quite thickly around here. I'm a little bit worried about slugs and general brassica pests so i'm planting hyssop along with some thyme in the hopes that this might slightly negate that.
7) Northern Entry Garden; This is a bit of a mixed bag in general; so far my plans are to plant a thicket of loveage and my mediterranean saltbushes to soak up the sun and to provide a draw to potential pollinators from the allotments to the rear of the garden. Surrounding these will be chives and onions interspersed with thyme plants of various sorts.
Northern Fence Garden; This area is occupied by a stone bench i'm hoping to spend some time in so i'm looking at some privacy and serenity so I imagine i'll dot some of my palm kales along with chives (which I happen to think smell heavenly) and thyme.
So i'm left with certain questions; are there any plants i'm really missing? Just what should I grow on the fence I own? I was very tempted by Potato Beans (Apios americana) as its beautiful and perennial; ideally everything in my garden would be usable all year round and there would be enough redundency in the amount of plants i'm planting that I could, for instance, have access to rosemary whenever I needed without damaging the plant but I appreciate in a garden of my size that isn't entirely possible.
Thanks for the reply! So what sort of situation would I be looking at with the Pink Lemonade? Would I still get berries of some description or none at all? It was retailed as being 'self-fertile' and I keep reading online that it is self-fertile but that only seems to be part of the story. I'm fairly sure the garden centre I brought this from advertised it as being a Highbush variety so i'm utterly confused at this point!
So would a normal highbush or another Pink Lemonade bush provide no benefit to my original Pink Lemonade whatever? I'm a little limited in the varieties that are locally available from growers around here so I'm wondering if I should cut my losses and just get another Chandler and stick with highbush varieties (which would be more suited to my climate) or if I could have my cake and eat it so to speak; i'e if there is a blueberry variety that would be a benefit to both the Chandler and the Pink Lemonade?
Where would you advise I look for information on the different breeds and varieties? I.e you found out about the Pink Lemon being potentially self-infertile which I have been unable to find in my researchers; it'd help me not make this mistake again!
I'm having a little confusion regarding blueberries and i'm really hoping someone can set me right. (Based in the UK if anyone wonders about climatic and environmental conditions)
I brought a 'Pink Lemonade' Blueberry from a local garden centre a little while ago, mainly because I thought it was beautiful and it was advertised as being self-fertile.
I then found out that Blueberries are mostly self-fertile but generally do much better with a partner or two (i'm a beginner at this so bear with me!) so purchased another Blueberry 'Chandler' which has a similar growing season to the Pink Lemonade (relatively late).
The Pink Lemonade and Chandler were both advertised to me as being 'Highbush' varieties but i've found out that this is not generally the case with the Pink Lemonade so I am now in rather a bind.
My garden is fairly small, I could probably get away with two more blueberry plants which I think I might well need, as it seems like the two I have are different varieties; is this correct? If this is the case would it be sensible of me to simply buy another Pink Lemonade and another Chandler or would this not be the case?
On another note how does pollination effect currants? I have a 'Red Lake' Redcurrant and a Blackcurrant plant; I read that Whitecurrants are good pollinators for Redcurrants but wondering if, again, i'd be better buying one each; i'd rather like to get some more ornamental yet still useful varieties than the ones I have however but which would still help.
Not wanting to necro this thread but just to thank everyone for the help; went with a morello in the end and it looks beautiful! Certainly taking the advice with Oregano and probably thyme along with chives though I thought oregano preferred full sun?
Oh dear it sounds like the Angelica might have been a mistake then! It looked quite forlorn and I didn't have the heart to leave it, thought i'd give it a go so we'll see how triffidesque that gets.
Bushes are a really good idea, I have got one or two bushes forming a hedge but it is the eternal appeal of a tree; I get the feeling I may regret it but I think its something I have to try. The point about sour fruits is an interesting one, would that really put off many birds?
I did consider other trees like a hazelbert or a olive but they seem to be on the larger side.
I was hoping people could give me a bit of advice regarding trees and whether I should have one. I live in England (the east midlands) and have a standard tiny English garden approximately 17ft Long (5.2m) and 12ft (3.66m) Wide.
So far its being set up pretty much as a herb garden but towards the top of the garden I was thinking of having a cherry tree; there are two varieties I have in mind, the sweet 'Stella' or the sour 'Morello' both seem to have advantages; the Stella produces large crops of sweet cherries and has great flowers on it but seems to grow larger which would be a disadvantage in a garden of my size, the Morello is less prepossessing but i've always liked sour foods and it would be slightly smaller scale.
