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John Harding

Latest posts by John Harding


Posted: 21/05/2014 at 19:40

It depends on what variety of tomato plant is being grown: determinate (bush) no picking out, or indeterminate (cordon) - remove side shoots. The root stock doesn't change the variety - just makes for a stronger plant and will need at least a 12" (30cms) dia pot as the roots are very vigorous and will need the space to grow well.

If for instance, you are growing 'Red Alert' then it is a determinate and you do not pinch out the side shoots: If the plant is say 'Shirley' or 'Alicante' or 'Ailsa Craig' then they are all indeterminate and are best grown as cordon.

Best way is to google the variety name and see what the type is but whatever it is don't start using tomato feed until the first truss has set fruit or you will get loads of foliage and little fruit.


Posted: 21/05/2014 at 19:24

Hi all, have been to Westonbirt Arboretum today; lovely sunny day and have taken loads of photos. Will post some when I upload them to my PC - when my feet have stopped aching that is.

Have been out in the garden for the last hour or so watering the plants, potting up an Acer (low growing variety - max height 4ft (1.2mts for those who don't work in fahrenheit).

Have booked tickets to take OH (Eileen) to Highgrove on 3rd June (3 miles on from Westonbirt) as a birthday treat so looking forward to that, though phones and cameras are not allowed so will not be able to take any pics there more's the pity. John H

ID please

Posted: 19/05/2014 at 16:29
Aka sea thrift, common name and frequently found in coastal regions

Buy cheap pay twice...

Posted: 18/05/2014 at 22:33

I used to manage a hand tool shop in the 1970s and 80s and we sold thousands of gardening tools. For me the best makes for forks and spades were Spear & Jackson and Wilkinson Sword - 'Stainless Steel'

I have has  S&J all steel handled garden fork and a S/Steel garden spade for over 30 years and both are still in very good order (spade had a wooden handle which I snapped trying to dig the root out of an old apple tree so I bought a new hickory handle and fitted it and it's been fine ever since). About 10 years ago I then bought my wife a 'ladies' fork & spade in stainless steel and that is still 'as new' condition.

Stainless steel I'd a lot more expensive but they will give a lifetime of good service and they are so much easier to use as soil (especially heavy clay) doesn't stick anywhere near as much as it does to carbon steel. Definitely a worthwhile investment if you can afford it. My philosophy is to ask myself what I will think of my purchase in a years time. There is an old American saying 'quality is remembered long after price is forgotten'

ID please

Posted: 18/05/2014 at 22:15

Looks like thrift to me


Posted: 18/05/2014 at 22:13

Get a couple of ferrets as pets and let them loose in the garden at night QED!


Posted: 18/05/2014 at 21:12

Just a few pics to show how the garden is getting on at present.

1. Lupins are now in flower

 2. More of Lupins from different angle

3. Another of the Lupins

 4. And a wider view

 5.  Elsa Spath Clematis

6. The Blue Lupin flower spike




Where are YOU?

Posted: 10/05/2014 at 22:20

Have to say I agree with Mike that it is best to put a location of sorts (not a full postal address) in the 'about me' section. It does sometimes (often!) help to answer questions if you know what area of the country someone lives in and to just click on their name at the top of the post would make it very easy if that information was there - for example "why have my runner beans collapsed just a day after planting out?" Is easy to answer if clicking on the enquirers name reveals they live in Spitzbergen where permafrost is a prevailing condition.

Floppy Chilli Leaves

Posted: 10/05/2014 at 21:40

It could be that a Vine Weevil has laid eggs in the compost and the grubs are attacking the roots. While weather conditions are warn it may be that the remaining roots cannot supply enough sap to balance out the transpiration rate. If it is Vine Weevil grubs there is only one solution other than destroy the plants and that is (in my opinion) Nemasys vine weevil nematodes (available on Ebay and Amazon + other suppliers if you google 'Nemasys vine weevil killer').


Posted: 10/05/2014 at 21:26

We once had a neighbour who had 4 cats, 3 dogs and a rabbit! I got absolutely fed up with having my seed beds destroyed night after night that I went out and bought 4 ultra-sonic cat scarers. It had a bit of effect but not enough (seems one scraggy old moggie was deaf! and our grandchildren complained they could hear this constant high pitched squealing every time they went down the garden). I then invested in a 'Mosquito' and a roll of orange electric fence wire + a bag of insulators and set up a criss-cross pattern over the raised 'seed bed'

** A Mosquito is a low powered domestic electric fence kit that gives a single pulse of high voltage but extremely low amperage electricity and runs off a small 12 volt battery.

At around 12.30am there was a double Yeowwwee! from the bottom of the garden followed by a 'clang!!'  On inspection next morning there were 2 divots in the seed bed but very little damage to the seed bed (the clang was said moggie scrambling under the back gate in its rush to depart from whatever it supposed had bitten its rear end). The 2 divots were so placed you could see it had come over the dividing wall, leaped immediately into the air and landed about 3 ft away on the same patch (hence the double Yeowwwee") and then escaped under the gate.

We were then trouble free for about 3 months but I had to remove the 'Mosquito' and its associated paraphanalia because as the plants began to grow they would touch the wire and the wire would cause the leaves to spark & shrivel.

The neighbour moved away about 3 years ago taking said menagerie with them and although there are other cats in the locality we don't get the problem any more just so long as I remember to re-charge the batteries in the conventional cat scarers regularly and remember to switch them off when the grandchildren come around (& back on again when they leave!)

Discussions started by John Harding

Signing in problems

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

Signing in problems

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

What's eating my winter Spinach?

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Last Post: 19/11/2013 at 09:12

Email notifications

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Last Post: 25/07/2013 at 06:34

Is it me?

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Last Post: 28/06/2013 at 22:42
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