Filed Under (Gardener) by admin on 28-05-2013

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Alan and Bob Garden  Maintenance

0121 4214973 or 0121 4229535 Mob 07531850659

Hedge Cutting
Lawns Maintenance
Turfing
Trees Felled / Lopped
Pruning
Fencing
Slabbing
Ponds
Jet Washing
Patios

 

 

We also provide a weekly or fortnight service at a fixed price so you can sit back and enjoy your garden. Fully insured – Also see us in the yellow pages.



Will it hurt the grass seed in any way?

What I do for best grass seed results is mix the grass seed with equal amounts of organic lawn fertilizer. Organic won’t burn the new growth as chemicals might. Then I get some potting soil and cover the seed/fert. mixture with a very light dusting of the soil to keep the seeds in place and the birds from eating it.

Water every morning and evening till it germinates. Then just keep it damp for a few weeks till it starts growing well. Then just normal lawn care.



Filed Under (Gardener) by admin on 13-05-2013

I have just brought a small greenhouse (6.6" x 6.6") i want to start growing veg & bedding plants from seeds, can anyone tell me if i need to heat it over the summer, any tips for growing veg would be good.
Thank you.
I live in the west midlands U.K

trouble in the summer is getting rid of heat. there should be vents built into your greenhouse if not plan on leaving the door open at least during the day. It can get well over 100 on a bright sunny day that in itself is a warm/hot day.



They have grown too big for the tank – I have a pond outside with other goldfish in – will the 2 who have been inside be OK in there, or are there ‘inside’ fish and ‘outside’ fish. Thanks in anticipation of your advice!

Goldfish are extremely hardy. put them in a bag and float it in the pond first so that they can get used to the temperature, leave them for about two hours then release them. just make sure your pond is netted so that cats and birds etc don’t get them



We moved into the house over the winter and the fish pond was semi drained, not covered & did not have any fish. As I don’t have the time to maintain an active fish pond, I would like to turn it into some type of decorative water feature. Any ideas?

Sure you can and easily. Drain the pond, do not put plants or fish in it. Use chlorine like you would in a swimming pool to keep the water clean and clear. You can add a bubbler or use your pump any way you wish for something decorative. I have a large pot with a hole in the bottom. I have a tube running from the pump into the hole, so the water comes out the top and falls down the pot on the outside. It looks great.



I have now put fishing wire all the way around but I have heard that herons return to the same pond until they are sure there is no free meals left. I don’t feel confident enough to restock straight away – it is only thin wire after all! So how long is it the right time?

so sorry to hear of the Heron attack. Nature can be cruel sometimes, but the Heron would have truly enjoyed his meal. Will you continue and put more fish in the pond?
Have you the chance to get an ornamental heron as I have heard quite often that Herons will not come down if they see another Heron. You do need to move it round sometimes or they will realise it is not real.
Another thing is to cover the pond with a net, but I find them unsightly. They will do the trick though.
I am lucky and although Herons are always at a nearby RSPB reserve they haven’t stopped at my pond, but a Magpie did once eat my diamondback sturgeon.

Herons can also bring suprises !
My visiting Heron regurgitated a Black Comet from someone elses pond and has been living well in my pond for two years now.
Probably a good exchange for a couple of frogs.

Considered to be the world’s best fisherman, herons have an unmistakable shape and are superbly equipped for their lifestyle. This magnificently marked bird has a keen eye for ponds, however small and are particularly attracted by colourful ornamental fish in crystal clear water.
These offer a much easier proposition to a hungry heron which would otherwise spend its time waiting very patiently on the bank of a murky lake or river fishing for camouflaged coarse fish.

The incidents of heron predation on koi and garden ponds appears to be on the increase as they try to keep up with the continued rise in popularity of ponds and water features.

Heron Problems
Beside the obvious fish losses, there are other problems related to heron activity around garden ponds.

Spread of disease.
There is a real risk of the spread of disease through heron activity, as they move freely between natural and artificial water bodies. Just as a honey bee moves between flowers, picking up and transferring pollen wherever it goes, the same can be said of herons and disease. If a heron has recently left a wild fish population with typical levels of disease, then it is possible for such diseases to be transferred to a garden pond.

Stress
Perhaps the first sign that a heron has visited a pond is the sudden reduction in the tame behaviour of fish, remaining in deep water to avoid being taken by a heron. Some pond fish have been known to become so shy and reluctant to surface that their owner has believed that all the fish have been taken, only for them to reappear a week or so later from their sanctuary. Repeated heron visits will add further to your fishes’ stress.

Damage
Herons have been known to pierce liners through misguided stabs at fish. I have also seen fish that have been by skewered by a heron, but being too large to be eaten just left on the pond side. Finding your prized fish under these circumstances can perhaps be harder to bear than not finding them at all. Herons can also leave their calling card by making the tell-tale V notch scar across the back of fish that have escaped from the jaws of this avian predator.

Counter Measures
A real issue with heron predation is that if successful on a visit, a heron will return to a pond to fish again. The heron is a protected bird so no matter how protective we feel about our ponds and their contents, there is a limit to the counter measures we can take. So if we suspect or wish to prevent a problem, what options are open to us to prevent the problem?

