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Boater


Latest posts by Boater

Peas - Powdery Mildew?

Posted: 18/09/2014 at 21:09

A couple of weeks ago my peas started to get covered in what can only be powdery mildew, it's powdery and like mildew and has coated both sides of all the foliage.

The pods look a bit tatty but the peas are fine inside and it doesn't seem to be interest in any of my other veggies so I have been trying to ignore it, but I'd like to try and avoid getting it next year.

I know peas concentrate nitrogen in root nodes and in the past I have dug the roots into the soil after trimming off the foliage. From what I have read about powdery mildew the infection is very shallow on the foliage but the spores will overwinter on dead foliage. What I am trying to work out is whether or not there is a risk a spores overwintering on the roots if I dig them in- the foliage is going in the bin, as have all the infected pods so far. Or should I dig up all the roots and get rid of them too?

Not completely sure why they got infected, I was watering them quite well I thought, but I did plant the rows a bit close which made it difficult to get the watering can in and probably meant I had too many plants for a given area of soil. I'm hoping that if I space them properly next year and water even more it will help, but getting rid of the spores seems like a good idea first.

green tomatoes

Posted: 18/09/2014 at 20:45

So when do you give up letting them ripen on the vine?

I was late sowing my sweet millions and the first one has just started to take on an orange hue - I still have hundreds of flowers on some trusses....

Still getting into the 20's most days, even though it has been overcast the couple of days the temperature has been good, if it's sunny the conservatory will easily get to 45. My problem is predicting how many windows to open and whether or not to turn the fan on!

Fruit cages - DIY options?

Posted: 08/09/2014 at 10:01

Some interesting ideas here.

When I was a kid my dad had a big fruit cage with plastic netting (in London) and I remember the roof of it fell in when it snowed it one winter.

These days his fruit cages are much more elaborate, I think the smallest timbers are 2x2 fence posts! Instead of plastic netting he uses steel mesh 'aviary' wire - it is designed to keep small birds in so works just as well keeping them out. My sister decided to keep budgies a while back which is where the discovery of aviary wire came from.

The only problems with my dads approach to fruit cages are:

a) it's a permanent structure

b) it looks kind of a like a POW camp

So far I've used plastic netting to make small temporary cages over my strawberries and raspberries but it's a pain getting in to harvest, next year I will need to make something a decent height with a door.....

Anyway, birds are the least of my problems!

I opted to try plastic 'mulch' (it seems to wrong to call it that) for the strawberries this year so in order to be able to water effectively I installed a dripper system first. Finally got round to taking the net and plastic sheeting off the strawberriy bed and within a couple of days some moggy had found a bare space between the plants and started digging, scattering my dripper system at the same time. On with the chicken wire frame again then - I thought I wouldn't need that now the plants are mature and cover the bed pretty well.

But far more destructive to the fruit this year has been the wind. Last year I actually thought to pick the elderberries off my tree and got quite a nice crop, this year the wind has pretty much stripped it bare before they even ripened. It wasn't birds, no purple signatures, and the branches in deep cover that don't move as much in the wind still have some.

**HOW DO I GET MORE TRUSSES ON TOMATOES **

Posted: 04/09/2014 at 19:05

Hmm, my dad told me 3 outdoors or 4 inside - I probably have 3 or 4 in flower on most but I suspect there are buds for other trusses above that I've missed when counting. I'm also thinking it's getting a bit late in Scotland so I should pinch them all out soon anyway....

Tomatoes

Posted: 29/08/2014 at 16:34

I have Sweet Millions in my conservatory in Scotland - I've made some first time errors - sowing too late, understimating how high they will get etc.

The cold weather over the last month or so really hasn't helped, I open the windows every day before work, usually put the fan on too and it's a lottery whether it stays below 20C all day or hits 40C+ in a sunny spell....

