Latest posts by Briggsy

Subterranean activity in the polytunnel.

Posted: 26/02/2014 at 09:51

Over the winter there are more and more tunnels appearing beneath my poly tunnel soil, and the access holes are getting bigger!

We do have moles here, and mice take any peas or beans sown direct so I always sow in pots.

However this is getting silly! There is now more tunnel then soil in some places.

Any ideas on how to identify the culprits.

I can not see any rat droppings which would be my primary concern, however the size of the access points seam too big for mice.



Posted: 09/01/2014 at 21:26

Louise R,

Will take your comments on board regarding putting out early April regardless.

As for variety - such is life that we often have to sacrifice quantity for quality!

Having said that last year I grew a variety called Millefleur from Real Seed Catalogue - small yellow cherry tomato - sweet and super prolific - just make room for the plants as each truss is 2' round! I gave bags to everyone I came across from August to November and still ended up with more than I could handle - all from three plants.

A variety of plum toms - Agro F1 have also been favorites.

I have often found my plants to be late developers and anything sown too early gets leggy and pathetic looking- they do recover however once things warm up, so I have put back sowing dates each year to avoid the leggy stage.


Monster weed

Posted: 23/09/2013 at 08:55


Looks like it may well be Himalyan balsum - if it is it should be producing pink flowers by now. The bumble bees love the flowerer, howevers if it's the only one around in your neighbourhood I would remove it before the seeds set, otherwise there will be twenty plants next year and a thousand in a couple of years. We have it everywhere around here as we have an unmanaged common nearby. This stuff is even out competing the japanese knotweed!

Mare's Tail

Posted: 07/09/2013 at 09:21

New discovery.

Not liking chemical weedkillers I have been using vinegar (malt) as a weed killer on the patio - I have to say it works a treat within hours and a fraction of the cost of garden centre weed killer.

I did not expect the horsetail to be much bothered especially as I had not crushed it first. However it was completely knocked out and more interestingly, no sign of regrowth have been seen 4 weeks later.

Will try on other areas next year and see how I get on!




Posted: 25/08/2013 at 17:18

That's what I thought. Up to a couple of meters the bulk of the foliage is from these. which should give us the clearance we need for the shed. The rose will just have to start again as it is growing through this to get to the main tree. Guess we can't have everything!


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 16:58

Shed should be going up late winter, however I have taken a rumage into the foliage - not an easy task due to rose bush and brambles-  however it appears to me that atground level there is one very large thick trunk (12"+) plus there are dozens of small branches/stems coming up from the ground. I could probably thin these out without any ill effect on the main plant & then tackle the rest over several years to bring back into a reasonable and healthy shape.

I too have to consider the birds or in this case a pair or robins, they don't tolerate any other occupants and have the whole tree to themselves.

Thanks for the tips.

Mare's Tail

Posted: 24/08/2013 at 16:17

I have mares tail - in fact I think it is called horsetail on land and mares tail if in ponds/streams.

I've got acres of the bloody stuff & a daily polytunnel task is to pull if from in and around crops. Clearly I do not want to use chemicals around my lovely veg, so pulling is the only option.

I did read that it has anti-fungal qualities which helps it's neighbouring plants to stay healthy, so at least one redeeming feature if you have to live with it!


Posted: 24/08/2013 at 13:35

Thanks waterbutts,

Is there a good time of year for such activity or are they happy what ever the weather?


Posted: 24/08/2013 at 11:52


We have a very large bay tree with multiple stems - photo below.

We intend on building a large shed in the vicinity and will need to cut this back. Also I think a tidy up would improve it as it is stragly the top growth does not look to healthy.

Any suggestions on technique/when to undertake this task  would be appreciated.


Is this potato blight.

Posted: 05/08/2013 at 13:49


Here is a picture of what is developing on some of my potato plants. The conditions must be ripe for blight as we've had several days of rain here.

Can anyone who has come accross it before give me an opinion.



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