Got a Garden?

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by RustyStuff, May 31, 2015.

  1. jb882

    jb882 13HP of fury.

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    I just got a small one last year and i suspect that while it may get warm during the day it will dip too cold in the dead of winter without some sort of heat source. overall I do like it a lot, my wife does too. I don't have a good sunny place in the house to start plants and was able to start plants that i normally take from seed in the ground in april and transplant them in the garden in may and had produce much earlier than i normally do. It has also extended thew wifes fresh herbs that she grows in pots which are normally all done by now. They are still doing great despite the cold nights we have had.

    Next year i'm going to keep an eye on the overnight temps in the greenhouse and see if i can do my own tomatoes and peppers from seed. I have always bought them in the past.

    Here are some pics of it. I built the wife a cedar potting bench with built in dirt storage which she has found immensely useful for all her flower garden stuff. I had to build a wood frame for the bottom because there was a uneven concrete slab where we wanted it to go and i didn't want to hammer it up or replace it. Frame is all cedar, I filled the frame with pea stone and built a walkway as well so we don't kick the stones all over.

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  2. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    ^^^^ looks really nice. Similar size to our, but shiny! I use the pressure washer to give it a spruce up in deep winter.
    I use an anti fungal in the foam dispenser, then lots of rinsing. We don't have much staging in our and it is on the "runway" a concrete standing where a big stables was built. The mess just runs onto the grass. Nice and easy, takes an hour for inside and out.

    Use a Max/Min thermometer, although there is likely a high tech confusogadjet that will do the same, while it has batteries.
    It will indicate the lowest temp overnight and max temp through the day so you can take steps.

    There are a lot of huge food growing glasshouses around here. In summer they whitewash the glass (there is a special stuff, easy on/off for the south sides. In winter they use bubble wrap all over to reduce heat input - but they are growing tender crops like cucumber.

    In our fairly humid area ventilation is vital. In summer - around mid 20'sC - we leave all the doors and vents open all the time, still gets up to 40'sC. Spring, the door gets closed overnight. Although our vent are automatic, which helps.

    Our neighbour has a couple of electric propagators, but we have found the extra day or two is not worth the risk of cooking them if you forget of go on tour.
  3. Trust

    Trust but verify

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    Tiny Korean melon
    IMG_20171013_214635.jpg

    Banana for scale
    IMG_20171013_214707.jpg

    Full size Korean melon
    IMG_20171015_081815.jpg

    Unfortunately, it developed cracks (too much water/rain?), And that promoted the picking. I might have been able to pick it sooner, had I known the time was right..
    IMG_20171015_081838.jpg
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  4. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Looks good, but what was the taste like? Never had - or even seen before a Korean melon.
    We picked up a left over melon plant <just for fun> and far too late in the season. Planted it in our hot spot against the fence. As the season started to cool we covered it with a improvised glass shelter. Had a crop of very small melons of the Cavillion type. One was nice and ripe, the others not so much.
    I did look up the "correct" method, or at least the accepted regime for growing them in our not too warm and not to generous season length. Bugger! sounds a real palava.
    When I lived in Pakistan, they grew them inside a small berm which got flooded every day.

    Main gardening activity now is planning for next year. Lots of browsing of catalogues, cross referencing to find the seemingly obsure but highly recommended varieties without paying a fortune in postage - usually more than a single packed of seeds, itself not cheap these days.
    Got pointed towards a new seed merchant - Kings Seeds here in UK. Decent range and

    Autumn project is to create two new beds. The first in the coolest, moistest part of the garden for salads and perhaps a nursery bed for brassicas as they need planting out while lots of the summer crops are still hopefully burgeoning. The current plan is along the lines of the currently popular 30" bed, for ease of covering/protection.
    Then a large bed following on from the success of the top large bed. We are imagining it will be primarily for more extensive crops, like potatoes and onions.

    Apart from continuing to make compost, made easier since we acquired a few tons of wood chips last week, I will try to get a layer of the rough, unseived compost over all the beds before winter.
    The rest of the wood chips is being used to cover the access and paths round the various beds. This is essential in our wet winters other wise a quick dash out for a picking of kale ends up a 1/2hr decotamination proceedure.
    Any left will get used a mulch for the fruit trees.
  5. Trust

    Trust but verify

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    Best tasting melon I've ever had. Some say a cross between honeydew and cantaloupe, which I'd say is not too far off. Crisp, not overly sweet, firm fruit, very crunchy. Delicious, IMHO.
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  6. josjor

    josjor Long timer

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    Finally harvested my brussels sprouts. History: I was given three plants and due to a dog and a plethora of bunnies in the area, I do a container garden.

