Latest posts by BrummieBen

Beetroot Problems

Posted: 11/06/2013 at 23:34

sounds like a lack of thinning to me. Each seed as figrat has said is actually several plants, like most things they grow bigger if thinned out. Don't just bung the thinnings on the compost though, tasty and bright addition to any salad dish!

Tomatoe plants...basic how to guide needed?

Posted: 11/06/2013 at 23:25

Currently wilkinson are doing the 4 tier greenhouse for just 17.99 I think. They have 4 shelves and a cover, the great thing is you can take the shelves out and stick two beef stakes in their new pots inside, should help protect from the blight, just be sure to unzip the cover if it's a sunny day! The great thing about using these mini greenhouses rather than the cheaper 'tomato greenhouses' are the shelves. Next year come march april, they are great with the shelves in for hardening off plants and seedlings. Just be sure to secure them very well to a wall. They do have a penchant for blowing away in the wind! Good luck.

clematis - The President

Posted: 11/06/2013 at 23:07

Yeah, my dad was the head gardener for 20 years covering 3 psych hospitals. This was back when the garden staff, (about 80 odd) not only had to provide display for the borders/roundabouts, keeping the grass cut, aboriculture etc, but also produced all the salad, toms cucs as well as all veg year round to the canteens.So he's kind of like the guru for most things as he did it on an industrial scale for years. He reckons about the apical dominance that simply removing the top shoots repeatedly, will cause what's left of the leaders to bush out.

I agree that taking the tops out, will cause those currently inactive buds to start to grow. What I'm not sure about is how far down the plant this effect will go, and to what extent. I mean it'd be nice that you take the top 6 inches off to just above a set of buds, but it is my understanding, that removing the apical dominance essentially the effect on dormant buds lessens the further from the head of the plant you travel. Thus if I take the top 6 inches off, and then take the tops out of the new leaders that grow, will this make a difference to the dormant buds that are 8 inches from ground level? As this plant seems to enjoy growing spindley by all accounts I'm not so sure. You see my quandry? If I chop it down to 18" I know it'll grow thick as I want, just no flowers this year, but if I try this keep taking out the top 6 inches, I will have flowers, but will the plant still not be as thick as I want it?


It's looking like I'm going to have to take a plunge, I think I'll try the taking the heads out repeatedly and see, I'll enjoy the few flowers I get, if it hasn't thickened enough, going to be chopped next year back to 18 inch then when it regrows new leaders, everytime they get to  8 inch or so, heads will be taken out again. It won't win. I'm thinking that this variety grows so spindley, perhaps the best way to manage it is to keep taking the heads out every few weeks til it's dense enough.

clematis - The President

Posted: 11/06/2013 at 11:34

looks like it to me, I've also had further thoughts, if I keep removing the apical growth, then surely all the dormant buds down the plant should be activated and should bush it out? This way I'll lose some flowers but not all, and should get the plant thickened up nicely?

clematis - The President

Posted: 11/06/2013 at 10:15

Thanks for the replies, I know the soil is not a problem as it was meticulously prepped with manure for the first foot, then mix of sifted soil and compost for the top foot of soil. Then a generous amount of growmore into this top foot. This was the whole problem I face chicky, I know if I prune it back hard, I will lose the flowers this year, but I should have a much better 'framework' for next year. Anyone think this is a good plan? I guess I'm on here looking for justification for not having flowers this year!

How would you describe your garden?

Posted: 11/06/2013 at 02:20

Best thing I can say right now is 'a work in progress'. Got my GH built, got most of the raised bed veg plot done, lawn is coming along, borders nearly sifted and ready. Fence has been replaced, need a big bespoke shed built, need to build some cold frames, need to rip out about 30 yards of privet and replace with pyrocanthus, (which needs to be grown from cuttings)

Yeah lots to do, as I said, 'work in progress'.



clematis - The President

Posted: 11/06/2013 at 02:04

Stuck with a problem, I built a 6ft high trellis fence 'windbreak'. Essentially it's 3 6ftx6ft panels attached to posts. On each I have planted clematis. These are plants a number of years old, and having been shifted from cramped large pots, have gone beserk! They are all type 2, and I stuck some wire fencing over the trellis to give them something to grip to. The Nelly Mosa and old man's beard dahlia type, have been quite good staying quite compact and I'm gradually training them to cover the whole panel. In the middle I have 'The President', again a plant that's maybe 5 years old, but it has insisted on only growing 4 or 5 main shoots. These have now reached the top of the trellis, and compared to the other 2, looks very threadbare. So now, do I sacrifice flowers this year, and prune back these 4 or 5 main leaders down to say 18 inches? Hoping that each will then throw maybe 4 or 5 more shoots  and thus cover the trellis? I have two presidents, they both have always grown quite lanky and spindley, I'm thinking maybe I'm missing a trick here, and not getting the flowers up the plant I should, just at the very tops..

Looking for advice from folks who have been successful with 'The President' in particular.


Posted: 11/06/2013 at 01:42

as I said, save some of the seed pods, they germinate for fun. They also grow fairly quickly, my father grew some, and in decent soil in a nice spot had a 3ft plant in 18 months-2 years.

Dead Head Alliums?

Posted: 11/06/2013 at 01:40
Berghill wrote (see)

And you often get self sown seedlings all over the place too.

Interesting point about leaving the seed heads. On some bulbs, Tulips, Narcissus for example, removing the dead flower helps the bulb keep its strength for next season, but with Alliums, it is already too late. They flower after the leaves have done their job and begun to die. In fact the flower stem is almost disconnected from the bulb altogether,

Hence why garlic and elephant garlic going to seed is never a problem for me.. I look at it as free flowers, and no nasty effects on the crop, bees love garlic flowers too.

Tomatoe plants...basic how to guide needed?

Posted: 11/06/2013 at 01:36

First question is how big is the trough? Next question is if it is only about 6 inches deep, and maybe 6 wide, you really will need to move them. (no small task without losing them or severely setting them back) Italophile is right (as usual on tommy matters!) the trick with tomatoes is the watering and feeding. Most people grow toms in 'growbags' which really aren't fit for purpose if you ask me. You plant 3 plants in one then have to water every day and still get split fruit or problems from over-watering. I much prefer to plant my toms in large pots (typically 16"), good drainage is essential, so a good couple of inches of coarsely broken up polystyrene in the bottom is a must. I usually mix in some of my soil to a compost mix with a dash of sharp sand too. (my soil is clay, but it helps give the peat free compost some 'weight' and helps it hold on to moisture) I find this way I don't have to water everyday unless it's been really hot, and the plant has plenty of space to grow a great set of roots and so really throw everything into producing fruit. I'm not saying my way is the best or easiest, but it's what works for me, and it's lots easier than the growbag method.

Back to growing beefsteak outside, you really are an optomist, lets hope we have a terrific summer, otherwise you'll have blight long before your fruits have even finished swelling, let alone ripening. I did the same first time I started, it's a learning curve, currently only toms I grow with any success outside would be tumbling toms. This is mainly due to the size of the fruits and how little heat they need to ripen. I wish you good luck, lets us know how you get on.

PS, it's normal the flowers wilt and fade, it's what they do, the fruit grows from behind them.

Discussions started by BrummieBen

growing brassicas

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clematis - The President

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water those poor souls!

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anyone else think this 'extended' winter, means a good summer

as above 
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So lyon, change your name back to Gary, wondering why?

well not really 
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This made me spill my tea over the keyboard!

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Your Favourite Tools

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While it's been raining

trawling youtube for gardening 
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Most famous moment with your plants?

meeting a big cheese 
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