Latest posts by ChapelGirl2

Identifying beneficial insect larvae

Posted: 14/06/2013 at 18:44

Thank-you. I'll take a look.

preserving heritage tomatoes

Posted: 13/06/2013 at 23:49

Thanks Bob. I'll try and keep them away from the others, to preserve the seeds. They are one of the varieties you can 'adopt' - see link.

Identifying beneficial insect larvae

Posted: 13/06/2013 at 20:51

I think we all know what greenfly look like, and can identify hatched slugs etc., but does anybody know of a book or a website which gives us pictures of the eggs and larvae of pests and of 'good' insects such as ladybird or hoverfly larve, so we know which ones to squash or blitz with soap etc. and which to cuddle and nurture?

preserving heritage tomatoes

Posted: 13/06/2013 at 20:43

I have been given some Heritage tomato seeds - Peacevine. They have germinated and are now ready for planting out.

Assuming I am successful in getting them to flower and fruit, I'd like to save the seeds for next year, and maybe pass them on to friends, to keep the variety going.

I have also sown some Brandywine and Sungold, which I was intending to raise in the same bed.

Do I need to be worried about the Peacevine cross-pollinating with the other two to produce a hybrid, or will the fruits and seeds come 'true'? If there is a risk of cross-pollinisation, what is the best way to prevent it, if that's possible?


Posted: 01/06/2013 at 23:02
Yesterday, quite by chance, I had two messages in my in-box about bees.    One was from a French organisation called Pollinis, who tell me that Brussels is about to agree to a scheme whereby the 3 most dangerous neo-nicotinoid pesticides will be banned during a 2 year test period, after which the health and safety authorities will check to see if the ban has stopped the massacre of the bees, and to see whether they should put a permanent ban on neo-nicotinoids.

Actually, the 3 bee-killer pesticides will only be banned during a few months of the year and for the most part will be in use for the rest of the year – on nearly 85% of cereal crops, and on a large proportion of fruit, vegetable and herb crops, severely poisoning the ground and the water, which will then be taken up into the roots of the so-called “non-treated” crops.

Many studies have shown that these highly toxic substances can remain in the soil for up to three years after their application and that non-treated crops planted in those same fields will show traces of neo-nicotinoids even as far as their pollen, which then goes on to kill bees!

At the end of the two year test period the multinationals will be able to prove that the bee population is continuing to be decimated in spite of the so-called ban on their products, and that they are not to blame. They will have succeeded in exonerating their pesticides and protecting their profits for many years to come.

There might still be time to stop them, but I'm afraid it will take a bit more effort on our part than simply planting a few bee-friendly annuals. Even non-French can sign their petition, but there are probably UK-based pressure-groups who need our support as well.

The second message was from a supporter of Friends of the Earth, who sent me a list of the MPs who have signed the Bee Cause Statement, calling for offical investigations into saving the bees. I wonder if you know whether your MP has signed it? You can see the list at the FoE website.

Talkback: How to grow tomatoes in grow bags and pots

Posted: 01/06/2013 at 20:18
I missed what variety he liked the best. I recall Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall doing a flavour test some time ago. He liked the orange Sungold and any colour of Brandywine, but he also cited Garener's Delight and Nectar. Personally, I have Brandywine, Sungold, and the heritage variety Peacevine on the go. They are all still in pots and horribly leggy, due to the awful wet weather we have been having here in the Savoie.


Posted: 30/08/2012 at 22:44

We have been having some landscaping work done in the garden and they had to pull out some overgrown heathers under a golden Leylandii-style cypress. They disturbed what the thought at first was a wasps' nest but fotunately for them it turned out to be 'bourdons', which my dictionary translates as bumble bees.  These bees are about honey-bee size, but shorter and fatter, and they seem to be sociable, whereas most bumble bees I am used to are solitary.

best flavoured tomatoes

Posted: 30/08/2012 at 17:27

When Hugh-Fearnley Whittingstall did his taste test the winners were Sungold, Santa, Brandywine, Nectar and Odoriko.

Sungold, Brandywine and Santa are available from Thompson and Morgan. Simpsons sell Nectar.

I'm not sure about Odoriko. If anyone comes across it, I'd be grateful to know where I can get seed. I DL'd the RHS veg. seed suppliers' list and they DO list it, and say there is one UK seed supplier in 2012, but for some reason that's all the information you get!  Further Google searches have been fruitless - literally!

I've grown Sungold and Brandywine in previous years and can definitely recommend them for flavour.

This year I'm growing red, yellow and black cherry tomatoes only. I can't tell you what variety they are because I sowed them from seed I saved from a supermarket punnet!

drunken Blue Atlas Cedar

Posted: 17/08/2012 at 12:56


 Thanks sotongeoff. I've had another go and it is working now. It wasn't working for me a couple of days ago.

Dovefromabove, the trunk is 45cm in circumference, not diameter. If I dried it out it  might be useful as firewood in the wood burner, but being cedar it probably wouldn't produce much heat.

drunken Blue Atlas Cedar

Posted: 14/08/2012 at 16:33

I would have uploaded a picture but I don't think that feature is working here yet.  

I am sure that these plants can be very elegant, but I'd describe mine as more of a 'Slouching Atlas Cedar', and the rickety crutches holding its arms up don't help with the aesthetic appeal either.  

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