    I won't be growing these again. In a container on the Great Plains they are simply too water hungry and the growing season is exactly forever plus three weeks. They were tasty, but the harvest/taste vs. hassle ratio just isn't enough to justify it in my garden.
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  7. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Shame the sprouts were a miss for you. There are grown commercially all around us here, but as a winter crop. We can get them in prime condition for not much. Commonly sold as the whole stalk, the farm shop ones are often twice as long and the sprouts are much denser packed and well as tighter compared to store bought. Like I like.
    Stalk bought, they will last a longer time in storage.

    However we have decided to give them a go next year. The oft repeated advice is to sow into little pots, then grow on in a nursery bed, transplanting out late summer when the beds start to clear of summer produce.
    There are lots of varieties to ensure cropping from autumn through to spring.

    Obviously our conditions are very different, we don't normally have to water brassicas once they are in the ground but we do have to protect from cabbage white butterflies, both large and small. Trying a garlic spray next year, like our professional near neighbours. The fine netting works, but it gets to be a faff moving and working round it. And is unsightly when you can see it from the beer table.

    We have been told about a short but prolific variety, as sprouts hate root rock and should be heeled in really well on planting. We shall stake ours as winds are our biggest winter difficulty.
    Our soil is very rich and friable and getting the roots solid enough takes effort with all the brassicas. I think the "no dig" method we are using may make that easier as the benefits roll out. Certainly pleased with the results and ease so far in our raised beds.
    Most consider sprouts as a cold weather crop, and the flavour really does improve after a touch of frost. We have the gulf stream to thank for having cold enough to kill lots of pests, but not kill too much plant life. Maybe -5C as a short term season low. -10C in an exceptional year, and then not for very long.
    We are at the thick end of Lat 50N.
    Here sprouts are considered extremely cold hardy, but parts of the US are may be too challenging.

    http://www.realseeds.co.uk/brusselsprouts.html seven hills. Real Seeds only sells non sterile and mostly heirloom seeds and encourages seeds saving. Little company in Wales.


    Not done much more than ponder the new beds, pending clearance after the little op.
    The current plan, after building the frames, is to prep as for lazy beds, then throw in all the organic matter we can find.
    We have a pile of mole soil from clearing the grass after mole attacks a few years ago. Also some loam I made from dug out sod. Stacking the turves grass/weeds to grass/weeds and soil to soil, making a little wall. The grass and weeds die, leaving the organic matter and mineral rich soil. Takes a couple of years.
    The covering will be my compost which is sterile, so weeds will (hopefully) be minimal.

    Spent a couple of hours today laying more wood chips. This time as mulch for the north facing rose garden. In all day shadow, it is also in rain shadow, so generous mulching is a benefit.
    Also the hosta bed - they really love a deep mulch and it seems the slugs and snails are not so keen.

    Although light, the rough grind is not so easy to shovel. A couple hours was enough.
  8. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Bitingly cold here. A northeaster straight from Siberia. Forecast of -3C tonight, max +4C tomorrow and -4C on Saturday night.

    The only gardening for a while has been tidying up and moving the more delicate stuff into the greenhouse. Today the little olive tree in a pot got moved.
    Not sure what the lowest temps an olive tree will stand, but I think the French olive stock around Nice got decimated a few decades ago with temps of around -10C.

    We are unlikely top get that low, but it is not impossible. We do get lots of plants with windburn through the winter - fortunately the little olive looked very healthy. Just over 2ft now , from an 8" twig, bought in a French supermarket for not much 5 years ago.
    There are several quite large olives around the area that we know of. Some in large containers and some in the ground inside walled gardens.

    Finished the last of the potatoes last week.

    Current crops: Purple sprouting broccoli, carrots, curly kale, leeks, January King cabbage, celeriac and celery just hanging on.

    Our next years garlic is planted. Due to the difficulties of getting the varieties we wanted of onions and shallots in sets, we are taking the plunge and will be sowing seed of several varieties in February.
    I have been following an English (broadly similar conditions) no dig gardener on utube. He sows about 6 seeds per module and does not thin until they are more or less the size of spring onions/scallions, he says the thinings make great substitute for spring onions, but well before they would be normally available.
    Leaving 3 or 4 to grow on, they don't get huge, but big enough. Worth a try, we're thinking.
    Also supposed to be more resistant to bolting and possibly better storing if grown from seed. We'll see.
  9. gmk999

    gmk999 ____ as a Rotax

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    in the 30s still on Sunday Monday, 70s Tuesday, 80s 90s Wedbesday Thursday. We seem to have opted away from spring this year.

