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i am only just starting to garden and i have to say am very fscinated on how u can get seeds of your own plants. many of you will probably think that i am ver far behind which i am. But is it just a case of kepping peas and potatoes and planting them nex year wehn the time is right? or is there something that your suposed to with them, because i have just grown some peas and potatoes myself. please could someone help?
I plant wee leeks every year to grow for their flowers - they're good tall alliums. and I've found if you cut off the stems when the seed heads are ragged, but leave the root, they often grow on for another year or two. though I don't know that I'd like to try eating them then...
Not a lot of point saving the seeds if they are from F1 plants. It would pay to check.
I have tried saving seeds in the past which was ok with things like tomatoes, beans, etc but no joy with flower seeds. Then last year I read about keeping them in cool place ie fridge and great! lots of Helebores and Evening Primrose and more
Jamie - save blemish-free potatoes from a haulm which has given a good yield and , at the end of their season, leave some beans and peas on their plants to dry. Seeds are best kept dry in a plastic container with a lid, in the salad compartment of your fridge. The old heritage varieties are the best for saving.


Chiswickian, whilst I agree with your comments on Jane Moore, surely Joe Swift's sometimes bumbling approach to things is the whole point: showing that just about anyone can have a successful time out in the garden. Further, his garden designs are worth noting and he is a perfect foil for the Hitman and Her!
Blackfly on my runner beans! I have picked them off by hand and sprayed with washing-up liquid. I dont use any pesticides in my garden, it is for wildlife, unfortunately my neighbours garden has gone back to native woodland due to neglect and there is no control there for pests, but I am totally organic and have to a certain extent, got the slugs under control. If anyone has any tips re the blackfly, I would be grateful. I grow lavander as much as possible under vunerable plants.
my compost bin has lots of flies in it not nice to lift the lid is this healthy not what I expected.
For the aphids. I got this tip from a video on Gardeners world. Boil a rhubarb leaf and use the cooled liquid to spray the aphids. I tried it and it has worked for me.
Well I do agree that the allotment blog is good and I am not a beginner, having been gardening for 30+ years, however there is always something new to discover and I do think that Joe Swift is great for the fun he introduces. It is also very nice to have a relief from the very worthy current presenters of GW. I do not necessarily wish to grow my plants in old oil drums and am quite happy to carry on the 'good old way' but it has been fun to see his strange shaped beds etc. develop. You can still be original without having to be totally 'right on' and I think he proves this. Keep right on Joe!
Blackfly - I grow "sacrificial" plants near by that they (hopefully) like more - nasturtiums particularly. Also cardoons (need lots of space for these), and ornamental thistles which they love. Also I walk the ladybirds round to the right plants!!
reply to Tommy re flies in compost - are they teeny black ones? If so, they are fruit flies and 'OK'. If not, stir in loads of shredded newspaper and don't put in any bread or similar while it is the thundery late summer weather - those grotty bluebottles just love it (you can get away with just about anything earlier in the year). Works for me!


What causes my cauliflower heads to open up early on before large enough, also to a lesser degree my Broccoli.I bend the leaves over to keep the cauliflower heads white.
For blackfly and aphids on my allotment, I use a mixture of rhubarb leaves and water. Pack some rhubarb leaves into a watering can and fill with water and leave for a couple of weeks. The smell that this makes is ungodly!!, but I have found that it has lessend the problem significantly. As rhubarb leaves are poisonous to us anyway, this is a good way to use them up!!
Is it O.K to put rose cuttings into the compost heap? I have heard that roses are toxic to some plants but want to use the compost all around the garden if possible. Can anyone help with this please.
I have lots of little black flies in my house and think they are coming from the compost used for my plants. If so is there any remedy.