Tim Wells

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since Apr 06, 2014
Essex, England, 51 deg
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Recent posts by Tim Wells

The old boy loves his ride on so not an option tho i love the intention.

You think it is the ride on that is the problem rather than general run off and erosion?

I think i have answered my own question as it is this spot in particular that appears to be the problem.

Anyway what I really want is some guidance in installing a retention method such as wire mesh
3 years ago
My client is worried about the bank soil eroding into the pond next to his path used by a ride on mower.

3 metre diameter natural pond/ large hole in Essex clay loam.

Bulrushes swamped it. It drys out in summer.

A sleeper has been set in the side at ground level where the path runs past the pond.

Excess water runs off the garden and into the pond in the wet season and this has caused some soil to get washed into the pond under the sleeper so the sleeper has a pocket under it only 50mm.

The client suggested digging out the sleeper and installing a wire mesh. Wire mesh is used on roadside cliffs and I have seen it used on some banks.

Can any premies offer some experience with such a situation?
3 years ago
what advice you would dispense regarding the best meadow or plants to use in our typical Essex, wet clay in winter, rock hard clay in summer, fields?

my mother-in-law has a large field in Hullbridge that I would rather have as a wild space than a lawn. Currently it is a mixture of mowed lawn, overgrown lawn and weeds The ground has been fallow (bar the brambles I have now removed) for over 25 years without any pesticides so it is ideal for wild flowers or the like. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Roto til and sow early autumn?
plug plants and weed out the brambles/ thistles?
Heavy scarify and top dress with seed mix?
3 years ago
Nettles are widespread in the uk. They colonise the broad leaf understory in my woodland and indicate a rich moist soil high in phosphate. They can pioneer in very heavy clay. Their roots are yellow and sucker making them invasive. The young tops are good to eat up to late spring when they become more woody. They are excellent insect habitat. They do tend to outcompete other herbaceous, however plants with a deep tap root that doesn't compete are seen naturally with them: dock, thistle, arum. Brambles can hold their own alongside. Trees like elderberry occur in my plot alongside, willow also. I have raspberries in my allotment doing great with small clumps of nettles that don't diminish the crop too bad. Small clumps provide enough nettles throughout the spring for me and my family. I tend to remove half to make nettle tea feed and the come back strong next year.
Bulbs such as snowdrops look great underneath in semi shade pear damp soil, they pop up in jan and finish before march nettles come.
3 years ago
my cob cracked when drying, so i upped the sand, it still cracked, was it too thick? was 2 inch thick on wattle
3 years ago
cob
I have a pallet and wattle wall I want to cob. I have pure sand and pure clay on my land. What mix should I use?
3 years ago
cob
How to improve the production of my sandy hillside? I'm in the driest county in England. Lots of rain this winter as usual, the mud is only just drying up now with recent sun and a halt to the winter rains.

I enclosed pigs on a 50ft sq, 20 deg sloping, grass paddock, 50ft uphill of the key point (clay and wet all year) and downhill of my native 25yr woodland, with a stand of veteran lime and sycamore at the top of the paddock in question

The pigs rooted all the grass, thistles and nettles over the winter. Its like a ploughed (plowed) field now.

The bottom of the slope, on the lower fence line, where I fed the pigs, run-off collected and they poached the top foot of soil to mud soup.

Interesting point: I dug a hole to test and underneath that poached layer was dry sandy sub soil that the water had not penetrated.

The slope now is muddy for the lower 6 ft, then a nice looking dark drained soil, then the upper half is light dry compacted sand with areas that the pigs have rooted down making a very nice crumb tilth.

Downhill of the lower fence a mass of nettles flourish with the pig manure run off and I have planted the fence line with fruit trees and berries.

A swathe of great mullien (verbascum thapsis) have self sown into the upper slope, the pigs didn't root this up, the only plant they didn't.

I have now excluded the pigs from this paddock and want to plant it up with edibles. I would like root crops eg; carrots, parsnips which I think would do well in the sand, potatoes and getting some fruit/ chestnut trees in. I expect I might choose to run the pigs back in the paddock eventually.

How best to slow the run off from the hillside and improve soil moisture at the upper slope? Swale? Make a berm above the fence line with the ditch up slope? Then another ditch at the top 20ish ft upslope?

If if held water over winter that would be an advantage to save labour if and when the pigs do return in winters to come: as I was running water in from outside the paddock this winter. I have a natural pond and 4 ft ditch that holds water in the winter just slightly lower down the hill in the adjacent paddock.

It's only me and a spade, so I might just plant it up with potatoes as is. A concern is that the upper slope does get very dry in summer. I tried digging in a fruit bush last summer and it was like concrete.

Shall I get digging?





3 years ago
i use them fresh, like you i need the fence up quick
3 years ago
I have apple, gage, plum and chestnut saplings 4 inches tall, 3 to a 6'' pot in my heated conservatory (low light levels at 15 C )

Any one have experience of planting out such young trees and can share any experiences?
3 years ago