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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Sat May 30, 2020 12:38 pm

And as they quote in Monty Python; 'Now for something completely different!'---------When?
The Covid 19 remorselessly drags on as we continue to self isolate, but, a light at the end of the tunnel has been spotted apparently.
Don't hold your breath though, I'll bet it's just some silly bugger with a torch, bringing us more problems!
Garden-wise, I have had a bonus year on just about every fruit bush or tree, so I will have the pleasant problem of excess fruit again; our freezers are just about recovering from last years fruit growing success.

All you pond keepers, here's something for you to check out, my 55w UV filter tube was changed on 2nd April this year and after the initial bright sparkly clear water brought about by tube change it started to get quite green and murky within about 4 weeks.
Thinking it might be caused by the continuous bright sunshine we've enjoyed I treated the water with some small well diluted doses of Hydrogen Peroxide and added a further air stone.
It worked initially but soon reverted back to murky within days so I decided to replace the UV tube with a new one and that's when I discovered the cause.
When I removed the UV tube I noticed that there was very slight condensation on it and the rubber sealing grommets that fit on either end of quartz tube were slightly out of alignment. I slid quartz tube out to clean it and when removing rubber ring seals I noticed that one of the rubber ring seals was perished.
The cracking and crazing on perished rubber seal had allowed a tiny amount of moisture to penetrate through to UV tube causing it's early demise.
I then very carefully checked the two screw in plastic end fittings with two rubber sealing rings on either one that allow tube ends through to electrical contacts on either end.
Both of these had slightly crazed rubber sealing rings so, erring on the side of caution, I replaced all six ring seals.
4 weeks on and despite the continuous sunshine, my water remains perfectly clear.
Since purchasing this TMC 55 watt UV filter about six years ago, I have replaced these seals twice, however it seems they would possibly need replacing every two years!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Thu Jun 04, 2020 8:38 pm

I've just had to replace my TMC 110w UV, again after about 6 years of use, I'm pretty certain it was the condenser unit that had packed up.

I saw when I visited Quality Nishikigoi for the G&S that the EA 110w unit were similarly priced so there was no benefit changing to the EA unit especially as it would have meant altering quite a bit of pipework. Spare parts for the TMC units are readily available but it seemed quite a big job to replace the condenser unit.

I could see on the club's facebook page a debate about a source for 55W UV bulbs but I don't think you'll find them in the local electrical store as some were suggesting trying.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:14 pm

I have found that the TMC unit is pretty simple to service, the caveat here is to always to wear surgical rubber gloves, particularly when removing bulb or quartz sleeve. The source of UV bulbs is always a quandary, the best were made by Dutch company Phillips and now made in Poland for them, they seem to work the longest but so saying, the cheaper ones are really hit and miss. I have previously posted an article on my trip to TMC in Stockport and what their engineer commented on their own UV lamps made by Philips not carrying any guarantee beyond their premises and this was borne out later. Arcadia bulbs made in Hungary are one lamp I have paid as little as £11.00 buying four, the same with Pisces UV lamps, manufacturer unknown and Greenclear another brand name but again source unknown but all toward the cheaper end of market on internet. Aquatica-UK was selling Evolution Aqua 55w T8 at £12.35 P&P inclusive was the cheapest quoted recently on eBay but they have been out of stock for past month or so, same lamp is around £17.00 to £20.00 on other sites.

Bradshaw's have a very good diagram of the workings of the TMC 55w UV filter on their website, it's showing very clearly how to fit a new bulb or quartz tube to UV.

On a different note I'm back to watering pots again this week and was getting water out of my water butt next to greenhouse when I noticed a slight movement in the water.
It was a huge dragonfly larvae around 2" long crawling out to metamorphose, it's wings were clearly visible under its carapace.
I left it to change in peace as they eat midges; lots of them!
.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:31 pm

Forgot to mention yesterday but I lost another fish to the heron last week,
another one of my 8 small prize koi from last year, a Hi Utsuri about 9" long was blocking my 4" intake pipe from bottom drain to pond filter and was discovered when I attempted to flush filter out. It had been stabbed through like the Golden Rudd on the 7th April this year and sunk to bottom to die.
Some good news though is the small Kuhaku koi with the herons beak grab marks on has made a full recovery.
It still has white scars clearly visible just behind its gills though.
I think what saved koi is it was too heavy to lift out of pond and was grabbed and not stabbed as Rudd and Hi Utsuri were.
The shallow end is netted off so it must have been standing on parapet on deep end.
There are now lots of obstacles along pond parapet to stop it from standing there again.
One addition to previous post on UV lamps or bulbs is that Evolution Aqua lamp is made for them by Osram: in China!.

