Now here's a thing ...


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I t struck me the other day when someone was talking about saving tomato seed, that the fact that the seed needs to ferment to germinate is not something I knew as a beginner. You scrape out all the soft inside of the tomato and let it get fizzy before you wash out the seeds and dry them. There must be a ton of such info and tips for a beginner, and it's nice not to learn by your mistakes.
I made a start putting up the runner bean bamboos the other day. The first time I did that they fell over in the wind, there is a lot of windage on the plants when they are grown. Don't just go for neat and square, add some diagonals taking into account the direction of the prevailing wind so they will be driven into the ground, not pulled up.
The other thing, after that first failure I wired the bamboos firmly together, and fiddled about undoing it at the end of the season. Get the design right and you can use jute or hemp string and just strip the whole lot off straight into the compost in Autumn.

So, what do you know? The simple stuff that seems like second nature may be news to someone else.
 
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Use a pyramid three or four canes push into soil in a triangle/square and tie the tops together with twine.
I use them for climbing French beans, though usually with more sticks than that. Runner beans I plant in a row, firstly because I put them over a trench, but also they seem easier to pick. They often hang down inside, and grow more densely.
 
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I am all in favour of using string rather than wire or plastic ties in the garden if it is a natural material, like hemp or jute. There are three knots which will deal with almost any situation.
To join on to a stake use the clove hitch. Make a loop in the string and put it over the stake with the loose end down, repeat this twice. As a sailor once told me "Three clove hitches will hold the Queen Mary if the rope is strong enough."
The half hitch is good if you don't have a free end to drop over, take the line around what you are tying to and then over and under the line going in and up through the gap between it and what you are tying to. Again three hitches is as strong as the line.
The reef knot, do the first part of a shoelace bow, right over left, then do it the other way, left over right, and pull it down. It is always the same end goes over, so you can make the knot with the loose end from a ball of string, and if you don't pull it tight the first time you can make a loose loop to hold a plant to a stake without cutting into it.
Of course there are are all sorts of complicated knots, but I find these three simple ones will do everything I need in the garden, hold firmly, and look neat and tidy.
 
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It really is worth labeling seeds as soon as you sow them. Most grown plants you can tell what they are, seeds are just a tray of earth, and whilst you may think you can remember ...
I have planted a tray, left it on the side , and the missus came and picked up the next identical tray and planted that.

I don't much like using plastic if I can avoid it and use wooden lolly sticks on the whole, but if the seeds are going to be warm and damp you may find it turns black and a plastic label is better.
Don't trust 'Permanent markers'. They quite often are not permanent, but fade in full sunlight. The best thing I have found is pencil, a nice soft one so it is good and black. It also has the advantage that it will wash off a plastic label, or rubbing with the blade of a knife will take it off a wooden one, so they are easily re-usable.
 
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Now here's a thing. It is the season of young, tasty, vulnerable plants, and soon we may suffer from slugs. One can hunt slugs, with a torch and a pot of hot water after dark. They can't take the hot water , I think it is a combination of body temp. and lack of oxygen.
However, I would bet that more than one of you will resort to some sort of slug bait. There are traps like beer traps, and there are poisons like iron, but they are baits, they attract the slugs. If you put them near your plants they attract slugs near to your plants. Slugs have homes, they like things like edging they can get under, they also love lawns and compost heaps. Good to get your bait between such places and your plants, if it is hidden away at the back of the bed it is encouraging slugs to cross your plants from the lawn
 
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