Latest posts by BrummieBen

tulips losing their heads

Posted: 18/05/2013 at 12:17

I have doubles, the main culprit is actually the rain. The rain fills the flower and makes them fall over or snap, couple it with the gusty wind we had last week, means lots of mine have ended up in cups around the house!

Plum tree

Posted: 18/05/2013 at 12:14

Firstly what shape are you planning? Is it going to be a stand alone tree in the middle of the garden, or fan trained against a wall? Mine are trained against a south facing wall using guide wires. The wall really helps ripen the fruit also the tree takes up less room! If you decide on a fan technique, put some guide wires on the wall, then tie the 2 leaders in, the one going straight up, tie it so it's under slight tension going away at the same angle as the other leader. Over time gradually bring the straight one to same angle as the other. Then slowly begin pulling both down towards the horizontal. In the meantime you should find new buds begin shooting, with some carefully pruning and tying in, you should be able to create an 8 - 10' horizontal (from the original 2 leaders) with a vertical branch every foot or so, each of which is maybe 6-8 feet long all producing fruit! Bear in mind this is something that will take years to achieve, but on completion, will look stunning a provide a great crop year on year. Good luck!

Greenhouse Advice

Posted: 18/05/2013 at 12:01

First thing you should do is consider your price range. I bought my greenhouse from the greenhousepeople as well. I have small children (5 and under) so it was poly carbonate or safety glass. I went for a 12'x10' GH, so although it costs a bit more, the safety glass was what I went for. Quite simply at the size you are looking at, if you get stronger winds, plastic will likely blow away. The weight of the safety glass is a real bonus, I shudder to think how much I would have needed to replace with horticultural glass even.

I actually put mine on paving slabs, which not being a builder were a real pain in the bum to lay level. With hindsight, I'd have definately dug a trench a foot wide and about 8-9" deep, put some hardcore in, then used some of that self leveling concrete mix, loads faster and just as good. You need it to be level otherwise your glass won't fit properly. Once you have the frame constructed, check the dimensions across the diagonals, also run your eye along the sides to make sure they are straight and not bowing out (which is the typical thing).

Make sure when glazing, the day is not too windy, and that you will be able to fully glaze in a single go, even a single pane left out, if the wind picks up can destroy a greenhouse in a matter of minutes! (Well cost you a packet for more glass!)

I myself went for the bar capping option as opposed to clips, it gives nice clean lines, and of course holds the glass tightly across the entire length of the glass, which gives added stability.

Next up, consider ventilation, are you at home all day or out for long periods? If you work like me, then automated ventilation is a must. With the GH size you are talking about, one louvre window is a must, personally I went for two, one for each side which sets a nice cross breeze through. I also have them with the automatic openers. My green house has 4 top windows, 2 of which are auto controlled. You will find these things are quite expensive probably 200 quid or so, but if you are out a lot, worth every penny for peace of mind. Should last years with 5 mins of maintenance every now and again.

Regards to staging, greenhouse staging appears to be massively over priced, if I had the time again I'd be looking at local ebay or gumtree. In the meantime, consider those 4 tier green houses, currently in homebase for £22. The added bonus is if you pop the covers on in winter then cover with bubble wrap, should make nice frost proof shelters for overwintering things. I have to be honest, my staging only stays in the gh over winter til start of summer, they only ever hold seed trays so as for being strong, the 4 tier will be fine. In the summer all the staging comes out to increase the growing room for toms etc.

Anyways, good luck with your GH, I hope I have covered the main bits, any questions you have I'll check back on here for next few days.



Rhododendron dead ...or not?

Posted: 17/05/2013 at 01:35

just read in pots, so most defo from the tap water, if you have no water butts, store the water for a few weeks from the tap in an open container, ph should adjust naturally.

Rhododendron dead ...or not?

Posted: 17/05/2013 at 01:21

sounds like a food problem.. buy an ericaecious feed, (bought from pound shops!) mix up in a watering can then water in. Having said that, you are watering with rainwater yes? Because these symptoms could be from using tap water over a prolonged period of time. Remember your chemistry, this plant loves acid conditions, most tap water is treated to slightly alkali, it is very slight, but enough to give trouble over time. Also remember that these plants can suffer from ph change from recent buildings due to the lime leeching from the mortar on walls etc recently built. good luck anyways, hope my advice helps.

