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Green Magpie


Latest posts by Green Magpie

Tomato Varieties

Posted: 09/05/2014 at 17:07

Moneymaker has a clue in the name - it's bred to give a big yield but isn't great for flavour. Marmande is French and might not do as well in the UK as it would in France. Never heard of Harzfeuer.

You can grow from seeds taken from a tomato, but it's useful to know what it is, whether it's an F1 hybrid (which won't breed true), whether it will do well outdoors, and whether it's an upright (indeterminate) or bush type (determinate). Without this information you could waste a lot of time, effort, compost, feed, etc on the wrong sort of plant or grwoing it the wrong way.

For outdoor tomatoes, I have found Sungold superb for flavour - it's an F1 so the seeds are expensive, but most people only want a few plants. I'm also growing Maskotka, a bush-type that's easy to look after.

 

 

Clematis for a south facing border

Posted: 09/05/2014 at 16:52

I agree with Salino that a montana would be too big and vigorous, and the viticella types might end up too big as well, as would an armandii.

There are so many of smaller, large-flowered ones to choose from, you'll be spoilt for choice. Morrison's supermarkets have some in now for £2 and many of them are very good (and at that price you can try out a few!)  Some of the newer varieties with Polish names are good. I also have one called Bees' Jubilee (named, disappointingly, after a Mr Bees) which has huge pinky-lilac flowers and has grown quite quickly since I bought it at Morrison's two or three years ago. It's going to flower again very soon.

The great thing about clematis is that is doens't really need  space of its own, it can twine up into other plants or onto fences, hedges etc.

Problem with plum tree

Posted: 09/05/2014 at 16:39

We bought a plum tree 6 years ago. It's one of those double varieties with two sorts (greengage and damson) on the same rootstock. We had no flowers ar all for several years, and in the last two years just two tiny flowers on the greengage part (which is the most vigorous, now about 8 ft tall). And then this year we had, for the first time, quite a lot of proper blossom - mostly on the greengage bit but a few flowers on the damson part too.

So hang in there, it looks as if plum trees can take a long time to do what they're supposed to do. I don't know whether we'll get any fruit, but at least we've got as far as blossom!

How soon can I plant violas in teacups for 14 June wedding?

Posted: 09/05/2014 at 16:29

I would ask your nursery or GC  about the availability, so you don't buy them sooner than you need to. Then when you get them, leave them in the trays until a few days before, unless they're clearly outgrowing their space and needing to be potted on. I agree that they might not do well in cups for long.

Give them an occasional feed (liquid seaweed or a high-potassium feed). Keep deadheading them, and a week or two before the event, take off not only the dead heads but some of the ones that have not gone over yet. This wil encourage new flowers to form in time for the day.

Other possibilities are lobelia, trailing bacopa or "million bells". But I don't think a teacup will hold all the suggestions!

Tomatoes - possibly my second mistake of the year!!!!

Posted: 09/05/2014 at 10:41

I can't think of anything else that needs side shoots removed.With peppers and chilis, you do the opposite - pinch out the tips to encourage more side shoots and more fruit.

Some plants (including upright tomatoes!) can be "stopped" later in the year by taking off the growing tip. This allows the fruits etc already formed to ripen properly, rather than go on into the cooler weather producing stuff that will never ripen. I think you can do this with some climbing beans, and possibly courgettes, squashes  and cucumbers. But it's not essential for these, and I don't usually bother unless the plants are getting reallly cumbersome.

Tomatoes - possibly my second mistake of the year!!!!

Posted: 09/05/2014 at 10:10

Aha, I've just seen your new pair of photos. Ignore my post above, which relates to your first attempt. Yes, that looks right to me, I think you've got it!

Tomatoes - possibly my second mistake of the year!!!!

Posted: 09/05/2014 at 10:09

Difficult to be sure from the photo, but it looks to me as if the larger lower bits you cut off were actually just single leaves rather than new shoots. I don't think the plants would have big side shoots at this stage. Don't be in a hurry to take off any more - let them grow on a bit and they should make themselves a bit clearer.

Tomatoes - possibly my second mistake of the year!!!!

Posted: 09/05/2014 at 09:43

Woops, yes, it looks as if you have taken off some lower leaves too. But that is not a problem if (as others have said) you plant it a bit deeper next time, and ti will put out extra roots from the buried bit of stem.

Tomatoes - possibly my second mistake of the year!!!!

Posted: 09/05/2014 at 08:51

Looking at that, I think I can see tiny side-shoots just appearing: if you look at the back edge of the pot and then just above it, you can see that there's a big leaf going our to the right, and then between it and the main stem, a tiny sprouting shoot, and the same at the next joint up. These are (unless the camera deceives me) new sideshoots and should be pinched out. That is where you find the side shoots, at a leaf joint between the leaf and the stem. They come back sometimes and you have to keep doing it.

Having said that ... my daughter has an allotment and grows Gardener's Delight, which is an upright and should have the sideshoots removed. She was too busy/careless to bother (and went on hol in August), and she still had a terrific crop of tomatoes. The old boys on the allotment were critical at first, and then quite envious of her success, as she had far more tomatoes than anyone else! So it's not that crucial.

Miracle Gro is a "balanced" fertiliser and won't do any harm - it will have fed the roots, leaves and shoots. At the worst it might leave the plants low in magnesium, which would discolour the leaves, and it may have made them a bit leggy.  But they'll be fine, I'm sure. Eventually you should get yourself some tomato feed, which will have the right balance of nutrients (high in potassium to help fruiting, and probably with magnesium too), and start administering that when the first tiny fruits start to form.

Fleece Cloches

Posted: 08/05/2014 at 16:54

I had some old hanging basket frames that I got in a car boot sale, and last year I covered them with fleece or with that thin polystyrene sheeting they use in packaging, using a stapler. In fact I am going to reassemble them soon, to put over my courgettes and cues when they go out.

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