    Peas are up, rasishes, beans (seed) went in today. Strawberries are flowering.. a good start. I will wait till after Mothers day for the rest.
    Happy Garden season All-Y-all!! 20180503_194033.jpg
    10x16.. strictly a hobbiest.. I grow snacks for my and the neighbor kids
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  10. ArcticaMT6

    ArcticaMT6 Been here awhile

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    My fruit trees are starting to show life again

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    And made a bunch more planters last month. Got them about half full since this photo. Rest will be planted probably next week.

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    My Rhododendrons are starting their blooms as well.

    [​IMG]
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  11. Trust

    Trust but verify

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    The fig tree survived!!!

    3598371A-5A03-47D2-ABE6-D07C48CD3DC7.jpeg
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  12. Trust

    Trust but verify

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    Herb garden is scraggly, but half planted...

    E231D60C-20E3-41F1-9303-443AFE90220A.jpeg

    Volunteer potato:

    CB53030F-9E9C-41DE-871D-EC39FC8CBEDA.jpeg

    ...and kale:

    88ABCE30-AE6E-4C65-B0CB-460796E7CE0B.jpeg

    Main garden herbs also survived the winter (mostly)...

    F70BFCF7-AF5D-4CC8-AF18-1BB8C74D5F85.jpeg



    Last year the kale was inedible bitter. Not sure what to do, but hope there’s a way to ease it with this volunteer as practice.
    The goal this year is the herb garden - if that can prosper and get figured out, we may have a good fall crop and enough experience to try the main garden again seriously next year.
  13. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    We are due to plant out most of the seedlings today. French bush and climbing runner beans (Scarlet Emperor) are almost ready as are the tomatoes, aubergines and peppers which will have to wait as we can have frost into June.
    Direct sown salads like corn salad, lamb's lettuce, mustards and baby spinach should be in the ground soon.

    The winter went pretty well. The kale (some curly variety) and cabbages (January King), and purple sprouting along with two varieties of carrot and the usual Musselborough leeks.
    The over wintering broad beads (Aquadulce) got eaten by mice, but the spring sown DiMonica are doing well - flowers and everything. The soft neck garlic survived and is looking good, and the early sown (mid January) shallots are starting to take off.
    The asparagus has been producing for about a month - had a plateful for lunch, then made a soup with the rest for super.
    The apples and plum trees have been full of blossom. This is the last year for the cooking apple unless it produces better - it has been informed of its rights. It was a container grown thing, best of the show in the garden centre, but sad compared to the Czar plum which we got bare rooted from an excellent nursery which is going great.
    Looking for a Cox's Orange Pippin, which should do really well in our conditions, and we have quite a few commercial orchards within bee range so pollination should be OK.

    As there are only the two of us, we have found we can buy salad seedlings for direct planting out to be a better bet than sowing a tray or even just a short row. We live in a very intense market gardening area and can get plug plants in great variety for very little. Half a dozen of the varieties we like or fancy come at about $0.50 - and we can collect them when we need them through the summer.

    The herb garden is due to get a bit of a facelift. It was started when we moved in about 5 years ago, and many herbs have relativity short lives. The rosemarys are still going bonkers - two shades of blue, but the hyssop and winter savoury are looking a bit sad. The bronze fennel is seeding everywhere, a bit of a pest really. We have 3 artichoke plants coming on to grow as an ornamental cluster. We have ended up with a range of sages. A varigated, and a purple are just rampant, but can be chopped back. We have a Russian sage, tall and delicate with a pale blue flower and a Spanish sage, which has big leaves and bold yellow flowers. There is also a very tender one which produces red flowers which I don't know the name of. There are lots of thymes, mostly ground cover, but we sow new culinary thyme each year - I use a lot of that.
    We have 3 bay bushes - they need regular pruning in our soil to stop them getting away from you. Two were bought as not much more than a twig with two leaves, and the other was a rescue from my BiL's family home when his mother died. It had been left out in the cold and died back to ground level. Max cut it hard back and potted it. I kept it in my appartment for 5 years, and planted it out when we moved here. It is a tough old thing. A few leaves got frost or wind scorch over the last winter with the Beast from the East, but they are all covered with fresh leaf shoots now.
    We have a parsley bed too, I like the moss curled and some French flat leaf, which is a bit delicate.

