Latest posts by bigolob

Tomato plants

Posted: 07/06/2013 at 18:52

Throughout the country in March, April and early May we all suffered horrendously cold easterly winds - I am in Cheshire, and we all had to sow/grow our Toms in unusual conditions.

I am fortunate in that we have a large heated Conservatory and an understanding wife, in late February on returning from winter hols I sowed the Toms (Unwin`s Gourmet and Gardener`s Delight) on the 15th. They germinated in 10 days and pricked-out beginning of March. I have a 6x6foot GH in which I object to putting on the heating until very late March/early April because of the cost of electricity so they had to stay in 4 inch pots in the Conservatory for much longer than usual.

Since 1999 my wife and I have kept a diary for the garden and with following details of the past years, come June, I find that my Toms are only a week or two behind the average. They have 4-5 trusses of flowers, 5 ft. high and green fruit, the heating is  OFF with night temperatures in the GH of 50-55 degrees (I leave you younger ones to work this out in your European numbers!).

I still hope to pick ripe Toms in another 4 weeks (mid July) and then compare them with past crops. We all have to compensate from one year to another due to our "fabulous" climate but if you can compensate to some degree, you can still achieve a high production.

YES, my Toms will probably cost £2.00 per Tom!!!! but what satisfaction. Better than tasteless supermarket rubbish and all grown by you!

Clay soil and boggy lawn

Posted: 04/06/2013 at 21:00

The bottom of my garden is similar to what you describe. Constantly wet throughout the winter (maybe even a small lake) and very wet through a wet spring and summer as last year.

The answer is to dig a 2 foot deep trench and fill it with whatever rubbish you can find, eg. bricks, gravel, stones, etc. to form a sump.This can take 2-3 years before you notice any improvement in drainage - sorry but there is no fast solution.

However, to make the area acceptable, grow the ornamental grasses which enjoy having their `feet` in water - Miscanthus Sinensis, the Chinese Ornamental Grass which comes in many very attractive forms. There is the Zebra Grass (Miscanthus Zebrinus) - 6 foot green leaves with interesting Zebra type bands along the leaves, Miscanthus Variagata, beautiful long green leaves with long yellow edges to the leaves - grows to 6 foot. Go to your local nursery and buy whatever 2-3 foot plants which enjoy wet conditions - there are many and they will help to soak up the water.

All these plants are common and can be found without difficulty.



Posted: 03/06/2013 at 18:58

Flavour is such a subjective thing. I have grown Shirley, Moneymaker, Ailsa Craig, etc. over the years (many think they have very good flavour) but I have always been disappointed.

I found the variety Goumet (Unwins) and have grown them from seed in late January in the Conservatory for germination and heated GH after pricking-out into 3 inch pots in early to mid February for the past 5 years. Most of the fruit are superb flavour (mid size, as Moneymaker, etc.) but occasionally the odd Tomato is not that good. I do not think we will ever grow a variety which is 100% flavoursome and therefore have to accept that a Tomato with good flavour most of the time will be satisfactory.

My opinion of the "Cherry type Toms is `very good acidic flavour" but try to make a sandwich out of them!!

Hardy Tropical or Mediterranean Plants

Posted: 29/05/2013 at 21:33

There seems to be a problem with WHAT ARE TROPICAL PLANTS.

The climate they live in has a temperature minimum of 85 degrees F. (27 C) every day of the year and most commonly 30 C = 90F. My wife and I are fortunate to spend a big part of January and February in the West Indes each year  where we see in gardens the most exotic plants which could not survive anything near the European climate.

Orchid World in Barbados has a fabulous display of Orchids with plants tied to wooden stakes, no soil or compost but just surviving by their Epiphyte nature from moisture and food taken from the air. There are 30,000 varieties in the 30 acre gardens and what a site! Also Heliconia, my favourite Tropical plant (cousins of the `Bird of Paradise`).

To look upon Bamboo, Dahlias and Begonias as Tropical is ridiculous.

help: bindweed is coming over from neighbour!

Posted: 29/05/2013 at 18:28

Kleeblatt, that`s not Bindweed (Convolvulous) It`s IVY!


Posted: 28/05/2013 at 18:42

Usually due to excess heat in the GH eg. 80-100 degrees. Ventilate with the door and windows open, water well if the pots, bags or soil is dry. You must NEVER allow the soil/compost to dry out even for an hour or two or your Toms will split.

help: bindweed is coming over from neighbour!

Posted: 28/05/2013 at 15:50

I had this problem last year due to the owner next door no longer being able to tend his garden. The Convolvulous invaded my garden wrapping itself around my herbacious plants, shrubs and just about every other thing it could reach through and under the fence.

I got rid of the problem by untying all the Convolvulous stems from my plants, placing them with their roots still attached in a pile and `blasted` them with Weedol systemic weed killer - called "Weedol which kills the roots of weeds" (or words to that effect). The whole infection (sorry to use a Medical term) was removed within 1 week and all the Convolvulous stems were dead both on my side and his.

Wilting Hydranger

Posted: 27/05/2013 at 21:34

Hydrangers are hardy shrubs grown for their delightful summer flowers in the garden. Plant growers try to convince us that they are equally good as house plants - they ARE NOT. Enjoy the plant for as long as it flowers in a pot and then transplant it into a border to give you many years of enjoymant.

Remember, depending on whether your soil is Lime or Acid, it will have pink flowers if Lime or blue if Acid. Look at local gardens to see what is growing. Heathers, Rhododendrons, Camelia, etc. shows the soil to be acid.

However, the soil or pot compost (can be changed to acid by watering with `Sequestrin` with resulting blue flowers. You can buy this from any garden centre.




Tip to keep the slug from your hostas.................................

Posted: 26/05/2013 at 15:27

After 72 years and 43 years in Medical practice I do not have much hair left! Will have to continue with slug pellets.

Runner Beans

Posted: 24/05/2013 at 18:32

Lazygardener I was being facetious and NOT intending to suggest that I was putting a 1 foot deep layer of slug pellets around the beans!!

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