I think I read it takes about 6 weeks for tomatoes to fill out and ripen? In which case I'll be expecting the first ones to be ready about the end of September. They have been slowing starting (lots of buds, no flowers open for ages) with one or 2 opening at a time, but when we get a couple of hot days the trusses grow suddenly and put out more flowers. I don't think I have any trusses close to the 100 they say is possible on the packet, but quite a lot with 10-20 and some that seem to be splitting 3 ways that will have a lot more.

Probably not going to get crops like they show on the packet, but I reckon they will be OK, just quite late.....

What peas are the best

Posted: 19/08/2014 at 09:45

Mel M - it is possible that the other seeds were stolen by mice or birds rather than it being a soil problem. I had a load of disturbance first time I tried peas, but no peas missing - I try to cover bare seeded soil now with pieces of wire mesh / chicken wire just until the seedlings come through.

I have some carrots in a deep compost bag on top of my coal bunker, a couple of weeks ago I noticed someone had been digging next to one of the carrots and had been filling the hole with Rowan berries, so I definitely have seed liking, hole digging wildlife using my garden

What peas are the best

Posted: 18/08/2014 at 11:44

I've been growing Hurst Green Shaft for 2 years now and I really like them. They have long pods, tend to get 9 or 10 peas in most of them. They have a nice "garden pea" flavour. Have been reliable at coming up - about 4 non-shows from 150 seeds.

They do grow though! Mine are in a raised bed which accentuates it, I guess easily 5 feet high and would probably go taller still if the wind didn't batter them down when they poke above fence level! So make supports plenty tall enough, last year I didn't and a lot of them broke in high wind where they stuck out too far above the top of the supports, but kept on producing in a tangled mess!

I find it easiest to loosely tie a few stems to the canes/netting when they are young - they are great at gripping each other and will grip the net eventually but are in no hurry to do so!

I was also given some Kelvedon wonder which are shorter (might be considered dwarf?) and have shorter wrinkled pods. They seem to produce well but obviously you get fewer peas per pod, also they aren't as sweet as HGS so not really my kind of pea.

I sowed accross the raised bed this year so have 2 x 2' rows of HGS and 1 x 2' row of KW. The second round of HGS are about ready to pick (when you pick them they shoot out again and make more flowers) but I ended up with 600g of HGS in the freezer, so when you consider that I only freeze the ones I can't use the day I pick them I must have had at least 1.5 kg of peas from 4' of plants - and they are still going! I haven't frozen any KW, just pick as I need them.

Soil like dust...

Posted: 01/08/2014 at 09:58

I guess until you get the plastic off you won't be able to be sure about how quickly it drains, but the usual advice for soil that drains too fast is dig some organic matter in - compost or manure - which will retain moisture so the plants can get at it.

If it's a big plot it might be easier to use a rotavator to break up the compacted soil - don't underestimate how much hard work they are though! You cut out lifting a fork or spade but in tough ground you have to push it to make it go forwards or hang on and lean back when it tries to climb out - my dad had a big clay filled patch and I can remember teenage summers spent wrestling with a 5hp machine to break it up before barrowing several lorry loads of topsoil round!

New raised beds, clumpy soil, advice please?

Posted: 31/07/2014 at 18:53

First thing to do is make your own compost heap so you don't have to buy all the stuff you need to make up the extra depth!

Curled new growth on tomato plant

Posted: 31/07/2014 at 18:42

Hmm, mine roll their upper leaves a bit during the day (I thought down) and tend to open up overnight so I took this to mean they were getting too hot in the day time - I'll need to check now and see if they are up or down today!

Mind you since I finally rigged a fan to ensure better ventilation (conservatory windows are a bit small) it has been cold an windy and the temperature has remained sensible!

Old car battery, 4w solar trickle charger and 14cm PC fan seem to work well together - even in the dull weather over the last week the battery seems to gain charge during the day with the fan running (it was a little low when I dragged it out of storage) so I could add more fans if I need to.

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