Chris Bowers

Latest posts by Chris Bowers

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Victoria Plumb - query over fruit

Posted: 26/05/2014 at 10:38

Poor pollination also causes mis-shapen fruit. This can be due to a lack of pollinating insects at blossom time, or a night frost when the flowers are open.

You can aid pollination in future seasons by going round with a soft haired brush and doing the job by hand. 

Hope that helps.



Posted: 02/02/2014 at 09:05

Hi, you could fill the bottom quarter say with crocks etc but it might be difficult to maintain moisture levels in the active compost as it will be much more prone to drying out. Better I think to choose a not-too-large container in the first place, or increase the size of container gradually over 3-4 years.

Hope that helps.


Strawberry Plants

Posted: 25/01/2014 at 15:13

You certainly can divide strawberries, it is sometimes done commercially for varieties that produce few runners - in particular perpetual and day-neutral varieties, as well as 'alpine' strawberries that do not produce any runners.

Personally, I don't think now would be the best time - better to wait until early spring just before active growth starts again. Remove all the top growth before dividing very carefully and re-plant in fresh soil 15" apart. Make sure they are watered well during dry periods until established.

However it must be stressed that taking runners  in the Summer is a better method of increase, the resultant plants will be more vigorous and the mother plants will of course still crop. 


Posted: 25/01/2014 at 15:10

Blueberries are probably the best of all soft fruits for pot growing and this would seem to be the ideal way of growing them unless you happen to have acid soil. Blueberries actually seem to like growing in pots!

A pot size of 18" is ideal; over-potting will actually decrease yield and you also run the risk of 'stale' compost since Blueberries are quite shallow rooted. 

There are actually no fully self fertile varieties and it's always best to plant a pair of different varieties. Another aspect to consider is that of fruiting time. By planting an early and a late you will get a spread picking season.

'Patriot' is a good early variety and 'Goldtraube' a good later one. 

Identifying orchard tree varieties

Posted: 19/12/2013 at 15:45

If submitting samples remember that the foliage is also a useful tool in helping to identify apple varieties. 


Posted: 19/12/2013 at 15:41

Rhubarb can be grown in pots but sometimes/often shows signs of stress and goes into early summer dormancy, especially if the roots get too hot in the summer. It should be easy to find a space for it that may seem unpromising to other plants. If you have a compost heap for example it would absolutely love being grown there and wouldn't seem out of place. 

You may come to love your Rhubarb clump in time! It's difficult to buy decent rhubarb in the shops, and then only for a short time. I know a lot of people would love to have a productive mature rhubarb clump in their garden! 

Quickest growing fruit tree?

Posted: 12/12/2013 at 16:16



Yes, it is! 

Quickest growing fruit tree?

Posted: 12/12/2013 at 16:15

Hello Matt.

If there are other apple trees nearby it should crop and ornamental crab Apples do the job as well. If you want to be 100% sure then plant a small crab apple or a small apple tree of a good pollinating variety elsewhere in the garden. Even a small cordon would do. 

It's OK to plant at any time during the winter as long as the weather is fairly 'open'. If you order a tree olivine it will likely come as bare-root which is generally considered the best for transplanting. But it will need to be planted out again fairly quickly. If you go to a  local Garden Centre you will probably be able to buy one in a container which will then of course 'keep' for as long as you need to. Make sure they know the rootstock 'though as Garden Centre stock doesn't always carry this information on the label.




splitting rhubarb

Posted: 12/12/2013 at 09:22

Further information .... if the clump is quite old and the crowns in the centre appear 'soft' then it's best to discard those and only use the healthier outer portions.

Also don't pull the new plants the first year, however strong they appear!

Quickest growing fruit tree?

Posted: 12/12/2013 at 09:04

Hello Matt.

Fruit trees on vigorous rootstocks will grow the most quickly, so you would be looking at MM106 for Apples, BA29 for Pears and St Julien for Plums. Of those a Pear might be the best choice because they have the largest leaves for coverage; either that or something like a Bramley Apple which is a triploid variety so has greater vigour.

Any of these you could keep in bounds by light annual pruning and you can have a trunk clearance that suits you.. I'm not saying they would achieve the same annual rate of growth of a Eucalypt but as far as fruit trees are concerned they would be the quickest. 

Hope that helps. 

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