Olive Doreen

by Olive
(Hampshire UK)

I'm almost 79 years old and I just love growing vegetables; one of my pleasures is in pulling a few radishes, washing them in a bucket of rainwater and eating them in the garden. Perhaps, though, best of all, is eating peas straight from the pod. I have to grow lots so that some of them make it to the kitchen.

However, I am being beaten by horsetail/marestail. It is utterly rampant in my kitchen garden and I am no longer able to weed properly (I'm arthritic and do most of my gardening on my knees) and my husband is at the moment bedridden and needing my attention at least once an hour. I have just been out with a pair of shears to cut the horsetail down from round the onions and the peas.

If I could grow all things I want to grow in troughs and containers, I think I can beat that horsetail. I like to grow broad beans, peas, runner beans, all types of brassica, especially Brussels sprouts, broccoli, savoy cabbages, cauliflowers (both summer and over wintering ones), parsnips, carrots, leeks and potatoes. Oh, and onions and some salad crops too.

Has anyone any comments to help me.

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Jul 11, 2013
That dratted horsetail!
by: Olive Doreen

Further to my earlier comment, I have now found that the peas, in particular, haven't cared tuppence for the horsetail. That weed has kept the roots of the peas moist and I have a really good crop this year. I am about to go out and pick as many as I can, for lunch and for the freezer (and to eat while I'm picking!) The runner beans aren't doing so well so I've just cleared the weeds from round them but the potatoes, the marrows, the brassicas and the leeks are all doing very nicely.
I am so looking forward to next season as my two sons are putting their brains together and planning the building of raised beds for the whole kitchen garden (24ft x 54ft). What I need to know is whether I shall have to grow dwarf runner beans if they are in a bed raised to 18". Has anyone else grown a dwarf variety and was the crop any good, please?

May 27, 2013
Reply about the "horsetail herb"
by: Glenn Roberts

Hi there dear,
Yes some things can get away from you and get unruly.
I have one comment that could help you with your plantings. I have always used a good thick layer of sugarcane mulch around anything I plant. I plant mostly in containers as it’s easier these days. The sugarcane mulch helps in so many ways Olive. It keeps the plants moist when it’s hot, it enhances surface root growth, and it keeps the weeds out and also conditions the soil when it breaks down, so a Win Win situation all around. Anther quick tip I would like to add, when it’s time to put some dolomite, or maybe some slow organic fertiliser to help your veggies along, pull back the sugarcane mulch, add what’s needed, and replace the mulch and lightly water. It has worked the treat for me and my friends for as long as I can remember.
Cheers for now, hope this has helped.

May 26, 2013
Horsetail is a medicinal herb
by: Rick from CGFF

Hi Olive, Not sure if you are aware, but the horsetail is a medicinal herb. Maybe you could use the horsetail for health benefits. Worth looking up what it's capable of.
I made a brief video a few years ago about it here:


Best wishes

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