Our two wildlife ponds are still home to lots of partly developed toad tadpoles, the frog tadpoles are now bona fide miniature frogs and scattered around garden so now, before mowing lawn we go around with a bucket rounding them up.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:51 am

Due to the very welcome rain early this morning I went browsing on t'internet and searched on Aquatica-UK site on eBay.
This was mainly to see if more of the Evolution Aqua 55 watt Osram G55T8 bulbs had arrived that were advertised at £12.35. Still none in yet but: Aquatica-UK had the same 55 watt T8 bulb from Dutch company Philips and made for them in Poland at an eye-watering £29.95 each. No wonder the other one isn't in stock!
Bye the bye, Aquatica-UK will sell you six for the reduced price of £18.32 each!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:53 pm

The fruit crops continue to surprise me this year, it looks like a bumper crop of blackberries, this is one of three bushes!
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Healthy crop of thornless blackberries 2020.jpg
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:20 pm

All my fruit trees seem to be doing very well this year with the best crop of cherries I've ever had.

It's a busy time in the garden at the moment picking raspberries, strawberries and blackberries with the gooseberries and blackcurrants also starting to ripen. I'm also expecting a bumper crop of apples and pears as well as some Denbigh plums later in the summer.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:06 pm

Good to hear you'll get some Denbigh plums this year Colin, a chap I know who lives locally with 9 or 10 Denbigh plum trees has hardly a plum on this year. He never watered any of his fruit trees throughout the drought of April and May, the disastrous result is, his garden/orchard is now strewn with hundreds of small fruitlets, plums, apples and pears.
Unfortunately his garden is too well drained! the orchard end of his garden is raised about 3 or 4 feet above the roads that pass either side.
Without rain for two months near enough and all the trees roots near to road walls were subjected to drought conditions.
No water meant no roots feeding either, resulting in most of the trees throwing off their embryo fruit (and a lot of leaves!).

Fortunately I'm not on a water meter yet so the lawn sprinkler has been left on throughout a lot of nights between April and May this year, watering my fruit trees as well as the lawn.
Most things seem pretty prolific but my Opal and Jubileum plums which pollinate my Denbigh plum have had a pretty poor year this year, so the Denbigh plum is not as good as last year.
In direct contrast to this, the Victoria and Marjorie's Seedling plums growing next to them have a huge crop on this year.
Weird or what?

A chap in St Asaph rang me this morning to tell me that while he was at work yesterday squirrels and birds have eaten his entire crop of cherries on three trees and every gooseberry off 4 large bushes.
I have had the same problem but just about got the nets on the Morello cherries before they all went, same with my two standard gooseberries.
I saw 7 blackbirds attacking them this week before I netted them.
They too would have been mostly gone by now without nets.
We are going to build fruit cages this winter for next years crop but haven't decided on type yet.
Bought ones are too expensive for the size we want, so; watch this space.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:40 am

Blackbirds like strawberries even more than cherries. Luckily I got the netting over the cherries in time this year, I've also got a net over the strawberries but still have problems with the occasional blackbird. My gooseberries are also inside the fruit cage so safe from predators.

The fruit cage is aluminium framed and was a good investment some 30 years ago. It's looking a bit the worse for wear now after I forgot to remove the roof netting before the first snowfall a few years ago.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Tue Jul 28, 2020 12:06 pm

After this years frantic efforts to cover a larger than usual crop, I have eventually bitten the bullet and invested in a 6 metre by two metre aluminium fruit cage for my goosegogs and Josterberries. I have another one lined up for my Morello cherry tree of two metres square, now I have to prune the outsize cherry tree to fit inside, after I collect the last of this years bumper crop; from a stepladder!
I think that a fruit cage was an eventuality as the various fruit was getting too much to cover/drape with netting, also the odd blackbird or two were still getting in creating havoc.

The snow is a problem if you leave finer mesh netting of an inch or less on through winter that collects snow.
I watched an excellent demo on youTube were the fruit cage had large mesh netting to protect fruit buds in winter from birds but let snow drop through and later in spring allow pollinating insects in.
In the event of a late frost during flowering time, micromesh was used just on roof of cage to protect blossom below but pollinators still had free access through sides. Later on in season it had this much finer micromesh net draped over larger mesh net on top area of domed fruit cage to protect ripening crop from excess heavy rain and also insect and small bird attack down sides, it certainly worked. After crop is harvested, micromesh was removed for winter leaving the larger net on.

Keith's poly-tunnel finally convinced me of suitable seasonal cover after seeing his unmarked fruit recently.
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