Latest posts by Boater


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.

Topless Tomato

Posted: 28/07/2014 at 19:49

Simon - your tomato plants are huge compared to mine!

I hope they just have some catching up to do (or are a smaller variety), but on the other hand I have the grow bags on racking at the height of the dwarf wall around my conservatory (need the space underneath to store kayaks) so they will reach the roof long before they get as big as yours!

Really good to see that you have managed to get side shoots to carry on from your 2 that stopped growing, hope they make fruit, and hope mine grows on too and fruits!

Really useful video, thanks for sharing!

What not to grow

Posted: 28/07/2014 at 10:35

I don't seem to have much luck with Scarlet Globe Radishes - admittedly the first rows were 2nd infill crops between peas and the peas covered them before they could mature but the later ones I've sown don't look like they are coming to anything either.

French Breakfast grow well for me though, in fact I even had a 2nd infill row almost get to maturity even surrounded by peas (a few were usable, and then lack of access to light stopped the rest growing any more), so I'll probably concentrate my efforts on these in the future.

Topless Tomato

Posted: 28/07/2014 at 00:53

Finally got round to getting some photos, not the greatest since I drowned my camera a couple of months ago so had to use my phone:

There are a couple of small lower branches I forgot about, but the main one where the top branch goes right is as big or bigger than anything on the plants that have grown properly and are 4 or 5 times the height.

Since I first noticed the problem some kind of shoot has appeared roughly where the main stem should be.

Is it worth seeing if this shoot develops or should I cut my losses, pull the plant and stick something else in the middle of the growbag?

Topless Tomato

Posted: 25/07/2014 at 15:26

I'll try and get a photo later, I figured it was probably just an evolutionary error on the part of that plant. They are cherry tomatoes, I think the variety is Sweet Millions.

Discussions started by Boater

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Topless Tomato

Where did the main stem go? 
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Am I heading for a problem? 
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