John Harding

Latest posts by John Harding

Bamboo - what am I doing wrong?

Posted: 06/06/2015 at 20:40

I had a black bamboo but it was sited in an exposed part of the garden where the wind  funneled through between the garage and the greenhouse and it died. Not knowing what the cause was I bought another with same result - then someone pointed out the exposed position and said that was the probable cause so I didn't try again.

Keeping Cats off of Garden - Tried and Tested Ideas only please

Posted: 06/06/2015 at 20:29

Problem with rabbits is not the poo but the fact they indiscriminately munch their way through all the produce you can grow. You can get special rabbit fencing to connect to the electric fence but rabbits have a habit of jumping fences or burrowing underneath them. If the fields adjacent offer sufficient food for them they probably will not bother you. Alternative is - if they eat your food - you eat them!

Keeping Cats off of Garden - Tried and Tested Ideas only please

Posted: 06/06/2015 at 14:35

I also bought an electric fence device called 'The Mosquito' - it certainly worked as a means of stopping cats and grey squirrels (aka tree rats) but the down side is that as the plants begin to grow near the fence wire it will arc across and burn the leaves. It is very sucessful over a seed bed though in the early stages. I haven't used it now for a few years as the neighbours who had 4 cats, 5 yapping dogs and a rabbit have now moved away. There is just 1 local cat that was beginning to be a problem so I have invested in 4 cat scarers (CATWATCH - the only one recommended by RSPB) and strategically placed have solved the problem - they aren't cheap however @ circa £55 each. They take 1 PP3 battery each (not supplied) which can also be expensive so I use rechargeable Duracells, though manufacturers do say using them will invalidate their warranty! So far they have worked perfectly so I wonder the reason for the disclaimer! They say ONLY Duracell Alkaline should be used so I wonder if they have shares in Duracell !!! - they also offer a mains unit for about 15 quid per unit.


Posted: 06/06/2015 at 13:59


Parsnips will not like being transplanted if it means separating them and disturbing the roots. I collected around 50 toilet roll centre tubes and made a wooden box to house them, then filled them all with compost and sowed 3 seeds in each in February in the greenhouse, pricking out the 2 weakest in each station after germination. These then grew on in their stations until they were ready to be planted out in April. They are now growing very well in their final positions.

The pic above shows the box with the thinning out done. It is important in my opinion to add a copper strip around the box to deter slugs and snails as they love to eat the tender young plants. If they do get over the copper strip ad a second strip below it and connect a pair of wires to the strips and connect to a small battery And that will guarantee they will not cross!

The cardboard tubes are best planted out with the seedlings and they will just rot down in the soil. Hope this helps

John H

Scarlet Emporor Runner Bean in blossom indoors in Feb advice please! :)

Posted: 07/04/2015 at 16:58

Of course, if there are plenty of flowers they are edible and can add a little bright cheerfulness to a salad!????

Growing tomatoes

Posted: 03/04/2015 at 10:48
Who is 'Steve' David?

Growing tomatoes

Posted: 26/03/2015 at 22:38

Sounds like "damping off" - a fungal disease than can affect young wallflower seedlings and others too. Below is a quote from the Marshallseeds website re damping od of wallflower seedlings:


Wallflower English Bedder Blend
Erysimum cheiri

Perennial Bedder Blend has dense clusters of fragrant, 1/2", velvety, richly colored flowers in shades of yellow, orange, brown, and rusty red. A must for any English garden or rock garden, these very fragrant and showy flowers are also especially nice in containers and as a ground cover for spring blooming bulbs. Does well in coastal and mountainous regions where it thrives in cool summers. 

Full sun to light shade. Blooms spring. 

Height: 10" - 12" tall

Days to Emerge: 5 - 10 Days

Seed Depth: 1/4"

Seed Spacing: 1"

Thinning: When 1/2" tall, thin to 1 every 8" 

When to sow outside: 2 - 4 weeks before average last frost or in early fall, 2 months before average first frost. 

When to start inside: 6 - 8 weeks before average last frost. 

Special Germination Instructions: Seedlings are very susceptible to damping off (fungal seedling disease); use a very light, sterilized soil mix and water from the bottom.

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Posted: 26/03/2015 at 11:17

Morning all, just a pic to show how my root trainers made from toilet roll & kitchen roll tubes are getting on. Made the box and sowed seeds on 13th Feb. pic below taken this morning. 3 seeds per station and have thinned out the weakest seedlings (mostly)


Growing tomatoes

Posted: 26/03/2015 at 10:52

My tomato seedlings are coming along nicely in the GH.

Pic below: top left = Alicante; bottom left = Sweet Aperitif; bottom right = Cristal F1 (only 10 seeds per packet) top right = dwarf french marigolds (for planting with tomato plants) All T&M seeds.


Camera Corner

Posted: 15/03/2015 at 13:40

A pic of my parsnip box made of toilet/kitchen roll tubes and seeds sown a few weeks ago now germinated. When plants are ready to go outside they can be set in their positions with no root disturbance. Copper band around the box is to deter slugs. If any do get across it I will add another band of copper below it and solder a pair of wires to the band and connect them to a small battery but all seems to be OK at present. I lost a lot to a small slug last year that climbed the root trainer container that was on the bench in the GH so I'm taking extra precautions this year.

 PS, I sowed 3 seeds per station and have picked/thinned out the weakest to leave the strongest to grow on.

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