London (change)
Today 23°C / 17°C
Tomorrow 21°C / 14°C


Latest posts by Boater

Carrots, hard in centre?

Posted: 13/07/2014 at 21:15

Just pulled a few carrots for my tea, a few each of Nantes 5 and Autumn King (all sown at the same time, either side of the same patch). The Nantes 5 have suddenly developed a really hard core, I struggled to even cut the greenery off and after cooking they were inedible. The Autumn Kings are just fine and much bigger.

I have been 'thinning' both by pulling some of the bigger ones to have as baby carrots, but now some are starting to reach maturity and fill out, at least the Autumn Kings are, a Nantes with the same size stem only has about half the carrot which is pale and doesn't have much taste.

I was wondering if maybe the Nantes are running to seed?

Should I have thinned them more earlier on so they got bigger sooner?

I thought I could just leave carrots in until first frost without any worries (I have been keeping the soil moist)?

Will this keep the carrot root fly out?

Posted: 13/07/2014 at 21:01

Monty says they can only fly about 2 feet off the ground so as long as you can get the sides up that high you won't need to put a top on, which will make it easier to water. I have used the same kind of fleece to make vertical barriers around my carrots, the tips are now poking out the top. So far no problems with carrot fly.

Tomatoes - Fungus/Lichen in growbag?

Posted: 12/07/2014 at 15:54

Scrambled egg is a good description, and it looks like slime mould isn't actually a fungus although i looks like one.

Seems I can rest easy and just let nature do it's thing!

Cheers guys!

Tomatoes - Fungus/Lichen in growbag?

Posted: 12/07/2014 at 14:28

I have 18 Tomato plants in grow bags in the conservatory - I am having terrible trouble controlling daytime temperatures with the windows (can't leave the door open when out at work) but I thought I had managed to avoid making it humid.

This week a white-yellow growth has appeared on the compost of one of the grow bags - I can't decide if it is fungus or lichen but given that most plant diseases seem to be fungal I'm worried!

I tried removing the affected compost but the growth has returned.

How can I tell if this is going to harm my plants and/or get rid of it?

Do I need to get another grow bag and transplant them? (no fruits yet, quite late sowing the seeds)

Edibale flowers

Posted: 03/07/2014 at 18:04

Steven - look in the spice section at the supermarket, a clove is seed head off something spicy (someone will know what), often used in apple pies and stuff - cooks usually try to remove them before serving (it's like a short dried twig with 4 dried leaves and a seed on it - about 1/4" long overall). Some people hate them, very strong flavour, you don't need many!

Definitely not to be confused with a clove of garlic.

Raised Bed Liners

Posted: 03/07/2014 at 17:58

For veggies it is probably best to use untreated wood, so it will rot eventually.

My solution was to use old joists, which may or may not have been treated but unlikely to have any residue to leach out now. Untreated 6x2 joists should take a few years to rot out!

If you have some kind of reasonable soil underneath (it can be quite thin under a lawn - I get about 1.5 spade depths before I hit rocks and clay) I would mark out the footprint of the bed, dig it 2 spades deep (if possible, less if the soil is not so good), temporary lift out the soil to a couple of inches deep and level the shallow pit, then position the bed so that when you refill it, it will be sunk a couple of inches below the turf level. No liner required.

Soil cannot escape underneath, worms can get in, long roots can get out, excess water will seep out between planks, the sun will warm the bed quicker than the ground and you can work you patch at a comfy height.

Every few years you may have to replace or repair a bed, but you might be surprised, where the soil sits tight against the timber lack of air may just prevent rot from living there and attacking the timber - my beds are too young to say from experience!

If you are going to fit a plastic liner in a raised bed, you might as well use growbags and fit skirting boards around them for appearance Now there's an idea - I had a spare bag of compost I decided to cut the side off and sow some carrots in (for baby carrots, hopefully there is enough depth for that, they certainly won't grow full size!), it looks a bit ugly, maybe I could clad it to improve the appearance....

Recommend a full season of strawberries?

Posted: 01/07/2014 at 10:55

Hi SFord - I think it is important that everyone has their garden the way they want it, not everyone wants their garden to look like a mini farm  or in the case of my dad's fruit cage, like a POW camp!

Recommend a full season of strawberries?

Posted: 01/07/2014 at 10:40

I'm still a relative beginner but I have learned a lot and my strawberries are doing great so I'll share my thoughts!

Conventional wisdom is not to let them fruit in their first year, so I would definitely look to get some runners in now and established for next year.

I bought a single Albion plant last year (late so it had probably cropped already) and let it put out runners. Each runner will put out some leaves and then continue to run some more - keep them trimmed back to the first runner, subsequent plants will be weak. Put a pot of compost under the bunch of leaves on each runner, lightly peg the runner stem down if it has a tendancy to move around, and over a few weeks it will put down roots into the pot.

When the roots are established in the pot, snip the runner from the main plant and bring it on independantly. I think I made 13 new plants from the single one I bought giving me 14 plants this year - and I didn't even use all the runners it put out, and only the first plant on each runner! Obviously different varieties will vary!

All plants are fruiting this year, the differential seems to be where they are planted in the bed, the ones furthest from the trees that are in the sun the most are much bigger with more stems of of flowers/fruits, those in the partial shade of the trees are smaller and have just 1 stem of flowers/fruits but all are producing good fruit (I picked the first batch last night, very tasty!)

To cover the whole season you will need to pick varieties that fruit at different times, but either way I'd say now is the time to plan the beds and get some runners in the ground. I pegged fleece over mine for the winter and they show no signs of cold problems (leaves turn red) and are coming on nicely.

Planning is the hardest part - practising crop rotation is a good idea, but strawberries are supposed to crop well for 3 years (but will go on forever) so you would need to plan beds so that you can move the strawberries every fourth year (some people like to have 3 beds of different years on the go together how many beds would that require?) and grow other stuff that uses different nutrients in the other years (consider leaving a fallow year too).

If you plant different varieties in the same bed you will need to keep on top of the runners, if you let them self root in the ground you will just end up with a carpet of all the different varieties intermingled. Of course, that might be what you desire for a more rambling stawberry patch producing fruit all over for a long season rather than a patch with distinct areas that fruit at different times?

Fungus on ones strawberries!!

Posted: 20/06/2014 at 09:30

Last night I noticed that a couple of my strawberry plants (the bigger ones with most fruit) were developing white tips to the serrations on the leaves like someone had dipped them in icing sugar - is this an early stage of grey mould or something else?

I was cutting off runners and noticed a couple of leaf stems turning brown although the leaves still looked healthy - I'll prune those out tonight anyway.

I have set up drip watering evenly over the whole bed, but the plants at the end furthest from the trees (that get more time in the sun) have grown much bigger so are crowding each other and probably need extra water....

Raspberry Autumn & summer

Posted: 10/06/2014 at 23:55


Discussions started by Boater

Topless Tomato

Where did the main stem go? 
Replies: 9    Views: 226
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 21:44

Carrots, hard in centre?

Replies: 3    Views: 116
Last Post: 14/07/2014 at 10:23

Tomatoes - Fungus/Lichen in growbag?

Am I heading for a problem? 
Replies: 4    Views: 103
Last Post: 12/07/2014 at 16:09

Giant Peas?

Replies: 4    Views: 377
Last Post: 23/09/2013 at 22:58
4 threads returned