John Harding

Latest posts by John Harding


Posted: 13/02/2015 at 18:58

I tried deep root-trainers last year fidget for my parsnips but opening them did disturb the roots more than I wanted so I've gone for the loo roll tubes and kitchen roll tubes (cut down) this year.


Posted: 13/02/2015 at 18:50

Hi Chicky, the box only took a few minutes to make: I had a spare hardwood flooring board going spare so cut the long boards to 490 mm (49 cms) and the short sides to 230 mm long then drilled 3 mm holes thought the long boards and used 40 mm x 6 gauge twin-fast wood screws to screw the sides together. Then stood the frame on a piece of melamine chipboard, used a pencil to mark the inside of the frame and carefully cut a base and screwed that into place in the same way (you can see the screw fixings in the pics). A box does at least keep everything stable and when I want to plant out the tubes all I need to do is remove one of the sides and pop them in the raised bed without disturbing the root ball.

Heavy clay soils

Posted: 13/02/2015 at 18:37

Some years ago a friend who had a farm in the fen country told me to lighten & improve clay soil use horse manure with plenty of straw. To improve light sandy soil use com manure. Also my brother in law had a back garden that was a blue marl clay and virtually unworkable when he moved in. Through sheer hard work, digging, re-digging and adding coarse sand and sewage sludge he managed to turn the clay into a very acceptable soil that produced good crops of vegetables.

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'.

Discussions started by John Harding

Plant ID please

strange plant I've not seen before 
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Runner Beans

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Not been on here for a while

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Signing in problems

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Email notifications

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Is it me?

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Last Post: 28/06/2013 at 22:42
9 threads returned