Green Magpie


Latest posts by Green Magpie

Strawberry moths

Posted: 06/06/2016 at 15:19

I have what looks like a bumper crop of strawberries starting to ripen, but have noticed some tiny, whitish moths around the plants. Will these lay eggs/larvae that will destroy my crop? Is there anything I can do to deter them?

Help needed with my tomato plants

Posted: 06/06/2016 at 13:41

There are two types of tomato plants, cordon (indeterminate) and bush (determinate).  Each variety belongs to one or other of those groups, e.g.. Gardeners' Delight is a cordon, Tumbler is a bush. 


Cordon tomatoes are best grown upright,supported with canes. To keep them in trim, you pluck out side shoots as they develop. Bush tomatoes just creep or tumble on the ground or in baskets or beds, and don't need to be nipped out.


Later in the season, it makes sense to stop the. plants by nipping out the leading shoots, so that the plant doesn't waste energy producing fruit that will never ripen. Cordons should be stopped once about 4 or 5 trusses of fruit have appeared.  I also stop my bush tomatoes in late summer or early autumn, otherwise they go on and on making marble-sized green tomatoes.


So you have to know which varieties you are growing, and whether they are cordon or bush types. If it's too late to identify them, you'll just have to do whatever seems easiest - you'll still get some tomatoes. If you know the names of the varieties, google them for details, to find out how best to grow them.

Tomato Feed

Posted: 03/06/2016 at 16:19

You'd need an awful lot of tomato plants to use even one pack of Chempack, it's very concentrated (and thus good value). I wouldn't try storing it for years unless I had a very dry place for it, as the preparation comes as crystals that you dissolve in water. If the packaging gets damp (I think it's usually cardboard) the crystals go all lumpy and sticky.


But the offer would be ideal for a group of gardeners or an allotment group to purchase in bulk.

Bee Hive

Posted: 29/05/2016 at 21:36

I still wouldn't want a nest in my shed. That one is still very small, and if you knock it out with a stick or a broom, the wasps will go elsewhere. It's true that early in the season they are carnivores, but later on they develop a taste for sugar, and that's when they become a bit of a nuisance and a danger, as they attack garden fruits on the bush or on the ground, and also pester anyone with sweet food or drinks in the garden.

Is it a good/bad idea to grow 2 different climbers on the same trellis??

Posted: 29/05/2016 at 21:26

It's the trellis that might come out worst. Montanas can be very vigorous and heavy after a few years. Passion flower is a bit less so, but still quite substantial. They don't flower until late than the clematis, so they coukd complement each other quite well, but your trellis needs to be very sturdy.

Cucumber plants yellow patches on leaves

Posted: 29/05/2016 at 21:19

In the past, mine have had a bit of what appears to be mosaic virus, but it hasn't affected fruit production. It takes a.lot to kill a courgette plant once it gets going.

So......Chelsea!

Posted: 25/05/2016 at 22:39

Well, I appreciate the fact that Chelsea is given so.much coverage.  It may not all be to our taste,  but at least it's giving airtime to gardens, plants and gardening, rather than men propelling balls around fields or tables or throwing sharp things at a board on the wall.


That doesn't mean I like it all.  Some of the entries are the garden equivalent of Disneyland.  (Revolving plants? They'll have talking trees next!) I don't like gardens dominated by huge lumps of steel or concrete, or furniture or gadgets;  I don't like gardens that are preaching or political.  But as a programme, it's easy on the eye,  and shows some wonderful plants and flowers that I'd love to see for real. 


As for the presenters' clothes: the women all seem to feel a need to compete with the flowers - and of course the flowers win every time. I don't know why the men are in suits and ties at all, but I found Monty's ill-fitting, floppy jacket quite amusing and endearing. It was as if he'd been told he had to wear a jacket and tie and was doing so under protest. I prefer him in his gardening clothes with braces and wellies.


If I went to a big show, it wouldn't be Chelsea, but I'm happy to watch it, appreciate it and nitpick.

Courgettes - anyone put theirs out yet?

Posted: 25/05/2016 at 22:14

I'm in Devon and have been putting my courgettes and cues  out, one at a time,  over the last week. They seem to have survived overnight temps of 8 or 9  and all look OK except one cucumber,which is now under a cloche tonight. The main problem is slugs, so have some.pellets ready.

Beware bark chippings!

Posted: 24/05/2016 at 10:46

Update on the above: I have now, cautiously, replaced the bark on a couple of test plants, and then on the rest. They are fine. Before I did this, I spread the bark out in a wheelbarrow to expose it to the air for a couple of days,  as one theory is that toxic gases build up in the pack.


So .....  my conclusion is that somehow the combination of freshly opened chippings, cool winds and lots of water have combined to cause the problem. Perhaps the watering  caused the new shoots to sprout just as the winds cooled, and the bark was stressing the plants???   Each of the variables (cool weather, water, and bark) individually seemed to be tolerated.I don't suppose we'll ever know for sure, but the good news is that my hedge looks like surviving.

Watering

Posted: 24/05/2016 at 10:35

I don't water every day, unless it's very dry and hot . Mangetout certainly don't need daily watering, and may not need watering at all until they're podding. Beans and toms and cucumbers like a good drink, but not necessarily every day.

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