My issue then is whether a tree would be damaging to my garden in the long run; my garden is something of a suntrap which is one of its few advantages (it is west facing and seems to trap the sun most of the day) and i'm planting a fair crop of plants that enjoy the sun, i'm a little worried that any tree I plant will damage the herbs and flowers i've selected (a list is provided at the end) also i'm not sure where would be the best location for a tree, either towards the east or the west end of the garden, if it was a matter of maximising light? Are cherries a bad choice in this regard?
Plants already in the garden;
Redcurrant "Red Lake" (Ribes rubrum) - Self-fertile, full sun/moderate shade - Red Berries
Blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum) - Self-fertile, full sun - Black Berries
Blueberry "Pink Lemonade" (Vaccinium) - Self-fertile, full sun/moderate shade - Pink Berries
Thyme "Doone Valley" (Thymus) - Full sun - Lavender Pink/Red Flowers
Oregano/Wild Marjoram "Hot And Spicy" (Origanum vulgare) - Full sun/moderate shade - Purple Flowers
Angelica (Angelica Archangelica) - Full sun/moderate shade - Yellow Flowers
Welsh Onion (Allium Fistulosum) - Full sun/moderate shade - White Flowers
Mint "Swiss" (Mentha x piperita swiss) - Full sun/moderate shade - Violet Flowers
Applemint (Mentha suaveolens) - Full sun/moderate shade - White Flowers
English Lavender (Lavandula Vera) - Full sun - Lavender Flowers
Any help you can give me permy hivemind is much appreciated as it has been on numerous other occasions.
Thanks Charli you always give really good answers! I was quite tempted to look into getting a little rock tumbler and sorting out some of these empty bottles I have.
Anne Miller the precious plastic stuff always looks fantastic; I get the impression they use some serious kit to get the sort of items they have there though; the tiles are absolutely fantastic though so i'd love to be able to make those.
No the goal isn't too clearly defined you're quite right, i'm wanting to do some creative things with my waste glass and plastic and what I do need are some durable surfaces to finish off some wooden tables i've rubbed down; something durable and beautiful that I can put things like cups, plates, vases and the like on.
So something quite resistant but also bright and cheerful which is why I was looking at recycled glass in the first place.
I have seen people also get a similiar effect with resin and glass; would that be a better alternative would you say? I've always been a bit concerned about resin as I imagine it lacks the durability of something like concrete which would make it hard to use in outdoor spaces or, as I want to do, as a tabletop or a finish.
I'm really sorry for the late reply been mad over the holidays!
What would it be like doing it in a domestic oven? I'm not sure I understand exactly how toxicity would work; if it released toxic vapours and I then, say a day later, cooked food in the same oven, I assume it would also contaminate that?
Probably sounds like a silly question but i'm trying to attempt a few challenges like this while only having the resources of a little house to fall back on!
I have similiar simple confusions with the glass; I know one can 'dye' concrete but i'm wondering if dyed concrete would keep its colour indefinitely and would basic concrete (such as the postcrete I have left over from work in the garden) be suitable to use for products like this.
I really hope my questions haven't been asked here a 100 times before but I am hoping some of you practically minded permies can answer some questions.
Firstly full disclosure; I live in a small house in the UK so my tools consist of extremely little; I don't have a rocket stove or machine tools or anything like that nor do I really have the space to do anything big or grandiose, but there are one or two projects i'm interested in trying but I am not sure I can feasibly do them or not.
I'm mainly interested at this stage of making new surfaces for a few tables and units I have and there are two ways I can see of feasibly doing this;
I read with great interest something on 'instructables' regarding using plastic bottles and carefully melting them to form deceptively beautiful marble-effect blocks. It seems like something that could be done in a domestic oven; my concern is however the risk of toxins. The link i've been reading (please see below) leads me to believe this would not be a problem if you simply melted rather than burning the plastic;
It probably wouldn't be things like cabbages so much, even though its a very good suggestion. I was contemplating things like potato boxes but i'm not sure I have the space, I think it could be a good 'condiment garden' so a place to grow some herbs and fruits and things that will enhance my diet but i'm not sure I have enough room for large scale production, been investigate evergreen permaculture plants; there doesn't seem to be many but there are a good number, should be starting on the garden soon.
Anyone have any experience with Hazelberts? I have a really small garden and was hoping to use these as a small 'canopy' layer (about as big as I could get away with) any advice as to pollination, size and yield?
I'm afraid its a traditional English 'Terrace' so it has no front, its straight onto the street so my growing area is extremely limited.
I've not really posted any update here because, believe it or not, the garden hasn't been started yet! We have been doing the house up on a budget (it is a former rental property we believe; doors kicked in, damp, roof collapsing) so its only just started to take shape these last few months. Incidentally using thrifty permaculture principles has been useful; brought some beautiful furniture from Gumtree and Facebook (solid dining table, chairs, bedframe, coffee table for around £300 total) and repaired some of the original wood floorboards with pallets.
