Nancy Reading

+ Follow
since Nov 12, 2020
Nancy likes ...
transportation dog forest garden foraging trees books food preservation woodworking wood heat rocket stoves ungarbage
Forum Moderator
Nancy Reading currently moderates these forums:
A graduate scientist turned automotive engineer, currently running a small shop and growing plants on Skye: turning a sheep field into a food forest.
Isle of Skye, Scotland
Apples and Likes
Total received
In last 30 days
Total given
Total received
Received in last 30 days
Total given
Given in last 30 days
Forums and Threads
Scavenger Hunt
expand Pollinator Scavenger Hunt
expand Pioneer Scavenger Hunt Green check
expand First Scavenger Hunt Green check

Recent posts by Nancy Reading

I got quite a nice stainless steel leaf rake in my delivery. They never came back for it.....
10 hours ago
Seems odd that they mow your backyard, which I would have thought was private space, but leave you to do the front, public facing area.

This is the great Permies thread on lawn care: cheap and lazy lawn care

It does look like your lawn mower may be set a bit low. Paul explains why slightly longer setting is better for the grass and actually leads to fewer weeds. I must admit I've never been a lawn person, and certainly not the bowling green look. The grass cuttings can be useful though!

I did find one thread on alternative lawn plants: It is the lawns at Buckingham Palace (where the Queen holds her garden parties) that allegedly have camomile growing in them.

1 day ago

Boris Kerzner wrote:
Yeah, I was kinda wondering about that too. Like if we don't want grass because of competition, does white clover not carry the same concern, or does it provision of nitrogen balance out the competition?

I read somewhere that grass can be particularly competitive, due to allelopathic effects as well as competition for water and other resources.
1 day ago
I bought a batch of Korean pine a couple of years ago, just a dozen or so. I was convinced for the first year that they had sent me a different pine because the foliage was so yellow. Otherwise the trees looked healthy enough. I didn't expect much growth in the first year or so anyway. The nursery sent some fertiliser pellets, I wish they'd sent some root fungi instead, but put the fertiliser on anyway. Eventually the foliage turned darker green and I lost only one of the trees in two years.

Golden Korean pine on planting.

I have noticed a difference of several weeks in the leafing out and blossoming of my bought in rowans compared to the local provenance ones. The bought in ones come into leaf much earlier than local ones. This maybe to miss the drying winds we often get in April and early May. So you may see differences batch to batch even once the trees are established.

Fingers crossed yours are just taking a while to wake up!
1 day ago

Mikael Whengate wrote:Angelo, not sure how to send purple moosages.

The easiest way is to click on the name of the person you want to send a message to, that will take you to their profile. Then click on the envelope next to their name and this should open a message window.

Hope this helps.

If you are still struggling, please post in the tinkering with this site forum
1 day ago
Not an absurb question at all. I seem to remember a post on Permies about hunting for caterpillars under uv light - yes here it is!
 Fun can be had!

I found a bit more on UV photography here

Some lovely pictures of flowers there too, but if you dive in there may be some tips of how to "see" like an insect. I seem to remember that foxgloves have uv visible spots that lead the bees to the nectar...

On the subject of protecting your brassica, have you tried mixing them with other plants? I've heard that some insects just see leaves as "green" and can't differentiate their food plant before they land on it. I gather that companion planting underneath or amongst them with a non food source plant like clover means they land on one or two leaves, find they're not food and go away.
It looks to me like the catmint is doing it's job great. If they're landing on that, they're not on your cabbages! I think it's super that your insect population is soaring, hopefully the predator population will soon too and nature will rebalance. As long as they leave you a few cabbages in the meantime!
1 day ago
The date is a BB "best before". It's tinned, so the beans will be fine unless the tin is damaged. I guess if it has been stored in unusually high or low temperatures there may have been some degradation, but not likely to be significant in my experience.

If you have more eggs, diced potatoes go well in a spanish omelette/frittata  too.
2 days ago
Hello Rebecca, and Welcome to Permies!
I'm not familiar with some of your plants, but there are two on your lists that stand out to me as useful regenerative plants.
First is the black medick: as a legume it is a nitogen fixer and should make nitrogen from the air available to the soil network. Second the dandelion has very strong taproot and will pull up nutrients from deeper in the soil. I think sow thistle and prickly lettuce may be biannuals and also have pretty good taproots.
Can you clarify for us what you are hoping to achieve in these areas? Does it basically need to stay as lawn? The backlawn is mowed for you every week, but not the front lawn?
2 days ago
Apart from a bit of rock breaking, I've been concentrating on the Northern area again.

I've started to transplant a few deep rooting plants into the centre of the lower bed - so far skirret and scorzonera. I have plenty of plants of these in more established areas that I have dug and divided. I've put them just inside the lower currant circle. They may stay there, or will be easy enough to dig up if I choose.

The area that I sowed last year with Rye and vetch doesn't look very impressive. I think if they were going to grow away they'd be pretty obvious now.


The grass is starting to grow, but I'm pretty sure it's all the original turf and not the new seed. I dug out my wheel hoe (really was covered with vegetation since I've never used it in anger), and freed off the wheel and lubricated it. I was going to try and scuff up the turf with the wheel hoe, scythe off the vegetation as short as I could and sow into the stubble. The wheel hoe seemed to want to tear the turf out though, so that's what I ended up doing.


I went round parallel to the lower currant loop and took off the turf for about 4 or 5 feet. It was pretty hard work sawing through the turf, so I'm, hoping it will be worthwhile! The bits I threw around the currant cuttings, and the Skirret and Scorzonera I had previously planted just inside the circle, to act as a bit of mulch.


Having scalped the area , I then scuffed it up, sowed in a mix of seeds: some of the green manure mix including clove, mustard, tiller radish, phacelia and ryegrass that I have used on the solar beds, also some large flowered dandelion seeds saved from last year, some sweet cicely (Myhrris odorata), buckwheat, and alfalfa. Some of the seed was pretty old but I thought I might as well use it. I then raked over the area and trod it down. It's been raining a bit since then, so the seeds are nicely watered in. I should have had some chiccory to sow in, but didn't find it when I was sorting out the seeds to use. I could sow some in pots and transplant as growing plants perhaps if the seed turn up.
The weather has turned a bit warmer now, so I was comfortable working in a t shirt until the sun went away and the midges started biting. They're early this year, so it could be a bumper year for them.

One of the two surviving beans in the not-very-lazy-bed has disappeared, but another has sprouted up, so I still have two. I used a couple of cut down pop bottles (previously used as tree vole guards) to push over them to try and protect the sprouts. I've now planted 6 of each of the remaining seeds in deep pots up by the house. Once these bean plants sprout and are a reasonable size, I will transplant them to the growing bed. I may do the same thing with the peas. There seems to be a very good reason not to sow these tasty seeds directly at the moment, so I need to come up with a strategy for the future....
2 days ago