The barrier method.
The only guaranteed method of preventing losses through heron predation is by covering the pond with tight netting that is fixed well above the pond. However, anti-predator netting detracts from the pond and seems to defeat the object of having an ornamental pond. A compromise is to erect a pergola above the pond, that may be well covered with shading or climbing vegetation. However, this will not prevent a heron from landing and walking up to the pond edge and fishing.

Lateral Thinking
a. Invisible lengths of fishing line

stretched around the perimeter of a pond will startle an unsuspecting heron if it strides across it, causing it to fly off. This method can complement a pergola and relies on the observation that herons will not land directly into a pond but walk into the water having landed on terra firma. However, some bereaved koi keepers will strongly dispute this theory.

b. Protective Drain Pipe

A couple of sections of drainpipe, placed horizontally on the pond bottom offer heron-proof cover for fish. It relies on the fish being quick enough and the heron not being patient enough to wait for the fish to leave their cover.

Heron Scarers
Traditional. Bamboo see-saw arrangement where water gradually feeds into a hollow open-ended section of bamboo, tipping the balance and causing the sudden movement and rush of water. It is also quite pleasing to look at and complements the Japanese feel of a koi pond.
Innovative. i. A trip-wire assembly where tight fishing line is stretched across the path of access for the heron. Upon touching the trip wire, a spring-loaded ‘cap’ is fired to startle the heron. Unfortunately, the system does not reset itself so the heron is free to revisit unchallenged.
An infra-red sensor, strategically positioned around the pond triggers a random jet of water, fired from the heron scarer. Also useful against cats.
Imitation
Herons. Imitation herons work on the principle that herons are territorial and will not fish together. However, I have seen a group of at least 14 herons sitting together in one corner of a field! Imitation herons have mixed reviews. I recall being at an aquatic shop, overhearing a disgruntled pondkeeper who had recently bought an imitation heron, only to be revisited by the real thing. I had a little smile to myself when I heard the retailers cute reply, "Well sir, you see I sell male herons, so you must have been visited by a female".

Predators. A heli-kite is similar to a helium filled balloon, but it is not as buoyant and has fins which help it to ‘hover’ and move around in the wind. If tethered well above a pond, it can intimidate a heron as it simulates a hovering bird of prey. They have been shown to be very effective over fishing lakes, even deterring cormorants. Home made versions can be put together using a foil helium balloon, so long as your neighbours don’t object to a permanent min Zeppelin hovering over your garden.

If there was a single reliable way of preventing herons from being a real threat to our fish then all of these devices and methods would be redundant. Some are more suited to specific situations and experimentation with various methods will show what works in your situation.

But by then it may be too late!



I have a bag of grass seed that is several years old and I wanted to overseed my lawn this fall. Will the results be limited because the seeds are about 3 years old?

An exact answer I can’t give, but I can tell you last fall I found an opened bag of grass seed from when we first moved into our house 5 yrs ago. I took them and threw them on some bare spots (only dirt showing) in the backyard…my dad and boyfriend (who does landscaping) said that will never grow you should have just tossed them out! I didn’t water or prep the ground at all…just fertilized as usual in the spring…and guess what I have beautiful grass where I threw the seeds lol!

So my opinion is throw them down since you already purchased the bag and if it doesn’t work you only lost the time it takes to overseed.

Good Luck!



Filed Under (Uncategorized) by admin on 20-04-2013

I have a small garden pond that I am eventually planning on adding comet goldfish to. The problem is, we have raccoons, opossums, and cats around our area, so I am worried about the safety of the fish. So, I was wondering how I could protect them.. is there something I could make/buy to keep them safe.. any help would be appreciated.

Netting won’t work like the other person said, all of those predators can rip it apart. I’d go with chicken wire you can probably come up with something to hold it down like stakes, or you can just use big rocks or bricks just to keep it held down. Its not expensive to buy and a lot more durable than netting would be. You can probably just buy its at Lowes or Home Depot, not sure whats around where you live but there has to be some sort of hardware store near you. If you don’t know what chicken wire is (I’m surprised if you don’t) but its wire mesh like what people use to build rabbit hutches and what not.

Best of luck :)

EDIT: How big is the pond? Not that big if there is just goldfish right?



Filed Under (Gardening) by admin on 24-10-2013

i need to build a garden shed / workshop because i can’t really afford to buy a ready made one .what is the cheapest yet still strong and lasting way to do this . it needs to be at least 10ft x 10ft with double doors,it will be stood on a concrete base so would be no need for a floor.

Why don’t you try and buy a used one instead of all the chew of building it?

Also have a word with your local DIY store because they will damaged stock which they sell off cheap, many sheds are delivered with panel damage and are easy to repair.
I used to manage a big store and sheds are a bit of a pain, some are delivered with the wrong panels so again this might be an opportunity for you.
You can join panels from two small sheds together to get it to your size.

Another option could be to use fence panels but they will need some extra support.