    Planted before we went away, celery and celeriac - both did well last year. Swede and kolhrabi, lots of radish and about 6 varieties of salad.
    We made a new salad/nursery bed over the winter. As well a the lettuce, we are using it for a brassica bed. Brussels Sprouts are doing well, also the swede and kolhrabi are in there too as it is easy to net against pests (pigeons and cabbage white butterflies) and they are delicacies for them.

    Happy and successful gowing.
  14. Trust

    Trust but verify

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    @nickguzzi - questions (if you don't mind)...

    Tell me about your rosemarys - you have a type named 'hyssop'? Do you just plant and ignore them? Someone told me "Rosemary likes to be ignored" (or abused, but I forget which word exactly).
    ... and sages - did you buy from seed or sprout, and how do you care for them? We have only one sage variety, and it did well in the self-watering pot in past years ... I put part of it in the ground and so far it is half good, half yellowed-looking.
    How about the thymes? We just started growing our first kind last year - seeds or sprouts? I'm completely unfamiliar with it, but we could *really* use some groundcover, but prefer something also useful for cooking.

    Do your parsleys come back year after year? I've thought about some of those and a perenial herb would be nice... (aside from rosemary).

    Celery: The one time we grew some it was inedibly bitter. How do you grow it to be tasty?
  15. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Regarding thymes: our last house was a rental, and the garden had not been touched for about 10 years. I clear off the weeds, cut down the trees, the local school had come round and each kid planted a sapling, so 30 trees in a tiny garden. The front of the house had a paved strip a coup of yards wide between it and the street. We bought a pot thyme, for a few pennies, and when it flowered, shook the fresh seeds along the little gravel margin next to the house. Next year lots of thyme.
    There are lots of ground cover thymes, in a whole range of colours. All are edible, but I only use common thyme for cooking as it is easier to pick. And easier to tell which are fresh growth and don't need the stalk removing.

    The rosemary's just grow. It helps to prune them back when new, which makes them bushier rather than taller and leggy. Like lots of Mediterranean herbs, don't cut in to old wood though, only about a third of the new growth.
    There or lots of varieties of rosemary, we seem to have several. The largest - after 4 or so years - is maybe 2 yds tall and a yard and a half across, with pale lilac coloured flowers. The next most vigorous is actually a squat or prostrate variety, with very nice darker blue flowers. But there are quite a few, from white to dark blue. You may have to seek them out though, the "regular"culinary varieties are mostly rather pale.
    You can propagate them easily should you want lots to make a small hedge or border. When they are growing well and have lots of fresh green shoots, I take them about 4 - 6 inches long, and carefully cut them off and pop them into a glass of water. After a few weeks, most, if not all will have little rootlets at the end and can be potted on. Six or so round the edge of a compost filled pot. Being arid loving plants, free drainage is good. Our regular store bought compost mixed 50/50 with sharp sand works OK for us.
    The biggest problem here is that they grow too tall and leggy, and if we get snow, it can break the boughs which they seem to hate. Sometimes to the point of dying. A bit like the no-no of pruning old wood I suppose.

    I must have explained it wrong. Hyssop is a different plant, another Mediterranean/near eastern species, gets a mention in one of the psalms. I remember from school " purge myself with hyssop..." A small compact mound with dark blue/purple pungent flowers which bees love. (pungent may set alarm bells ringing, but it is a good strong, but not overwhelming scent, slightly astringent maybe. The leaves are also scented).
    [​IMG]

    Most of these herbs are from hot, dry and arid places. Good drainage is important here - we get about 13 - 15 inches of rain a year. Most are not all that long lived, so learning the rudiments of propagation is useful. If you have clay, digging in a few sacks of sharp sand in the bed should help. Mulching the ground after planting with small gravel can help too - especially if you get heavy rain.

    Celery is related to carrot and is a marshland plant. which is why they need fertile and moist soil. The are often two varieties available. The self blanching varieties taste better when relatively tightly grown - it is the sun which turns the stems green and hence bitter. The "old" way is to wrap the stalks in a collar of newspaper or soft cardboard or earth them up - this is what I think is called trench celery. We can get that here locally in the autumn, grown in the deep Fenland peat, and sold as dirty celery. Not bitter - better tasting than the self blanching, which is slightly bland in comparison, but far less work.

