John Harding

Latest posts by John Harding

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

Posted: 13/02/2015 at 18:26

As Verdun says Scarlet Emperor needs pollinating + the light and temperature at this time of year pretty well guarantees the plants will come to nothing so far as producing beans. 

Best Compost 2013

Posted: 13/02/2015 at 18:20

Bought some fresh compost yesterday, decided to go for J Arthur Bowers seed and cutting compost with added sand and I have to say I am very impressed with the quality: fine, friable peaty textured mix.

I had a bag of JAB multi-purpose compost in the greenhouse from last year and it is very coarse with hard lumps that needed breaking down. I did that & mixed some vermiculite with it but the new bag is very much better.


Posted: 13/02/2015 at 18:01

Spent a bit of time in the greenhouse today: I haven't been on the forum for a while but decided to start sowing some seeds today. Started with Leeks (Pancho) which were very successful last year (& still lifting them ).

I made a wooden box to hold toilet roll & kitchen roll tubes, filled with compost and sowed 3 Parsnip (Countess) seeds in each (will remove weakest after germination to leave 1 per tube which can then be planted out complete in their tubes which will rot down in the soil as they grow on). I realise I will need to pin a strip of copper to keep gastropods away. Pics of Parsnip sowings follow



New Raised Bed

Posted: 19/09/2014 at 08:26

I have 4 raised beds for all my veg. crops and you need to be aware that some things like plenty of manure but many don't. Root vegetables in particular i.e. carrots, parsnips, etc will not do well in freshly manured ground as the roots will tend to fork. Legumes (Peas, beans etc) will need plenty of moisture holding compost/manure, as will courgettes, marrows, cauliflower and leafy salad crops. Potatoes will need plenty of organic matter to help against scab. Runner Beans like to have a good base of water retaining compost to a good depth (I dig a double deep trench for my R/Beans every year and fill it with well rotted manure, compost from my previous year's compost bin, shredded paper, straw etc (anything that will hold water) to about 4-6" below where the soil level will be after treading it all down, then backfilling with soil and level off. I then put the bean poles in at this stage to avoid disturbing the plants as they grow, then runner beans are sown/planted in this and they always do very well.

New nieghbours, new fence and eye-saws

Posted: 18/09/2014 at 12:26

It may be worth checking with your solicitor who owns the boundary between you and your neighbour: it will be in the deeds to your property. If the boundary is yours then the fence is legally yours irrespective of who erected it. We have had excellent neighbours for the past 47 years. The fence between us was always "ramshackle" 1st chain link wire but she then replaced it with home made slats from builders pallets which she got a friend to make. It lasted a few years but eventually began to fall apart and we knew she didn't have the money to do anything about it so I offered to replace the fence and pay for it, which she very gladly accepted so now we have a nice fence just 5ft high & good quality. I am under no illusions though, the boundary is (was) hers - (she, (June) died about 3years ago but stipulated in her will that her lodger could stay there for the rest of his days), so although I paid for it, when our now elderly neighbour goes and June's son sells the property any new neighbour can legally do what they like with the fence so long as a proper boundary partition is left in place.

Why I say this is, if the boundary legally belongs to you then you can affix anything you like to it so long as you stay within legal limits; irrespective as to who built it. 

If the boundary is theirs then having a pergola (say 8ft high) on your side and growing something like a wisteria over it will give you the pleasure of attractive screening with a plant that will hold the pergola firmly to the ground even if it is free standing (though it will take a few years to be robust & strong enough to do that).

Good advice though has already been given regarding not making an enemy of your neighbour as no one wins in that scenario. John H

This forum

Posted: 16/07/2014 at 23:59

Chinese proverb say "better to be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt" so I'm staying schtum!

Courgette help!!

Posted: 14/07/2014 at 14:20

Courgettes need plenty of water: I grow mine in large tubs and need to give them at least 2 gallons of water a day while we have dry weather. They also like plenty of humus rich compost and are very successful when planted on top of a compost/manure heap. When I grow mine in tubs I put a good thick layer of composted horse manure in the tub then about 4-5 inches of gen purpose compost on top and set the plants in that. By the time the roots are big enough to reach the manure layer the plant has grown to a respectable size and they just 'take off'.


Posted: 14/07/2014 at 11:39

Ah! Dove, you are supposed to swallow a spider to catch the fly ... etc. etc. just don't get as far as the horse!


Posted: 12/07/2014 at 16:40

Hi again L/K,

The plant I think you are referring to is a purple sage that I bought last year in a nursery in Holt, Nr Sherringham, Norfolk. The other plant that is between the 2 sets of Nasturtiums is a Michelin Star Gastropodium Restaurant aka Hosta! - has a silvery flower with a mauve tint.


Posted: 12/07/2014 at 15:44

Hi L/K, yes, it was a long trip: Bristol to Plymouth & back then after a night's rest we did Bristol - Bannockburn on Weds 2nd and I returned to Bristol on Thurs. 3rd. Round trip was over 1000 miles. My mum is 101 in October and is in a nursing home in Birmingham so I was able to call in and see her. Arrived at tea time & staff had set me a place at tea table but didn't tell her who the extra place was for. Her face was a picture when I walked in and she proudly announced to everyone "This is my Son, he's come to see me!" - which they all knew who I was 'cos we do go & see her regularly but they also knew I was on my way and she was the only one who didn't know! still, it was a nice surprise for her.

It wasn't a tiring journey for me as a). I love driving and b). my latest car is a Land Rover Freelander 2 automatic which I've only had 3 months and have clocked up over 6000 miles already!

Discussions started by John Harding

Plant ID please

strange plant I've not seen before 
Replies: 3    Views: 234
Last Post: 31/08/2017 at 10:18

Runner Beans

Replies: 2    Views: 267
Last Post: 19/06/2017 at 09:15

Not been on here for a while

Replies: 9    Views: 578
Last Post: 20/06/2017 at 14:59

Tomatoes with a mind of their own

Replies: 0    Views: 472
Last Post: 22/06/2016 at 12:10

Signing in problems

log-on keeps dropping out 
Replies: 2    Views: 731
Last Post: 03/06/2014 at 20:12

Signing in problems

log-on keeps dropping out 
Replies: 0    Views: 689
Last Post: 03/06/2014 at 19:57

What's eating my winter Spinach?

Replies: 9    Views: 1152
Last Post: 19/11/2013 at 09:12

Email notifications

Replies: 13    Views: 970
Last Post: 25/07/2013 at 06:34

Is it me?

Replies: 4    Views: 957
Last Post: 28/06/2013 at 22:42
9 threads returned