Archive for 05/02/2013


Caging our children- a price worth paying to beat the vandals? what are your views on childrens’ play?

Old School Gardener

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Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse

Winter on the Farm

Hannah and I have finally thawed out from the freezing cold and are enjoy the somewhat tropical temperature of 10 degrees down at Gressenhall farm. As I didn’t last time, I shall take a few words to introduce myself, my name is Tom Watson and I am the other half of the Heritage Landscape Management trainee team. We are now four months through the scheme and are still thoroughly enjoying it! Like Hannah, I am an Environmental Science graduate from the University of East Anglia and I have a keen interest in the history of the UK’s landscape and the environment. I have previously worked on a farm and my most of family are linked to agriculture in some way. And so when this traineeship at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse became available it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to gain skills to help me…

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string over canes So what do you use to keep your plants supported and under control? Do you favour ‘old school ties’ (!) or prefer the wide range of modern products now on offer? Here’s a gallery of different types of tie with a few comments based on my experiences- I’d love to hear your views!

Chain lock - can cut the length you require and can be adjusted. Plastic- degrade after a season? Packs of pre cut lengths also available.

Chain lock – can cut the length you require and can be adjusted. Plastic- degrade after a season? Packs of pre cut lengths also available.

Tree belts- sturdy, diferent lengths/ thicknesses, for for use with posts/stakes.

Tree belts- sturdy, diferent lengths/ thicknesses, for for use with posts/stakes.

Plastic/wire twist on reel- can cut to length required and easy to use , but once fixed doesn't have much give, so not good where stems growth expected as it will effectively cut the stem unless loosened in time.

Plastic/wire twist on reel- can cut to length required and easy to use , but once fixed doesn’t have much give, so not good where stems growth expected as it will effectively cut the stem unless loosened in time.

Jute tree ties- softer than plastic/rubber belts, so good where stems are tender/thin. Biodegradeable.

Jute tree ties- softer than plastic/rubber belts, so good where stems are tender/thin. Biodegradeable.

Old nylons/ tights used to secure tomatoes- goos strechability and also soft, so won't damage stems. The recycler's option!

Old nylons/ tights used to secure tomatoes- good ‘stretchability’ and also soft, so won’t damage stems. The recycler’s option!

Raffia- natural product useful for slender stems and a 'natural' look- found it a bit fiddly to use myself.

Raffia- natural product useful for slender stems and a ‘natural’ look- found it a bit fiddly to use myself.

Plastic rings (wire versions also) for linking plant stems to a cane- good room for stem growth & movement, but can chafe the stems? Plastic- will eventually degrade/snap?

Plastic rings (wire versions also) for linking plant stems to a cane- good room for stem growth & movement, but can chafe the stems? Plastic- will eventually degrade/snap?

Suede plant ties- stronger and more durable than jute/cotton, and as soft. Only one length though?

Suede plant ties- stronger and more durable than jute/cotton, and as soft. Only one length though?

Plastic stem supports- fix stems to trellises, fences etc..No experience of these..

Plastic stem supports- fix stems to trellises, fences etc..No experience of these..

Good old fashioned jute twine- different thicknesses and easy to cut and tie stems in- but will only last a season- biodegradeable.

Good old fashioned jute twine- different thicknesses and easy to cut and tie stems in- but will only last a season- biodegradeable.

Individual stems held to wall/fence with nail- I've found these difficult to fix into my walls and also degrade/crack after cold weather.

Individual stems held to wall/fence with nail- I’ve found these difficult to fix into my walls and also degrade/crack after cold weather.

Velcro - easy to cut off the length you need and you can expand the space as the plant stem grows. How well do they last? Some come with a reel cutter that can be fixed to your waist belt, and also come in packs of pre cut lengths.

Velcro – easy to cut off the length you need and you can expand the space as the plant stem grows. How well do they last? Some come with a reel cutter that can be fixed to your waist belt, and also come in packs of pre cut lengths.

Biodegradeable cotton- needs a knot, and will rot fairly quickly? At least no plastics into landfill..

Biodegradeable cotton- needs a knot, and will rot fairly quickly? At least no plastics into landfill..

Strong plastic, of varying lengths/thicknesses - good for tying canes or other structures together- not good for securing plant stems -can't be adjusted

Cable ties- strong plastic, of varying lengths/thicknesses – good for tying canes or other structures together- not good for securing plant stems -can’t be adjusted

Soft tie- rubber/plastic covered wire which can be cut and bent to shape. Soft covering good for cushioning stem, but probably best used on harder stems where a more permanent fix is required- eg roses against trellis.

Soft tie- rubber/plastic covered wire which can be cut and bent to shape. Soft covering good for cushioning stem, but probably best used on harder stems where a more permanent fix is required- eg roses against trellis.

Quizzicals- two more cryptic clues for you:

  • Hello Miss Black
  • A punch up in the water

Old School Gardener

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