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John Harding

Latest posts by John Harding

Damaged tomato, help!

Posted: 21/05/2014 at 21:09

If it isn't actually broken off the support from a cane and tied in with some soft twine should help it (the wide piece of cloth is good as it will be soft enough to support the stem without cutting into it).

If the damage is at ground (soil) level try adding some more compost to the stem above the damage (removing any leaf stems to that point) and the stem will throw out more roots and give the plant added support. This may mean re-potting the plant a little deeper but as long as the soil ball is not damaged it should be fine. Just give the plant a good drink of water afterwards.


Posted: 21/05/2014 at 20:55

Here are a few taken today at Westonbirt Arboretum

1st for Dove!!! (label 1st to explain)

 and the tree? - I first saw one of these at Birmingham Botanic Gardens in 1984 and was told then that it was only 1 of 3 in the UK at that time.

 Next an acer taken from underneath to backlight against sky

 One of the many paths at W/Birt: this one is called 'Circular Drive'



Posted: 21/05/2014 at 19:40

It depends on what variety of tomato plant is being grown: determinate (bush) no picking out, or indeterminate (cordon) - remove side shoots. The root stock doesn't change the variety - just makes for a stronger plant and will need at least a 12" (30cms) dia pot as the roots are very vigorous and will need the space to grow well.

If for instance, you are growing 'Red Alert' then it is a determinate and you do not pinch out the side shoots: If the plant is say 'Shirley' or 'Alicante' or 'Ailsa Craig' then they are all indeterminate and are best grown as cordon.

Best way is to google the variety name and see what the type is but whatever it is don't start using tomato feed until the first truss has set fruit or you will get loads of foliage and little fruit.


Posted: 21/05/2014 at 19:24

Hi all, have been to Westonbirt Arboretum today; lovely sunny day and have taken loads of photos. Will post some when I upload them to my PC - when my feet have stopped aching that is.

Have been out in the garden for the last hour or so watering the plants, potting up an Acer (low growing variety - max height 4ft (1.2mts for those who don't work in fahrenheit).

Have booked tickets to take OH (Eileen) to Highgrove on 3rd June (3 miles on from Westonbirt) as a birthday treat so looking forward to that, though phones and cameras are not allowed so will not be able to take any pics there more's the pity. John H

ID please

Posted: 19/05/2014 at 16:29
Aka sea thrift, common name and frequently found in coastal regions

Buy cheap pay twice...

Posted: 18/05/2014 at 22:33

I used to manage a hand tool shop in the 1970s and 80s and we sold thousands of gardening tools. For me the best makes for forks and spades were Spear & Jackson and Wilkinson Sword - 'Stainless Steel'

I have has  S&J all steel handled garden fork and a S/Steel garden spade for over 30 years and both are still in very good order (spade had a wooden handle which I snapped trying to dig the root out of an old apple tree so I bought a new hickory handle and fitted it and it's been fine ever since). About 10 years ago I then bought my wife a 'ladies' fork & spade in stainless steel and that is still 'as new' condition.

Stainless steel I'd a lot more expensive but they will give a lifetime of good service and they are so much easier to use as soil (especially heavy clay) doesn't stick anywhere near as much as it does to carbon steel. Definitely a worthwhile investment if you can afford it. My philosophy is to ask myself what I will think of my purchase in a years time. There is an old American saying 'quality is remembered long after price is forgotten'

ID please

Posted: 18/05/2014 at 22:15

Looks like thrift to me


Posted: 18/05/2014 at 22:13

Get a couple of ferrets as pets and let them loose in the garden at night QED!


Posted: 18/05/2014 at 21:12

Just a few pics to show how the garden is getting on at present.

1. Lupins are now in flower

 2. More of Lupins from different angle

3. Another of the Lupins

 4. And a wider view

 5.  Elsa Spath Clematis

6. The Blue Lupin flower spike




Where are YOU?

Posted: 10/05/2014 at 22:20

Have to say I agree with Mike that it is best to put a location of sorts (not a full postal address) in the 'about me' section. It does sometimes (often!) help to answer questions if you know what area of the country someone lives in and to just click on their name at the top of the post would make it very easy if that information was there - for example "why have my runner beans collapsed just a day after planting out?" Is easy to answer if clicking on the enquirers name reveals they live in Spitzbergen where permafrost is a prevailing condition.

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