John Harding

Latest posts by John Harding

Sieving A Bed for Carrots

Posted: 26/12/2013 at 21:55

Hi Verdun,  I thought about including the Fish Blood & Bone but realised you had already suggested that in an earlier post - I tend to use the same if the bed is a bit devoid of humus. FB&B is a slow release fertiliser which is just what carrots need - and yes, you are right in that using the crowbar method you do lose out on the delicious thinnings but I did learn the hard way many years ago - brought the thinnings into the house for OH to use in the kitchen and a couple of day later on coming home from work noticed all the carrots had gone from the bed! I hadn't fully explained that they were 'thinnings' and she had gathered the entire crop and we had eaten them! OH said they weren't worth growing as the shop bought ones were much bigger!!!!



Sieving A Bed for Carrots

Posted: 26/12/2013 at 16:30

A way I was shown many years ago saves doing the entire bed and is good for Carrots and Parsnips. Get a long steel rod or pipe about 19-25mm (3/4-1") dia and push it into the soil to a depth greater than you want the root to grow to. Then work it in a circle to create a conical hole and sieve the soil into the hole for the plant to grow in. Repeat for each position and sow about 3 seeds in the centre of each station and after germination thin out to leave the strongest / most vigorous seedling. Yes, it's laborious but you do make sure there are no stones where the plants will grow to cause them to deform and it does save all the work of digging the entire bed to a depth. Also leaving some stones in the bed helps drainage, particularly if you have a heavy clay soil. Carrots do like a sandy loam so if your soil is clay try adding some horticultural sand in with the mix, but avoid fresh manure as that will cause the roots to fork.


Posted: 26/12/2013 at 16:14

A few weeks ago I mentioned how I take some root cuttings of my Apple Mint, put them in a tray of compost in the greenhouse for a supply of 'out of season' Mint.

Just thought I would now add a pic to show how they are doing


I will not be around for a few weeks now as I have to go into hospital on Tues.(New Year's Eve) for a replacement knee.


The treatment I did in November of Nemasys vine weevil nematodes has really worked well in spite of me treating the soil after the temperatures had dropped too low & Nematode breeding season over. Not a single seedling failure since the treatment so the soil warming cable has done its job. 

Here's wishing everyone a happy and successful new year. John H


Posted: 15/12/2013 at 13:25

Shortest day of the year this week: then the daylight increases a little every day up towards Summer - what a great thought!  

Just a pic taken in Bristol in June 2011 during the 400th anniversary of the 1611 King James (authorised) version of the Bible

Camera Corner

Posted: 14/12/2013 at 20:34

Just close your eyes awhile and imagine the gentle clip-clop of the horse's hooves on a sunny summer afternoon in August as the barge is being towed along the tow-path of the Tiverton canal in the beautiful Devon countryside. The silence was magical.



GardenIng jokes

Posted: 27/11/2013 at 20:00

Bert was walking aimlessly along the beach & kicks a bottle washed up on the shore. Noting the cork was still in it he was curious as to whether there was anything in it so pulled the cork out. There was a hiss & a puff of smoke and a genie suddenly appeared. "I've been corked up in that bottle for 2000 years he said: as a reward I'll grant you three wishes."

"Well I'm ever so thirsty," says Bert, "I could do with a bottle of beer right now!" Whoosh! a bottle of beer appeared in his hand as if by magic. He took a long hard pull on the bottle then looked at it carefully somewhat astonished - "I've just drunk about 2 pints from that bottle," he said, "yet it's still completely full!"

"That's right," said the genie, "you asked for a bottle of beer, not a half-full or nearly empty bottle - it will always be full for the rest of your life!"

"Well I never did," says the Bert, and after a bit of thought says, "Here! I've got 2 more wishes -  you did say 3 didn't you?"

"That's correct," said the genie - "right" says Bert - "I've have another 2 of them!"

Camera Corner

Posted: 25/11/2013 at 16:58

OH (Eileen) took this at RHS Flower Show, Cardiff - 19.Apr. 2013

 Camera: Panasonic TZ18 f3.4 @ 1/60th set to 100 iso

Camera Corner

Posted: 23/11/2013 at 08:45

 Taken in Threave Gardens, Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway June 2011

Panasonic G1

What's eating my winter Spinach?

Posted: 19/11/2013 at 09:12
I don't think the vine weevil grubs had time to make out a will! Too late now!

What's eating my winter Spinach?

Posted: 19/11/2013 at 08:44

I found a site still selling nematodes and decided to give it a try. Aware that the nematodes stop breeding at this time of year I didn't expect much but thought I'd give it a try. Bought a soil warming cable on ebay and carefully installed it, then used the Nemasys as directed on the packet. That was just over a week ago and there has been a rapid decrease in the no of plants damaged to almost nothing now so it does seem to have worked.

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