London (change)
Today °C / °C
Tomorrow °C / °C


Latest posts by Boater


Posted: 13/10/2014 at 23:16

Got home tonight and went to unload my car and realized that my garden had been vandalized during the day or evening.

The pea sticks have been pulled out and strewn across the lawn - the peas are already finished and I have been meaning to take them down, but I had put some pots and a seed tray containing some radishes I had about given up on in between them and they were also strewn across the lawn. The spinach and radishes in the same raised bed have all been pulled up (no sign of them). The Chicken wire cover I put over my strawberries to keep the cats off is lying up against the fence and at least one strawberry plant has been pulled up and there are strawberry leaves all over the lawn. The carrots I was growing in a compost bag on the coal bunker have all been pulled out and the pots that were behind it are spread all over the lawn. Some of the slats from one of my compost bins are also laying on the lawn.

There were only about a dozen carrots, maybe 2 dozen radishes and a dozen spinach plants (which were starting to fade anyway) so the value of damage is very small but it is incredibly annoying.

I have been meaning to build a bigger fence up the back because there is a group of 3 small kids who keep climbing over (I suspect it was them or their ringleader that has done the damage, although I haven't seen them for a while and couldn't prove anything). A bigger fence might stop them for a while but it's impossible to make the garden secure, for part of one side my boundary is a retaining wall about 2m high  in places, lower in others, so people can jump down into the garden quite easily, and I doubt if I would be allowed to put a fence on top of that?

What would you do?

compost advice

Posted: 26/09/2014 at 12:24

joberg - compost your veg peelings separately and then when it is ready mix it with the shop bought stuff. No point adding new green stuff to compost that is already ready!

The advice about bigger compost heaps work better maybe needs clarifying. Maximising volume to surface area will make it generate more heat, but try to avoid a low heap with a big surface area which will lose it's heat too quickly. The most efficient shape for a heap would be a sphere but that's not very practical - cylindrical or hexagonal bins are next best, followed by cubical. Most heat loss is from the top, if heat radiated equally in all directions you would want the fill height the same as the width for maximum efficiency but since it doesn't the deeper the better!

Where am I going with this?

Setting up your first heap with not many scraps can take a bit of time. The more green waste you have to compost the quicker it will be. 

Some people advise to store compostable material loosely and intact until you have enough to chop up and start a heap, I just chop it up right away and throw it on, stirring it up from time to time with a fork - but I'll use what I add this year, next year so I'm not too concerned about how long it takes (2 heaps), there are more efficient ways of doing it as described....

Can I grow more raspberry canes from the seeds from my raspberries?

Posted: 19/09/2014 at 12:36

I'll set my alarm for Feb

green tomatoes

Posted: 19/09/2014 at 12:35

More like 12 to 22 in west central Scotland the last few of days but wednesday it was markedly warmer in the conservatory at 10pm (still around 20C) than in the house.... It was overcast all day. The weekend was much hotter though.

I could just build a climate control system, but that would seem like cheating!

green tomatoes

Posted: 19/09/2014 at 12:09

Oh for consistent temperatures

Can I grow more raspberry canes from the seeds from my raspberries?

Posted: 19/09/2014 at 12:05

Raspberries are related to brambles, they will spread in time just like brambles

My dad has a problem with 'wild' raspberries - they have spread prolifically all over an area where he removed some pines to plant some fruit trees. I had assumed it was because the pines had created favourable soil pH and removal of cover had let the light in, but the theory of root interference is interesting because he would have been digging old tree roots out and new tree roots in....

The known varieties he has planted in his fruit cage just feet from the edge of the 'wild' patch really have not done very well, in fact I think they have withered and died and the last time I was up he had tried moving some 'wild' ones into the cage....

I think autumn raspberries reproduce just fine, but you need to prune them at different times to summer to get the most new growth out of them. I must look that up again, I made a mess of it last year!

Peas - Powdery Mildew?

Posted: 19/09/2014 at 11:54

Cheers Mel, I aiming to do rotation anyway although I don't have much space so the peas will be fairly close again next year.

I think predicting when it will strike will be beyond me, one day all looked fine, the next it was as though it had snowed on the peas!

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.

Discussions started by Boater


Replies: 22    Views: 953
Last Post: 17/10/2014 at 19:04

Peas - Powdery Mildew?

Strategies to avoid spores overwintering? 
Replies: 3    Views: 233
Last Post: 19/09/2014 at 13:24

Topless Tomato

Where did the main stem go? 
Replies: 9    Views: 398
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 21:44

Carrots, hard in centre?

Replies: 3    Views: 249
Last Post: 14/07/2014 at 10:23

Tomatoes - Fungus/Lichen in growbag?

Am I heading for a problem? 
Replies: 4    Views: 216
Last Post: 12/07/2014 at 16:09

Giant Peas?

Replies: 4    Views: 523
Last Post: 23/09/2013 at 22:58
6 threads returned