John Harding

Latest posts by John Harding

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Posted: 13/11/2017 at 08:26

I agree with Dove, the amount of foliage in the pot indicates more than 3 potatoes planted initially in a relatively small pot. The rate of transpiration would therefore be very high and all the moisture in the growing medium would be sucked out through the leaves and evaporated into the atmosphere. My view is that the plants have simply died for lack of water. John H

Paraffin Heater - Help!!!

Posted: 12/11/2017 at 09:33

Hi Mike,

Yes - I too had a cable run to my workshop (used to be a garage!) and to my shed - a 10mm armoured cable protected with RCDs and a cement fillet at the bottom of at the north facing wall. From my shed I ran a lightweight JoJo reel to the GH (cable clipped to the 6ft boundary wall & fused 1 amp.) This is used solely for powering my 3 electric propagators. I also ran another extension lead to run a fan heater from w/shop to GH on a thermostat to keep the GH at 7-10 degrees when there is a risk of frost. It has proved to be effective and relatively inexpensive to run, though the initial installation expense of the 10mm armoured cable from the house to my workshop (which I needed because of the amount of machinery & equipment I use in there) did make me think long and hard - but in those days I was running a business and common sense + safety dictated it had to be done. The benefit to me now I've retired is that I have all I will ever need as regards power supply in workshop and shed.

The advice given in earlier posts is sound - viz. go for the best you can afford, even push that a little further if you can because the benefits keep backing up and 6 -12 months down the line you will be saying to yourself "I'm really glad I went the extra mile" John H

Paraffin Heater - Help!!!

Posted: 11/11/2017 at 12:22

There is a potential problem with the battery/inverter option. This is that inverters consume battery power at a considerable rate. I used to have a 2 Kw full sine-wave inverter in my van with a huge 'leisure battery' connected to an auto charging system from the van's alternator when I had my locksmith business. It was fine for very low power items like LED lighting and laptop computer but switch anything else on (like a key cutting machine) and the power would not last long unless I kept the engine running.

You would not be able, in my opinion, to run an electric heater even on a thermostat overnight and expect it to still be operational in the morning & I'm guessing that the power would have run out in the early hours so no frost protection there. It is extremely frustrating and expensive when you've invested time & money protecting plants only to find one failure has destroyed everything through frost damage. A small GH might be OK with a small tubular GH heater depending on the wattage of the heater but it would really pay to do some time/temperature tests before relying on an inverter. Hope this helps. John H

Plant ID please

Posted: 31/08/2017 at 10:18

Thanks for that, I'll let the garden people know

Plant ID please

Posted: 31/08/2017 at 09:34

Hi all,

I saw a strange seedpod on a plant in some gardens near Stourport on Severn yesterday: even the owners didn't know what it was. Hopefully I can transfer the pics to this post.


Posted: 23/06/2017 at 10:06

One of the voluntary jobs I do in my "retirement"  (meaningless term!)  is I train 'tool sharpening' having been a tool shop manager many years ago and I now train locksmiths to keep their chisels, plane blades, drill bits and other cutting tools razor sharp. Where garden shears are concerned I would recommend using a 6 inch smooth cut hand file - obtainable from a good hand tools shop or on eBay. The brand I would recommend is 'Nicholson' or 'Stubbs' or 'Sandvik' or 'Bahco' as these companies make top quality tools and, believe me, there are some really cheap imported rubbish files out there in the market place that are worse than useless and a complete waste of money. Always make sure files have handles fitted before using them and file the blade in a slightly uphill angle towards the cutting edge. I then use a technique called 'draw filing' to give an extra fine finish. Filing the blade will give a slight burr at the top of the filed edge - never try filing this off - if you have done the job correctly a little spray of WD40 and then closing the shears will remove the burr and give you a nice clean edge.

Hope this helps


Posted: 22/06/2017 at 22:53

Just resurrecting this thread: We visited Jekka McVicar at her Bristol Herb Farm recently and she began a talk to all the visitors by asking who had secateurs, what type they were, how frequently they were sharpened, how to sharpen them and how important it is to keep them clean and sharp.

It was a very enlightening talk. She prefers the bypass type and I noted she was using Felco No 2 by-pass secateurs.  Jekka explained how cleanliness was as important as sharpness. A sharp pair will cut cleanly (not crush) which helps in not causing disease in the plant and cleanliness is as important in the fight against disease in plants. She showed how to keep secateurs sharp using a small sharpening steel she kept in her pocket though a small sharpening stone from a tool shop would do as well - something used for sharpening wood carving gouges would be ideal. Jekka sharpens her secateurs 2 or 3 times a week. I learned a lot from Jekka that day and found the visit very helpful.

In a previous post I said Felco No 2 costs about £60 - however, I bought a pair for my son from Amazon at about £34 inc Vat & delivery and another pair for my brother in law at the RHS Malvern spring show for £33 so it is possible to get some good deals depending on where you look.

Brussell sprout newbie advice

Posted: 21/06/2017 at 15:47

Scroggin is right re water pipe & netting: I did contemplate this for my raised beds but I wanted something a bit more robust to stand at least 6 ft over the bed. A friend recommended Knowle Nets of Bridport, Dorset and having used them before for a smaller bed I gave them a call. The guy on the phone was extremely helpful and I decided at nearly 73 to avoid the hassle and order what I wanted. Nets and frame were tailor made for my plot, were very easy to install, (they came with comprehensive instructions), and is doing a great job. As I said in an earlier post they are not cheap (including delivery my 3mts x 1.2mts x 2mts high frame came to £123) but there is a certain feeling of satisfaction when you plan and make something yourself and save yourself a considerable sum of money.

Not been on here for a while

Posted: 20/06/2017 at 09:35

It seems I can load pics again. I'm using my old PC - haven't plucked up the courage to try the iMac yet for this site but here are some pics of my garden showing the new arrangement (Apple tree gone, new circular patio, new lawn plus some Burton McCall vertical planter units screwed to the fence)

Brussell sprout newbie advice

Posted: 20/06/2017 at 09:14

OK, here goes with my attempt to put a pic up showing my netting frame over my brassicas:

Ah! it seems to have worked  I decided to boot up the old PC and pics are loading ok again

1 to 10 of 471

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