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Latest posts by Boater

Potatoes in bags

Posted: 26/03/2015 at 00:15

I have followed the standard advice with the spuds I have planted so far, but someone (Thompson & Morgan?) says that it is unnecessary and that you can fill the bags planting the seed potatoes in the top 4" and they will spread down just fine. Might be worth a google? I think if you plant deeper than 4" the plants are likely to run out of starch to feed them before they break the surface, which is why you are supposed to earth up after the plants have some leaves to get energy by photosynthesis.

I have no idea how long spuds take to get big, you might have a chance of growing radishes around/between them but if you have early spuds the radishes might be too slow getting started at this time of year.

What I have done for the last 2 years is sow rows of spinach, peas and carrots (although I'm planting carrots in areas now rather than rows, and trying peas in troughs) at the correct spacing, and sow a row of radishes in between, so if spinach rows are 12" apart, the radish row is 6" from each. Radishes have always been quicker than spinach, carrots or peas, but don't get too ambitious, however small the others look when you harvest the radishes you can't get a second crop in before they overshade the radish rows

Few newbie questios (mainly tomatoes)

Posted: 26/03/2015 at 00:03

To be different I have been using growbags (only 1 year of experience) - the top tip with growbags is check the volume - standard growbags are something like 25 litres but if you look around you will find 38 or 40 litre ones for almost the same price, perhaps even less if they are in different shops/garden centres! All have space for 3 tomato plants, but clearly some have nearly twice the volume for roots compared to the others - more root space is a good thing!

It probably isn't worth worrying too much about any claims for how long they will feed the plants for, as advised you don't need feed until the flower trusses (branches) appear - you will be entering a lottery over compost quality anyway whether you use growbags or buy compost for pots. Again whichever you use make sure you break up the compost before planting out into it - you will naturally do it when shovelling it into pots, growbags are best pummelled before you cut them open.

One great tip I got last year for indeterminate tomatoes is rather than using canes for support, drop a string from the roof to a peg in the pot/bag and wrap the main stem around it as it grows (assumes you aren't wanting to move them around).

Has someone explained that there are 2 types of tomato plants - intermediate (vine) tomatoes which need support and are forever trying to split (need to pinch out the side shoots as they develop, once you learn to recognize them), and determinate (bush) tomatoes, which I haven't grown but I believe they are self supporting and don't grow side shoots. Understanding which you have sown may help with planning support etc.

Cat Poo on my raised veg beds

Posted: 20/03/2015 at 18:08

It looks a bit penal but I ended up just building cages with chicken wire (metal wire mesh) which keeps the cats off, and any vandalistic kids that break into my garden. As my veggies get bigger I can lift the cage off and then 'mulch' with twigs, including as much bramble as I can - that seems to stop them using the beds, but obviously it's no use whilst you are waiting for seeds to come up, hence the cages. The peas are going in planters this year so I should be able to keep the cage on over everything else.

I used some plastic bird netting last year and no birds got caught up in it, but metal netting is much better.

I wouldn't harm one but if cats became extinct overnight, I wouldn't miss them!

Strawberry plant dying, please help!

Posted: 20/03/2015 at 14:17

I have a couple of small plants in 10" pots that have grown from runners last year - I watered them the other day for the first time in months because the soil was previously moist every time I checked and the plants looking nice and green.

I have no idea how the ones in the bed are doing, after the mini poly tunnel blew off I didn't think to fleece over them until several frosts had come and gone - oops!

After raking the soil back a bit and stopping the watering I would wait and see how things develop for a few days or maybe a couple of weeks - once there is sign of fresh growth (and strawberries are always keen to put on fresh growth!) carefully pull out or trim off all the bits that are rotting or have clearly died (yellow or brown). Through the summer I find I can remove quite a lot of dead or dying leaves and stems (as long as the crown is healthy) every few weeks and they soon grow more!

Terrible Garden, Low Budget

Posted: 20/03/2015 at 14:01

You could build a rockery, the rocks will stabilise the slope and provide pockets for soil. My dad used to be able to find cheap stone for that sort of thing - I have never tried so can't advise where to look.

Plants for rockeries (mum used to grow alpines and heathers) might be quite expensive but well suited to shallow soil conditions and they tend to spread out quite nicely over time so it might look a bit bare this year but will mature nicely. I seem to remember some of the alpines you could split at the end of the season and make a new plant or 2.

Not really something I've thought about for years, I just remember that good rockeries usually seem to be on hills - maybe they are out of fashion these days?

Actually, that might be a stupid idea - rocks over tree roots probably isn't good for the tree.

Scout project.

Posted: 20/03/2015 at 00:51

I grow spinach and radishes between rows because they can be harvested before the main veg needs the space - as said they are more salads than vegetables but they should both be ready to harvest in less than 12 weeks.

Some first early potatoes might be ready in time, to give yourself the best chance it's probably worth getting them now and chitting them in advance introducing them to the kids already shooting and ready to be planted.

And to maintain interest from the start how about mustard? Germinates in a couple of days and can be ready to harvest in a fortnight - I haven't grown it since I was a kid but sowed some on damp kitchen towel and some on a little seed compost a couple of days later and the batch on compost has overtaken the kitchen towel batch and is about ready to harvest after 9 or 10 days.

Might be worth getting some cloches or a couple of those small polythene grow tunnels to warm the soil when you sow the seeds - take them off once the plants are getting established though to make the most of the rain for watering on the days there is no one there.

Transplantation Shock in Vegetables

Posted: 19/03/2015 at 16:44

I add some bonemeal to the compost/soil I am moving them to which is supposed to aid root growth, but they always droop for a bit at first.

I guess the droop is probably a reaction to being handled - how about if you use fibre pots or toilet roll tubes for the first pots so you can transplant by just dropping the degradable pot directly in a suitable hole? I haven't tried this yet but I was planning to do it with my tomatoes this year (will be pricked out of the seed tray in the conventional way and then into fibre pots).

What to grow around a raised bed

Posted: 18/03/2015 at 18:28

oops, reposted!

What to grow around a raised bed

Posted: 18/03/2015 at 18:27

Just spotted this one



What to grow around a raised bed

Posted: 18/03/2015 at 18:24

I was thinking an easy way to hide it would be to get some log rolls to wrap around it.

If you like topiary a small box hedge planted in a circle around it would be awesome - quite formal and might take a few years to mature and really hide it, and probably a lot of maintenance.

Google 'small formal hedge' for loads of images to inspire!

Discussions started by Boater


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