The jungle in my garden needs to go.

Posted: 17/05/2013 at 01:14

yeah bud, go crazy with the brush cutter, chop it all down, chuck loads of brush killer on the crowns of brambles and owt else you want shifted. Then spend a little, buy good quality anti weed stuff, then double it over, it's not a big garden, even triple it. When everything is dead it can always be reused. When it's all gone, level, loads of sharp sand if it's for lawn, remove stones, then turf.. Prob cost a few hundred quid, but add thousands to the house value.

bulbs, daffs, tulips, hyacinths, alliums

Posted: 17/05/2013 at 01:01

Right, I thought you plant them, they produce flowers, you take off the dead heads, feed and the foliage sucks up the grub and the bulb gets the energy to give next years growth and more importantly flowers. Now, my mum says only botanical tulips can be re-invigorated this way, I also saw on Beechgrove that hyacinths basically are one season wonders. What about daffs and alliums? Should I just feed all the bulbs once a week from the time I see them above ground, or after they have been dead-headed?


Identification of tree /shrub

Posted: 16/05/2013 at 10:37

Rough guess I'd go for PawPaw

If it's in a nice sheltered micro-climate in London in a nice sunny spot, exotic fruit trees do surprisingly well, and if the temps are good enough produce quite crop. Considering the ethnic diversity of London, it's not a leap of the imagination to think of a summer party and someone discarding a stone in the garden, or even planting one to see if it would grow. The picture in the first post looks remarkably like young fruits developing, my first thought was maybe cashew, or mango, but the foliage looks too different, so perhaps is the North American paw paw.

Seer Rock dust

Posted: 15/05/2013 at 18:22
fidgetbones wrote (see)

I gather it's not the same as fertiliser, but more for improving minerals in the soil. reommended dosage rate is 1 to 10 kg per sq metre. I will then add blood fish and bone as usual for NPK. I already use FYM by the tractorload. What I want to know is am I going to get the huge onions like in their advert. The last time I saw onions like that I was a kid being very impresses by the Robinsons stand at Southport flower show.

I used to use calcified seaweed for minerals but then it became unavailable due to someone stopping the cornish from dredging it off Falmouth. I gather it is ok for the French to dredge it up off Brittany.

Mr Fidgetbones, I'm by no means an expert, but I have already figured out that growing 'giant' veg of any sort usually means growing them completely differently to the norm. Molly-coddling them, growing in barrels of sand, growing in the greenhouse etc etc. They usually taste awful too, my uncle used to grow show veg and he never ever ate them, or even used the ones with 'defects' he discarded from his show table.

I use the dust purely as a longterm slow release to supply the essential minerals that are depleted by successive crops. I'm hoping using good rotation, plenty of fym and some good quality household compost, should keep my soil in tip top condition for my fruit and veg. Also planning on making a worm farm and producing worm tea at some stage, I'm just going to have to wait and see the results over the next few years, but I shall try to keep the forum informed of my findings. Good luck in the meantime, I think the dust is probably mainly to give me peace of mind that I've covered all the bases.

Seer Rock dust

Posted: 15/05/2013 at 11:23

Yeah, I looked into this last year for making my raised beds organic. The cost of the bags online was quite a bit. It can be found in B&Q under their Verve range, comes in 10kg bags, has SEER on back and works out cheaper! You don't have to add huge quantities, and it is supposed to last 3-5 years. I have to say it's not done any of my bulbs or garlic any harm at all. It seems about same price as inorganic and I will use the same way, apply a handful after each crop.

Regards to the sandy soil, get as much organic matter in there you can, then keep top dressing every year with home compost, soil will improve over next few years. Good luck and if you go the rock dust route, remember B&Q, I checked all over internet for it, then found B&Q stock the same stuff cheaper, and if you are over 60 they do a 10% discount day every week too.

Discussions started by BrummieBen

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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?

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This made me spill my tea over the keyboard!

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Needing old mouse or vole nests

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trawling youtube for gardening 
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Most famous moment with your plants?

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1 to 15 of 22 threads