    We have a lot of sages available, and most grow rather thuggishly if not kept in check. Mostly we just buy a pot - often supermarkets have growing culinary herbs - but the nursery ones tend to do better. And be cheaper, with a wider choice. I'm not sure if all varieties are worth or even possible cooking with.
    The standard green, varigated, and purple, varigated are common everywhere, and grow like the devil. Keep pruned back. I have not tried propagating a sage, most effort is keeping them in check and outing them if they get away from you.
    [​IMG]
    Russian sage is slower growing. Looks great towards the back as it grows quite tall. maybe a yd+ high, cut back over winter. Ours, the leaves look a bit more glaucus, and it takes a few years to get like the picture.
    There are several others which have red or yellow flowers which I can't find pictures of right now.

    Parsley is another member of the carrot family, so it is a biannual. First year it makes the foliage, which we use. Second year it makes seed then dies. So dreams of a perennial plant are misbegotten. If you are lucky, you can grow a small plot where it will self seed for you so giving the illusion of perpetuity.
    As a plant known and used by man since ancient times, there is a suitable amount of folklore about it. It can be notoriously difficult to grow from seed, but like many carrot family plants, the seeds must be fresh for best germination and people will recommend all sorts of ways of maximising the possibilities, like pre-sowing on moist paper or keeping them in the freezer - "vernalising" them.
    We can get a tray of seedlings for $1, so that saves space and stress in the green house.

    Another plant we have, a vigorous self seeder, is borage. Sow once, enjoy for ever. Delicate blue flower, often used here for decoration on food or in drinks.

    [​IMG]
    Another favourite with bees, very free flowering - it will seemingly grow anywhere (and everywhere).

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    An English favourite is a Pimms No1 to go with strawberries and cream while watching the tennis at Wimbledon.
    [​IMG]

    Hope there is something of use.
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  16. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Sowed two varieties of carrot today, Amsterdam Forcing and Autumn King. Both did well sown late last year and gave us carrots all though the winter - still a few left in a bucket of sand until the new crop comes in.
    Also planted out the fennel. They are a sturdy looking bunch and if the bronze variety we have as a decorative is anything to go by, not a plant to allow to go to seed.

    The two varieties of peas Hurst Greenshaft and Alderman (both old heritage types) have started to spurt. I am informed they made about 6" today. Because of the bloody mice, planting out overwintering peas or beans doesn't work, so we raise them in rootrainers. This works very well. At the previous much smaller place, we cut off the tops of 4pt milk jugs and used them as mini greenhouses, and that worked pretty well. Bit ugly though.

    Of decorative herbs rather than culinary ones, we have a group of 3 artitchoke ready for planting out for their architectural value rather than any food they may bear. They will go where we planted the angelica last year. Angelica worked surprisingly well - grew to about 6ft and eventually produced a large flower, then died - which is apparently normal. It is nice to seek out these less common plants to make a focalpoint in something like a herb garden. Thinking cardoon (a sort of 10 ft tall thistle) for next year. Supposed to be edible, but you have to be hungry.

    We have two herb spaces. Originally it was going to be strictly culinary in one and medicinal/decorative in the other. As things turned out, they became mixed. Which is perhaps for the best.
    Turning over some parts of the bed earlier, I was reminded how clay the soil can be in parts away from the peat and where I don't add compost every year. Most fragrant/Mediterranean herbs like or even need free drainage, so a sack of sharp sand or fine grit helps. Especially a handful directly under the plant at planting time.
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  17. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

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    Potatoes went in couple weeks ago. Tomatoes went in today before the t-storms arrived. Melons,cucumbers,zucchini,beans and corn to go. Will be doing spinach and broccoli for fall harvest. Considering a late planting of Purple Elite carrots. Maybe-maybe not.
  18. erda

    erda Been here awhile

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    Nice job!

    Just a couple of questions: why did you build it with a short “fence” around the out side? Secondly, it appears that the fence sections are removable- could you provide details as to how you did it, and have you found it durable?

    Thanks.
  19. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    We did some purple carrots a few years ago. Nice flavour, not much different to any decent carrot though. Looked nice on the plate.

    Set up the curly training poles for the outside tomatoes today - not likely to go in before June though.
    Potatoes have been in for 5 weeks now. We do have some flower buds. A modern variety and an heirloom. The latter is rather uneven. We shall see how it performs, yield and flavour.
    I am trying to do "no-dig" and potatoes are a bit anti, with trenching and all. I found some one who recommended shallow planting and with only a mulch covering.
    A bit experimental, and I will have to keep and eye on earthing up.
  20. ArcticaMT6

    ArcticaMT6 Been here awhile

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    Definitely springtime. My outbuilding is being overtaken.

    [​IMG]
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