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Crazy Cat

Latest posts by Crazy Cat

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Posted: 29/03/2014 at 12:59

Hay! I grew Hestia last year in containers and they were AMAZING. I would sow now.

I have had best success by germinating the seeds between sheets of (good quality) kitchen roll and then placing in a ziplock bag- when in the bag then add water until the kitchen roll is wet and seal the bag. Leave until seed germinates and the main root is about a 1/2 (half) inch long and then gently plant in compost, covered ideally- pigeons love bean shoots

Out of 20 seeds sown last year, 17 survived into strong and really healthy plants.

All the taste and vigour of climbing runner beans but on dwarf plants. The flowers looked great as well so an edible patio crop! They do like the water thought so water well!

Good Luck and fingers crossed for great growing weather


Posted: 12/08/2013 at 12:52


I think part of the problem may well be that they are in the greenhouse-sounds strange  but despite being tropical, chilli plants have a temperature limit of around 30 degrees- "too hot, they rot". I think excessive heat and then the sharp temperature drop at night affects the plant's enzymes and stops full ripening occuring- they like a constant temperature.

Also, the air inside greenhouses is "still", chillis like humidity but with ventalation, otherwise Botrytis (grey mold) can occur on stems, petioles and fruits. Basically, they're fussy! 

Traditionally, chillis are picked whilst still green- leaving until red reduces yeilds by up to 25%. Pick the all the older chilli's off, any rot will spread quickly in humid greenhouses and ruin all your hard work. Snip off the chillis and ripen on a windowsill (lodging chillis upright in an old egg carton sometimes works alon). 

I always pick mine green once they have reached good size- the amount of capsaicin (heat) won't be much less at all- the chillis should ripen okay inside (and so sweeten as the natural storage carbohydrates convert into sugars).

Hope this helps and fingers crossed that they pick up- 



Posted: 31/07/2013 at 14:47

Hi Margaret,

Couple of tips that I got from a neighbour which I tried and have worked well!

1) When a male flower appears but there are no female flowers open, I simply store the male flower in the fridge- the pollen will stay alive for about a week or so

2) When a female flower appears, I take the male flower and remove the petals (leaving only the base filament of the flower with the pollen tubes/anther attached). I then place the whole of the male base with the pollen anthers directly into the female flower and very gently push down so I knwo the male pollen will touch the female stigma.

Sounds complicated but it is quite easy in practise!  essentially take the male petals of and then place remains of male flower into female.

Hope this works for you!

Material for raised bed

Posted: 27/07/2013 at 12:46

Hi Dr1974.

Firstly congratualtions on making your own raised beds yourself, rather than buying them- They are a silly price to buy

I am a Chemistry Technician by trade and my advice to you is that yes the Tanalith 'E' treated wood should be okay to use. This is because (unlike traditional treatments) Tanalith 'E' does NOT contain Chromium or Arsenic compounds-it contains organic biocides which are generally much safer.

I would however still line the raised bed using a waterproof material (Tanalith 'E' is water soluable and the wood is treated by soaking in Tanalith 'E' and then vacuum pressured). Whilst not hazardous in the levels in your wood, the organic biocides can affect good microbe soil health over a time period of 1-2 years (Tanalith 'E' biocide is meant to prevent microbes rotting wood). A simple waterproof lining with drainage holes in the bottom (away from the wood) will suffice.

Hope this helps!


Harvesting spuds, onions & garlic

Posted: 25/07/2013 at 20:19


The garlic might be the tricky one- meganzqn was spot on when she said garlic needs a period of cold to trigger clove formation.

If you put them in during march then they might be okay as we had a very cold and late spring (we had snow in march where we are). The late cold spring may have been enough to trigger them.

If the top are yellowing/browning then I would gently fork up a few and have a look. Try to do this on a sunny dry day and garlic tends to keep better if you leave the root on.


Confession- slug olympics

Posted: 06/07/2013 at 22:01

Okay- I have a confession to make

In the eternal battle against my arch nemisis (Slugs & snails) I admit to being rather brutal.

I live on the edge of a field and so I take a rather guilty pleasure in flicking said slugs/snails (using my spade) over the fence into the field. The thrushes seem to have caught on as they are usually hanging around waiting for there food to be thrown over.

Anyone else have any henious secrets they care to confess? I can't be the only secret snail slinger.....can I ????

Blue Lake Climbing Beans- Very late to flower??

Posted: 06/07/2013 at 21:55

Hi Follks,

Thanks for the replies. It is just so frustrating- the dwarf beans are all okay but these climbing french beans are not behaving themselves....

I guess the dreadful start to the year didnt help so fingers crossed they will catch up. I must admit I have been really suprised by some dwarf runner beans (Hestia) I have been growing for the first time- output yield is amazing considering the size of the plants compared to traditional climbing runners. Learn something new every day!


Blue Lake Climbing Beans- Very late to flower??

Posted: 05/07/2013 at 20:42

Evening Folks!

Just a question to see if anyone having similar problem.

My climbing french beans (Blue Lake) are only just developing flower buds- in previous years I have already started harvesting byt this time!

Really quite strange as the Runner Beans seem to be doing well and I just picked the first lot last week.

Anyone any ideas as to why these pesky french beans are on the go slow? Sigh...suppose they are french after all!

ground cover for slope

Posted: 04/06/2013 at 18:09

Hi gillylal,

As sandy soil on a slope will lose water quickly I would maybe go for some varieties that hold up well in that soil type.

Some grasses might help to anchor the sand and help reduce water loss.

For groundcover maybe Oregon Stonecrop or Moss Phlox (although the shade may limit the Phlox).

Flowering Quince loves free draining soil and possible bulbs that may grow okay in sandy soils could include foxglove and bluebells (although I think you would have to dig in some good ).

Mahonia 'Winter Sun' is a good shrub for the shade and likes free draining soil (again would add some humus/good compost). It can grow throughtout britain although can get a little big- although bounces back well from a good pruning now and then!

Hope you find plants which suit your needs!




Minibell Tomatoes- Anyone grown them?

Posted: 04/06/2013 at 17:41

Hi Italophile,

Thanks for the reply!! I hope that having taken cuttings I should have enough time to have a second crop of minibel tomatoes ripened by the end of summer (weather dependant!)

I am suprised by how few people seem to have grown this variety Hardly anyone I speak to have heard of them. All rather strange!

They require no staking, take very little room and are pretty disease resistant (I have no problems at all with them so far). They have produced a lot of tomatoes that are ripening well and the actual size is very good for a cherry- about 1 and half inches or so.

As an heirloom variety I would have thought more people would have tried it! Especially as it takes so little room it is an ideal size for container/patio growing or even as a companion plant at the ends of the salad beds. I presume city/balcony growers would love this type as well...

Come on all you fellow gardeners- I can't have been the only one to grow them....Anyone??


11 to 20 of 23

Discussions started by Crazy Cat

What cucumber are people growing this year?

Replies: 6    Views: 441
Last Post: 14/04/2014 at 23:32

Confession- slug olympics

Slug hammer throw? 
Replies: 20    Views: 1022
Last Post: 17/07/2013 at 05:16

Blue Lake Climbing Beans- Very late to flower??

Slow growing beans 
Replies: 8    Views: 867
Last Post: 07/07/2013 at 21:24

Minibell Tomatoes- Anyone grown them?

Looking for advice! 
Replies: 4    Views: 1811
Last Post: 04/06/2013 at 18:09
4 threads returned