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Latest posts by Bookertoo

Is Vermiculite dangerous

Posted: 20/05/2012 at 13:12

Vermiculite acts as an assistance to good drainage in compost, and can be used to cover small seeds in trays, the kind that need some light to help with germination.   I always mix some in the compost I am using for pots, as not only does it help with keeping the soil open and draining well, it holds some moisture within in, so if something gets really dry there is a little moisture for the plant to get at.  I have found it better than water retaining gel in baskets, as it does not go into the sticky clumps the gel tends to.

It is in no way dangerous, but as you would not breath in loose compost by waving it around in the air, neither should you do so with anything else - as ever, a little common sense applied works wonders.

Perlite is basically epanded polystyrene, and does much the same job as vermiculite, but I prefer the latter as it is not an oil based product as perlite is.  Which one you use is a personal choice. 

Clematis Montana killed during winter

Posted: 20/05/2012 at 13:06

It is remarkably hard to kill clematis montana - I'd be inclined to wait a while and see what happens.  My huge pink one was accidentally cut into several bits by my neighbour, who thought each loop over the fence was a separate plant and I would be grateful for the cut back (!!!),  and it ended up with no growth at all, just an 18 inch high 6 inch across stump.   I left it in (not that I could remove it anyway), and this year it has come back with a good helping of new growth.   My neighbour and I are still on speaking terms, he just will ask me if there is anything on our common fence that he wants to cut befiore he does it!


Posted: 20/05/2012 at 13:01

I have dared to put out some climibg french beans, broad beans and courgettes, not because I thought the conditions good enough, but because the greenhouse and cold frame are just filled to overflowing with things I feel I just cannot put out in this bitter cold.  I thought these three were the most likely to survive, and so far they are doing so, but not much in the way of growth.  It is not just the cold, but the dark I think that is holding everything back, deep grey skies all the time, rain or not - no wonder the poor plants are fed up, so am I!!!!

tomatoes-growbags or not growbags?

Posted: 20/05/2012 at 12:52

Over the last few years I have gone back to growing tomatoes in arge plastic pots, and have had consistently better resuts than I did with grow bags - except last year which I think was just too dark.  I am very afraid that on current readings that this year might be so too.  Someone said give them 6 - 8 hours sunshine a day - where?   I do not know of anywhere in the UK where that would be possible at present.  Anyway, I shall grow mine in their large pots in the greenhouse, unheated, this year and see how we get along.   I suppose I could always buy a day light bulb for the house if it stays as dark as it has been of late.

The 2 litre bottle in the soil for top up watering is a very good idea. 

Why Miss Bateman?

Posted: 17/05/2012 at 19:08

Yes Lilyfan, my 'red' clematis is Rebecca, I bought it from the breeder, which made it partiularly disappointing.  It is gorgeous, but real red it is not.  Maybe I should mention it to them? 

Lupins laid low with infestions

Posted: 16/05/2012 at 15:54

Yes, these large, juicy, somewhat greyish disgusting ones are specific for lupins only,  if you want to grow them you will have to consistently resort to chemicals as far as I know.  As I said, I'm afraid I just gave up & grew something else, those aphids just disgusted me!!  Hope your lupins are gorgeous, you can share them with a picture maybe ?

Protecting plants from frost

Posted: 16/05/2012 at 10:47

Keep some fine horticultural fleece near the door, it is then quite easy to pop out and cover the sensitive items when frost is forecast - though it is amazing how many tender things do in fact recover well, or not even notice it at all.  At this time of year it is less likely to be a penetrating frost, and a few ice scorched leaves are not deadly for the plant.  I imagine icy roots are though, so fleece should help there. 


Posted: 16/05/2012 at 10:44

Interesting that Wintersong found the organic pellets useless, here they have been helpful - nothing will eradicate slugs and snails, neither do we want that to be so, too many things eat them (Uggghh).  Copper tape on pots really does help, I nearly gave up my hosta collection a few years ago until discovering that, plus taking out the top inch or so of compost every Spring (that's where the eggs are if there are any).   I have not found that grit, eggshells etc. helps, they just creep over it, albeit possibly more slowly. 

No experience of the pellets you mention Botticelliwoman (another wonderful name), it probably works on the same principle of dryng the area out so they won't cross it - but they do, here at least. 

What's the weather like in your area?

Posted: 16/05/2012 at 10:40

Bright and cheerful looking today in the East Midlands, as long as you don't go outside! When you do it is cold, with a nasty lazy breeze that goes straight through you instead of around.  In spite of the cold it is surprising to me  ( an abject hater of all things cold) how many flowers are out, and how well veggies are growing.  Some of them however I am too cowardly to put out - I tell myself it is for their protection, but I know the reality is that I will not spend so much time in the cold if I can help it!

Carrot fly

Posted: 16/05/2012 at 10:35

Keep a layer of fine horticultural fleece over them, my friend has had wonderful carrots since she started doing this.

It is said that growing onions nearby helps, as the onion fly and the carrot fly get confused about the smells.

Don't thin out until late in the day, as they can smell that from a very long way away.  A physical guard like fleece does the trick very well. 

Discussions started by Bookertoo

Solomon's seal

Where and how? 
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For whom do we garden .............

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frosted lilies

any advice? 
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out of season plants

why are these wanted? 
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bird feeders

caged fat ball feeder 
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Hazel nut queries

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Last Post: 15/08/2014 at 12:57
7 threads returned