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Latest posts by Boater

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tomato growbags

Posted: 25/04/2015 at 22:59

The biggest ones you can find!

Homebase growbag plus are 40 litres, a lot of the supermarket ones are only 20 litres, the ones Monty uses in videos here look like they might be even bigger. Remember to drop the bag a few times and give it a good battering to break up and loosen the compost before you cut the holes - not much chance of growing much if you leave them compacted like bricks.

Seems like pots may be better, but I got pretty good results with bags last year and have laid my conservatory out to suit bags - I may however add some grow rings this year same as you are planning to.

cold snap and potatoes

Posted: 25/04/2015 at 22:47

Severity of frost depends where you are, tonight's forecast for here (W central Scotland) has improved to 1C, tomorrow night is forecast -2C, but then today was forecast last night to be rainy and I haven't seen a drop all day (although it was dirzzly last night).

Spuds seem to grow fast once they get going, I spotted shoots in the other 2 bags first thing and by this evening they were much bigger!

cold snap and potatoes

Posted: 24/04/2015 at 23:49

My plan is to earth up and wrap some horticultural fleece around my bags, I may very well put the poly tunnel over the top, although I met let them soak up some rain first to save on watering.

I'd be interested to see advice from people who grow them regularly though.

Advice on lawn problem

Posted: 24/04/2015 at 22:28

Some excellent advice here:

First thing - don't use combination treatment if you want to seed, apparently the worst thing you could do!

Did you scarify (using blades) or just rake well? I scarified and raked mine recently and the results were scary! either way you probably have started out right, I may have gone a bit too far.

Next thing is deal with compaction, cheapest option it to use a garden fork to aerate it, the website explains all the options though. It takes ages with a fork, and it seems that you should do it fairly frequently to be properly effective.

Next seed - you sprinkled it on and then what? Apparently it needs good soil contact to germinate so it is recommended to trample it in or use a light roller (I know seems counter-intuitive having just de-compacted the soil!) to make sure it is pressed firmly onto the soil.

After that it needs water and warmth - it won't germinate if the climatic conditions are still to cold, and I suspect this is why there is no evidence of germination on my overseeded lawn yet, although the initial flooding after I sowed it can't have been good. The good news is that the existing grass is coming back quite nicely, although slower than the weeds, so I'll need to deal with them once it looks lush enough to walk on again. I may also try overseeding again now the weather has improved.

If it doesn't rain you probably need to water it, I have finally bought a sprinkler and timer to help with this, but make sure you don't have a hosepipe or sprinkler ban heading into the summer.

Fertilizer is also a really good idea at this point, but not a multipurpose type. Use a straight fertilizer suitable for using with lawn seed, don't use moss killer, and make sure the dilution is right - over concentrating it will also be bad.

Lawnsmith seem to sell everything you could need, unfortunately I found them after I had already bought what I thought I needed....


Posted: 24/04/2015 at 21:58

Check your planning regulations in case there is a restriction on fence height within a certain distance from a road - I know screening is not a fence but it might be considered the same. It may be the 4-1/2 foot high section is that height to avoid needing planning consent.

Round here the restriction to fence height doesn't seem to apply to hedges, although I cut mine down to the lower height at the front so I could see to get the car out of the drive.

Hedgehog or rats

Posted: 23/04/2015 at 18:50

Make sure your traps are against a wall with the baited side to the wall - I'm not sure exactly why but it seems to be to make sure the rats (or mice in mouse traps) are in the right position for the trap to kill them. Near the wall because the travel along walls not out in the open.

Wear gloves to avoid getting your scent on the traps or bait.

Consider that mice will also like the same bait as rats and may be small enough for the trap to snap shut without touching them....

I'm not sure about spring traps outdoors where any beasties could set them off, I'm trying a poison bait box for my 'rat' (bound to be more than one) and really hoping it does the trick.

I looked into other methods - humane traps sound great (especially because you can release anything else you catch in error) but it is illegal to release a live black rat or grey squirrel in the UK so you need a method to kill them in relatively humane way after you capture them (starving to death or drowning are not considered humane enough). On private land in England you could use an airgun, but probably not in an allotment. In Scotland it seems we will be getting an airgun licensing law later this year where you would need a good reason to get a license, vermin control is a good enough reason, but apparently not if you are doing it in a small or urban garden, so I'll be staying well clear of airguns. Also you need to be a good shot for shooting to be humane.

So realistically the DIY options are spring traps or poison in bait boxes - either way you need to be careful about placement to avoid accidentally killing something else.

Professionals have more options that we do DIY, for example they are able to use equipment to asphyxiate rats caught live, and access to different poisons, so if the simple options don't do it, best to call in the experts.

Raspberries & blackberries

Posted: 23/04/2015 at 18:09

I have raspberries in a half barrel, they seem to do OK, although still getting properly established. I do feed them at the appropriate time.


Posted: 23/04/2015 at 18:03

Er, the avatar with Saltire and "alba" underneath (shouldn't that be capitalized?) provide a clue as to location - UK north of the border.

First time I've done spuds, I'd have to double check the varieties, all early or 2nd early. Some I planted mid-march the others 2 weeks later, the mid March ones are just showing some leaves, no sign of the others yet so based on KEFs results it probably is true that the season is shorter further north (where are you KEF?). I'm in Dumbarton, so virtually sea level but slightly further north. I have no idea why you can't just plant earlies a bit later and harvest them later, but local advice is generally worth heeding.

There is no guaranteed frost free date, try using cloches or horticultural fleece once the leaves come up to protect from frost - the ground shouldn't freeze deeply enough now to damage the tubers but I'm sure the greenery will be vulnerable.

I think 2nd earlies are better if chitted before planting, unless you have access to ready chitted spuds it will be another couple of weeks before you are ready to plant so best to get on it ASAP!

Transferring seedlings from propagation trays

Posted: 16/04/2015 at 12:48

I use a knife (butter type, not sharp) but anything flat will do nicely. Unless the seedlings are really close together I stick the knife in an inch or more away from the seedling and carefully lever it up with some compost. I am not very delicate so I try to avoid handling the seedling at all and just hold the compost lightly against the blade - if I do need to hold the seedling always do it by a leaf, but mostly I can avoid direct contact.

Don't be fussy about how straight the seedling is in it's new pot - it will straighten itself up soon enough and it is not worth risking damaging it trying to straighten it.


Posted: 16/04/2015 at 12:22

Saw some swifts last week, but I was in Corsica

I'll keep my eye out for swallows, they normally zoom around the yard at work.

1 to 10 of 120

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