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Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie


Posted: 20/05/2014 at 09:35

One of my tomato plants got damaged in transplanting from the seed tray to the pot several weeks ago. I pushed it back into the soil so that the fractured bit of stem was buried, and left it in a pot, out of doors. To my surprise it survived, so I have now moved it into a corner of the veg plot. Although smaller than the plants that were in the mini-greenhouse, it seems to have grown huge roots while in the pot, so I'll be interested to see how it fares. As Italophile says, they're tougher than they look.


Posted: 19/05/2014 at 18:31

My tomatoes are a bit feeble so far but they've gone out in the bed and I am hoping they'll come good, as they have done in previous years, when they get used to the soil and get a bit more sun. It's surprising how well they can do once they get going, so don't give up.

Mistaken identity

Posted: 19/05/2014 at 18:28

They certainly don't look like any peppers or chilis I've ever seen, and do look suspiciously like some sort of brassicas.

Veg patch set-up

Posted: 19/05/2014 at 08:44

Like you, we took over a large garden and wanted a veg plot. I don't know what your budget is, but we opted for raised beds surrounded by gravel (which obviously costs more to set up than just digging a bed).

I love my raised beds and find it keeps the veg and fruit area accessible in all weathers. I never dig it, just fork over lightly witha hand-fork. We have some beds with fixed crops (soft fruit, rhubarb, asparagus) and the rest of the space is used in rotation for all the other veg. Asparagus and carrots do particularly well in raised beds; brassicas don't do so well as they like firm soil.

Do remember to build yourself a big compost bay with two or more sections, as you'll be producing masses of useable waste in a big garden, and your veg will love the results.

Water cress

Posted: 18/05/2014 at 17:31

If watercress isn't feasible, try American Land Cress. Tastes very like watercress but grows in soil like any sensible vegetable would.

Clematis for a south facing border

Posted: 11/05/2014 at 14:43

I have a Wisely growing up a trellis, where it has given sterling service for about 8 years now. I cut it back each winter or early spring and protect it from snails when it starts to re-grow, and it's always a treat to see. One year it started to flower quite early and then mysteriously died back, but I just cut it back and it re-grew to flower again through to September. I think they're quite resilent plants.

first timer trying to grow carrota

Posted: 10/05/2014 at 11:52

Carrots can take a couple of weeks or more to come through, be patient. But I am unsure whether they'll do well in a tub, unless it's a very deep tub.

Peppers can take a week or two to germinate. They develop quite slowly and should really have been sown (indoors) some weeks ago. If you haven't started any yet, it might be better to buy a few plants now to get off to a good start.

Cucumbers, though, will germinate in a few days if you start them indoors in pots, and they don't benefit from starting too early. Then when they're well up you can move them to somewhere cooler, and start to harden them off if they are to go outside.

Tomato varieties for outdoors

Posted: 09/05/2014 at 17:10

I have found that Sungold don't seem to get blight as much as some varieties.

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.

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