I've reconsidered the order of the garden, I think it would be more logical to have the paved area directly outside the back door of my house; in that way access to and from my door doesn't damage any plants. When it comes to plants the area left remaining will be almost a large raised bed; this will partially shelter my home and also provide an attract visual finish to the garden. My shortlist of plants so far is something like;
Hazelbert - Canopy layer (obviously I don't have the room for really large trees without swamping the garden)
Cranberry - Bushes neighbouring the neighbours property, i'm not sure if these are the most productive or thickest sort of bushes I can get however I know I like the fruits, I did think of Morello cherries but i'm not really sure if an espalier would provide the denseness i'd want.
Scarlet Runners - for the horrible back wall of my property.
Many thanks for the message, basically i'll keep the parameters, pick '5' for edibility and Zone 6 and 5 for the UK habitability search and it seems to work once or twice, then if I go back and change the parameters, maybe 5 for edibility and 5 for medicinal, I get;
"Server Error in '/' Application.
Object reference not set to an instance of an object"
I'm wondering if its something i'm doing, maybe my parameters need to be slightly more specific? It seems strange to get this sort of error message though.
I keep having a re-occurring problem with the 'Plants for the Future' website, I search (using simple parameters) and I keep getting an error website. I read around regarding the error and a number of people seemed to suggest it was a website problem, the the website was simply out of data, so I left it until today (the 2nd) so it would at least be the start of the month and the same problem occurred, is this a known issue?
I only have a small garden so i've been looking for a heavy-fruiting plant for the 'Shrub' layer (which will probably end up being the biggest layer in my garden, short of a lonely Hazelbert) but the problems with the PFAF are causing me some difficulty, can anyone suggest another site as simple to use preferably which would also allow me to search native British species? (i'm in the Midlands of England).
I do hope this is the right subforum, apologies if i'm posting here in error.
Ohhh thats a great video, thats pretty much exactly the sort of thing I was thinking of, its'd be quite easy to use that to make dowels to fit the same size hole, and the results look very regular. The other posters though have game me reason to mull it over a little, I think I might need to experiment with the basics of lathes first and indeed basic woodwork before I get further into this, however at least I know it *is* possible, and such an elegant solution too.
I think thats what I love about these forums, complex problems often have simple solutions which others are able to see that you are blind to, however hard you look.
I'm not sure I could take it to my woods without being glassed! Or falling down a disused mineshaft, but thats a rather charming image, maybe in the garden. I was more interested in using old pallets, really my interest in a lathe came at rather a tangent; I wanted to make something from wood that would last pretty much as long as the wood did; so I wanted to avoid using glues if possible. My idea was to combine dovetails with wooden dowels, which rather meant I had to have a way of making wood dowels of a fairly uniform size, which led on to lathes. The problem is lathes are fairly expensive and i'm not sure if i'd take to it or enjoy it. I would have loved to take a class or somesuch but i'm in a bit of an awkward position (far enough out of Nottingham and Derby that reaching a big city is slightly problematic) and the people of my fair locale aren't big on using lathes.
I had a go making dovetails however my skills and instruments are limited, it looks to me like i'd have to get a jigsaw to make a fair breast of it at the stage I am, but I take on board the points raised that using machine tools at the stage i'm in may not be a good idea. My intention is, as soon as I have my own space, to have a serious go at both things; making a pole lathe may be a good first project.
Forgive my ignorance but what does that mean? If a pole lathe causes a back and forth motion does that mean i'd have to start and stop, start and stop?
The pole lathe looks interesting, I take the advice on board regarding the risks so it looks like a pole lathe would be a good starting point. Am I right in thinking you can do just the same on a pole lathe (turning bowls for instance) as you could on a powered one? That the difference is simply one of speed?
I love the Mathias Wandel website, some great stuff on there, I really liked the machine that could cut things based off a template (the Pantorouter) I would have thought it'd work lose from the frame though?
The chap making the items using a hand-powered lathe was impressive, i'm sort of not sure how that works though, surely if I took a piece of a wood and a sharp chisel and got the wood up to a speed as soon as I took a chisel to it wouldn't it throw the chisel away from the wood or simply turn the wood into a crazy pile of splinters, it amazes me that people seem to get such a smooth result out of something so low tech, are hand-powered lathes a good starting point?
I have been trawling craigslist and ebay for a while and seen a few lathes for around the £200 mark, just worried i'd get one and find I either have no aptitude or that I hate it, would a lathe made using a drill, firmly secured, to spin the wood, be a good starting point for an experiment or two or would it be highly inadvisable?