Helen's Garden Renovation Project

Monday 17 December 2007

Gardening and Psychology

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 1:51 pm

I am now the proud possessor of a first class honours degree in psychology from the Open University, so I think it is time I started writing psychology gardening puzzles as well as maths gardening puzzles. Here is the first:

A gardening psychologist wants to find out whether gardeners derive more satisfaction from growing plants if they eat them. She sets up two conditions and participants are randomly assigned to each condition. In the first condition, the gardeners grow solanum lycopersicum (tomatoes) and in the second condition, the gardners grow solanum dulcamara. In each condition, half the participants (again, chosen at random) eat the fruit, and half leave it to the birds.

Identify one ethical problem with this experiment.


Friday 14 December 2007

Too cold for weeding

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 1:42 pm

Today I moved some of my portable herbaceous border to nearer the house. It doesn’t get as much light there, but it does get some shelter from the cold. I wondered whether I should leave the fallen beech leaves in the pots to provide some insulation, or whether I should take them out in case they cause the plants to rot. I decided to take them out, since it is forecast to be a milder than average winter, which probably means rain. Many of the pots are infested with weeds, but I can’t pull them out because the soil is like a brick.

I inspected my new water butts, and found that three of them are pretty full. Unfortunately the new ones are leaking from the tap. The fourth butt had only a little water in it, so I tipped the water out and put PTFE tape around the tap, like I did on my first water butt. A plumber told me that PTFE stands for “Plastic tape, fixes everything”. Quite right.


Monday 3 December 2007


Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 11:16 am

I have made some actual progress by getting a man in to wire up my water butts. As I said in an earlier post, I have four water butts, but I originally intended to have only three. I have two of them fitted in series to a downpipe at the east side of the house, and the other two will be fitted, again in series, at the west side of the house. They are not installed yet because the rainsaver attachment was too small for my downpipe, and needs an attachment to make it fit. So for now there is a gap in my downpipe. The work took place on Saturday, and on Sunday it rained pretty much all day, so I was pleased to find that one of the water butts was about one-third full. This is not a bad start. The forecast for the winter is: slightly milder than usual, and lots of rain. So I should be able to fill all four of the butts ready for the summer. Last summer I didn’t need to water my portable herbaceous border much, but I expect summer will be back to normal next year.

Apart from that I have carried on with the weeding (still not done, but getting there) and have tidied up my garage a bit because I have agreed to help Father Christmas store a bulky present for the children of one of the neighbours. It is still not tidy enough to store a greenhouse, but it is a big improvement.