John Harding

Latest posts by John Harding

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.


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)





 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.


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


Camera Corner

Posted: 22/03/2014 at 18:38

Hi David, have you tried rebooting your PC? That could sort the problem out. Or it could be your hard drive is getting close to maximum capacity. To see how full it is click on the windows explorer icon (bottom left of screen) then right click on the 'C' drive and choose properties. You should then see a pie chart indicating how much space you have left. I make a lot of DVDs and although I have a terabyte hard drive when it gets down to about 200gb I get a similar problem and have to delete unwanted files or transfer to another external hard drive. I usually then also run the disc clean-up program and get rid of a lot of temp. Internet files that slow the PC down. Hope this helps. Been away from my PC for a couple of months since my knee op but must get back to it now - especially as spring is coming. The greenhouse is looking good already. John H 

Discussions started by John Harding

Runner Beans

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8 threads returned