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John Harding


Latest posts by John Harding

HELLO FORKERS!

Posted: 11/04/2014 at 14:36

Have been out in the garden & pottering in the GH today - lovely sunny day here in Bristol. The blossom is over on the Peach & Apricot trees but now the Conference Pear & Cherry are in full bloom (Pics added below).

Have bought some netting for the Brassicas this year as they were decimated by Cabbage White caterpillars last year despite hand picking religiously (I don't want to use chemicals so netting has to be the answer). I set Brussels Sprouts, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Hispi Cabbage and Borecole in their allocated bed this morning, went and sat down for a salad lunch at 12.30 and 2 Cabbage White butterflies flitted across the lawn - they're about early this year! - so the netting went up straight after lunch. For Interest the netting & Frame (approx 1.4 metres square) was from Knowle Nets in Dorset and cost was £72.00 inc Vat & delivery.

See pics below

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/42060.jpg?width=307&height=350&mode=max

 

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/42061.jpg?width=307&height=350&mode=max

 

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http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/42063.jpg?width=307&height=350&mode=max

 

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/42064.jpg?width=307&height=350&mode=max

 Last pic is a Japanese Maple 'Purpurea' we bought a few years ago from a Daily Telegraph offer. It's the best its ever been this year.

Crane fly larvae

Posted: 08/04/2014 at 21:50

Hi GA, I'm in Bristol too (in Mangotsfield) but haven't noticed any as yet. Otherwise known as leatherjackets they can cause a lot of damage to root systems especially in lawns where they eat the roots and the grass turns yellow & dies in patches. Best and most effective treatment is nematodes. Crows and Magpies will often dig them out but though we have an abundance of Magpies in Mangotsfield they will not eradicate them where there is a bad infestation.

Grubs

Posted: 07/04/2014 at 21:47

If you can't take a photo try describing them in more detail. i.e. a vine weevil grub is sickle shaped, about 12-16 mm long with an orange coloured head. These will devastate plants by consuming the roots below ground while the adult weevils spend their time playing 'dead' if you are around & looking for them - or nibbling holes in the edges of leaves above ground + laying eggs for the next generation. Best treatment (& only effective one so far as I'm concerned for these 'orrible little critters) is Nemasys (Nematodes) - expensive but extremely effective & available from several sources including Amazon.

Pinching Tomatoes

Posted: 07/04/2014 at 21:38

I was taught to stop the plant (pinch out the main growing tip) after 4 trusses had set but have to admit I've always let them go on for 5 or 6 trusses. Don't start feeding the plant until the first truss has set fruit or you will just get masses of foliage & no fruit. I do tend to remove all the leaves to just above the first truss once it has set fruit as well so that the plants energy is concentrated on the tomatoes rather than leaf production.

Camera Corner

Posted: 05/04/2014 at 13:23

Ah! I thought I had said - I had a replacement knee on 31st Dec. and have been recuperating. Doing all the exersizes and a whole lot of walking. All has been very beneficial & I managed to plant 4 new fruit trees a couple of weeks ago. Greenhouse is now full of new seedlings etc and you can see some of the brassicas hardening off on the little shelf on the pergola. JH

Camera Corner

Posted: 05/04/2014 at 12:40

I thought it was about time I took a few more pics so have just been out in the garden before I shoot off to Warwick for a concert this evening. Taken in a bit of a hurry but I hope you enjoy them.

A couple of weeks ago I bought 4 new small-ish fruit trees. A Quince that I have planted in front of the pergola; a Conference Pear, a Peach and an Apricot against the fence (left to right). The Pear has just come into blossom so have added that on its own. Then the Cherry which is just beginning to come into blossom and below that is an Erysimum - (if they all upload OK of course)

http://s3.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/41564.jpg?width=350

 

http://s3.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/41565.jpg?width=350

 

http://s3.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/41566.jpg?width=350

 

http://s3.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/41567.jpg?width=350

 

http://s3.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/41568.jpg?width=350

 John H

PS, the fence faces due south so they will get plenty of sun (if we get a summer!)

Mystery of pH/useful list

Posted: 28/03/2014 at 23:06

I too have a pH meter; cost about £12 in a farm shop in Pickering N/Yorks a few years ago while on holiday: tests pH and moisture content & very useful.

Tomato Feed - Yes or No

Posted: 28/03/2014 at 20:56

Newboy2: now I'm jealous. I pricked out my toms today and they are only about an inch high and in small root trainers. 9" pots in late March seems well advanced but remember toms do not like to get cold. I'm in Mangotsfield, North East Bristol and it's too cold to contemplate putting tender plants out just yet and yes, it's raining here too!!!

Tomato Feed - Yes or No

Posted: 27/03/2014 at 22:14

Yup, doff is fine for toms but as has already been said, don't feed them at all until the first truss has set fruit or all you are likely to get is masses of foliage and very little tomatoes.

Allotment

Posted: 27/03/2014 at 22:04

FB is right, I wouldn't use glyphosate or any other weed killer at this time of year if I wanted to get on with some planting this season. Potatoes are a good crop to begin with as they will clear the ground and you will get some results. You can then plan what to grow afterwards. 

Start as FB says and dig the ground over removing as many roots of grass and weeds as you can. Pay close attention to dandelion roots if you have them and try to remove the whole root as any piece left in the ground will throw up a fresh plant. Incorporate some organic matter into the soil if you do grow potatoes as this will help prevent scab. Organic matter can be as simple as grass mowings (providing you haven't treated the grass recently with weed killers), or some composted manure - but be careful about using stable manure if you have horse stables nearby because horses eat weeds as well as grass and the seeds get a perfect supply of fertiliser when they come out of the other end of the horse!!!

You could then sow some cabbage seeds to have some spring cabbages ready to put in after the potatoes are harvested (or buy some plants later on in the season from a garden centre). Runner beans are also a great favourite with me and I sow a variety called Moonlight which are self fertile and extremely prolific. Runner beans though will need some compost that holds plenty of water under them - dig a trench and backfill with the compost then put about 4"-6" of soil over the top and sow the seeds in late May / early June amount 2" deep, then place some canes beside each seed station for the plants to climb up - you'll probably see other allotment holders growing runner beans and can copy what they do. Hope this helps. John H

 

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