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Latest posts by Boater

Are you eating your home grown fruit and veg yet?

Posted: 17/07/2015 at 13:06

Where can I get seeds for venison grillsteaks? Everything else in last nights tea was from the garden.... Peas, baby carrots, new potatoes and parsley.

Some of my strawberries are looking close to ripe - the ones the birds can probably get through the chicken wire, fingers crossed I get there first!

Carrot query

Posted: 17/07/2015 at 12:57

No, even before the flowers form if a flower stem appears the carrot will be like wood and tasteless...... It is a sign that you (and I) haven't been watering enough.

To tell when carrots are 'ready' scrape a little soil at the base of the stem and judge if the top of the carrot is as big as you are looking for (after all, some of us like them as babies, others full grown) - but always remember to cover it up again straight away or the top of the carrot will turn green.


Posted: 17/07/2015 at 01:46

I remember being told as a kid, by a science teacher who had beehives, that bees can get aggressive because of what they are feeding on. As I recall keepers like to put hives in oilseed rape fields because the pollen makes good honey, but also makes the bees aggressive, I think pollen from all mustard family can make them aggressive.

Don't see much oilseed rape in this part of the country, is it the season for it now? and if so do you have some near you? I guess there could be other plants which make bees aggressive too (or alternatively that whole idea may have been debunked in the last 25 years.....)?

Raised beds on allotment

Posted: 17/07/2015 at 01:39

Your hubby is over thinking it!

You only have the weight of the edge frame bearing down on the tilled soil trying to sink it, not the weight of all the soil in the bed (like you would have if we were talking about pots). I'd be very surprised if they will sink at all if just laid directly on the tilled soil, but realistically by the time you have shoogled them back and forth in each direction to get them level you will have compressed the soil directly under them anyway.

Mine are 18" high made from 6x2" timbers (recycled for free from joiners rubbish heap), I laid them directly onto tilled soil (with the obligatory shoogling and levelling), apart from one end of one being a bit low relative to my non-flat lawn, neither of them have moved in the 2 or 3 years each have been in position for....

Definitely don't create any barrier or compacted soil under the bed itself, you want the roots to be able to go deep if they want to.


Posted: 17/07/2015 at 01:11

No photos, I have dwarf Pacino Cola, I sowed 2 each in 4 big pots (in retrospect should have done 1 per pot), strangely some pots are doing better than others.

Several of them developed brown leaves which then went holey (not sure if due to disease or pest) but all have passed this now and have greenery again.

In one pot both have good fat stems and are starting to branch out with several heads forming but no sign of flowers. In another pot they are similar but a little smaller. Third pot they are much thinner and a bit poorly looking although some new shoots are forming and one looks about to flower. In the final pot both plants are pretty spindly and lost a lot of leaves early on, there is fresh growth but the leaves are small, one is starting to flower, the other has been out for a couple of days now (I haven't seen it fully out because I haven't been home in full daytime yet). Even the smallest plants are starting to branch now, but only one or 2 branches and very small looking.

When I got home tonight it was quite windy and all have out grown the flower sticks I was using for extra support - the spindly ones were getting really blow about so I swapped all the sticks for canes to stabilze them. I also moved a coupe of pots to a more sheltered location.

It seems to me that the more stressed plants are flowering for survival, and the unstressed ones are happy to carry on bulking out a bit for now. I'm hoping that when the healthiest ones get round to flowering they will have several nice flower heads, it certainly looks like they are gearing up for that!

Carrot query

Posted: 17/07/2015 at 00:56

Pulled some carrots tonight, 2 had obviously run to seed - they develop a kind of round thick stem instead of the usual squarish thin stems so I pulled them straight to the compost heap, the others made lovely sweet baby carrots for my tea. Was going to water them but the rain came on first... heavily!

Can I save them?

Posted: 17/07/2015 at 00:48

I know potato and tomato blight are related, I signed up to blightwatch which is for potatoes and uses Smiths period to warn of blight risk (2 consecutive days of particular temp and humidity conditions). Does anyone know of the Smith period is also an indicator for tomatoes or do they get it in different conditions?

If so it might be worth checking up the history for your postcode and see if you have even had any full Smith periods yet this year - noting that even if you have it only indicates a risk of blight, not certain blight.

Lawn - advice

Posted: 15/07/2015 at 13:36

Good advice Rinus K.

As for working out from the photos which has happened here, the second photo looks like it is the moss which has turned black (green blades of grass visible in the black area), the first photo is much harder to tell because the grass is mowed so short as to have browned anyway, could be localised mosy patches, or localised over-concentrated feed.

You should be able to tell by getting on your knees and seeing which has turned black, the moss or the grass.....

Despite a lot of work earlier in the year, my lawn is still mostly moss and weeds, but the grass is stronger than ever!

whats difference between polytunnel & fruit cage ?

Posted: 15/07/2015 at 13:29

A polytunnel is a cheap greenhouse.

But as noted you could use the frame and switch between polythene cover and netting cover depending on season.

I don't beleive a properly tensioned net of suitable size mesh is likely to trap birds, but I don't know what netting is suitable so I use wire mesh instead. It might not look as natural as green plastic netting, but definitely doesn't trap birds. If in doubt use aviary mesh (mine are mostly chicken wire).

Growing raspberries in pots

Posted: 15/07/2015 at 13:22

My Raspberries are growing well in a half whisky barrel (cut circumferentially so it's like a big wooden bucket) - seems to be suitable for about 3 - 5 canes (from one plant originally).

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