John Harding

Latest posts by John Harding


Posted: 21/06/2014 at 09:15

Just been catching up with latest entries: am reminded of the days when the tooth fairy left sixpence under the pillow for children's teeth. Our son came home from infant school and said to his mum "I think it must have gone up mum 'cos Chris in my class got a pound for his tooth yesterday"

He called us yesterday from his home in Coventry to tell us he'd had to go to the dentist & have a molar extracted - wish I'd read this thread yesterday I could have pulled his leg a bit with a reminder (he's 44 now!)


Posted: 17/06/2014 at 16:43

FG,  Can't you wave that wand of yours and get a precipitation going over Glasgow?


Posted: 17/06/2014 at 16:39

Ah! don't be fooled Rebecca, its taken 47 years to get my garden where it is today with a lot of mistakes along the way. I'm not a tidy person by & large but OH (Eileen) is so she doesn't let me get away with leaving an untidy mess anywhere!

I used to have a lot of 'disasters' when I was running my own business because things that should have been watered weren't on hot days, spraying plants with liquid fertiliser that had previously been used for weed killer & not washed out properly!!!  etc etc. Eileen used to do all our accounts in the business, cook meals, and run the home, so I couldn't expect her to look after the garden as well. Retired now though (just over 3 years ago) and we both have time to work together in the garden + everything else we are involved in.


Posted: 17/06/2014 at 11:26

Have picked about a dozen cucumbers to date. Decided to give them a try this year and am growing Cucino which is harvested at about 3 inches long. 1st 4 I picked I took around to my daughter's for her, s.i.l. and 2 G.daughters. 11yr old G.dtr immediately ate one, then polished off her 13 yr old sister's. She wasn't the most popular bunny in the household

Have added a few pics taken this morning of the garden. Lupins are nearly over now but don't look too bad from a distance!


Back garden from patio

 Back garden from veg. patch

 Veg. patch raised beds

 Dr. Rupell Clematis is more prolific with flowers this year

 The herb bed made last year is becoming established now

Have been out pruning the wisteria on the pergola this morning too and tying in some of the new growth


Best multi purpose compost this year ?

Posted: 15/06/2014 at 22:51

I agree with Mike Allen, I have used a lot of Westlands composts this year and yes, they have been very good but I've only bought the Westlands because I couldn't find any JAB. Last week I visited a local nursery I have never been to in the 48 years we've lived here and they had plenty of JAB 100 litre bales in stock @ £6.00 each so I immediately bought 1 multipurpose and 1 bark chips to try.

I was able to see the composition of the MP because the nursery had a GH with about a dozen 100 litre bales laid on the GH floor, tops cut out and 4 tomato plants growing in each. The plants looked fantastically healthy and the compost looked very acceptable. I have potted on a few plants in the JAB MP already and they are doing fine.

Over all I have always favoured JAB MP when I can get it. Companies like JAB do a lot of research and have good quality control so I really wouldn't be put off by what the compost looks like because you can bet it will bring good results if used as the manufacturer suggests. As Mike suggests (depending on what I'm growing) I add a little composted manure to the mix - particularly with courgettes.

Incidentally, we picked 3 courgettes and 5 cucumbers today: yum!

Help needed

Posted: 09/06/2014 at 13:56
Haxnicks deep root trainers are about 4" deep and there are 32 spaces per tray. I let mine grow till the roots just start to show at the bottom then open them and carefully transfer the entire root ball into a pre-dibbed hole. I've made my dibber out of an old fork handle so it's about 40mm thick. I use the same dibber for planting leeks with a metal sleeve around it to get a consistent depth.

Help needed

Posted: 09/06/2014 at 12:24

PS Steve,

I sowed 'Countess' parsnips in Haxnicks deep root trainers in the GH to get them started this year. about 50% germinated but then they all disappeared! discovered a snail hiding under the root trainers during the day..Grrrr!

Re-sowed the seed and protected against the little critters and all germinated OK and are now growing very well in their final positions. Method of sowing was 5 seeds per station then thin out the weakest after germination.

Help needed

Posted: 09/06/2014 at 12:19

Yes Steve, I've been unlucky with seed this year. I sowed some Swiss chard (bright lights) and beetroot (Alto) both from Dobies and they have come up showing discoloured and wilted leaves. Searched the internet for cause & remedy and advised most likely cause is infected seed so I've pulled them all up, used another raised bed and re-sowed with Mr Fothergill's seed. Have planted the leek seedlings where the swiss chard & beetroot were.

Growing Tomatoes in Pots

Posted: 09/06/2014 at 12:10

I use 2 watering methods for when I go away. 1. is I use a water computer set to come on for a couple of minutes 3 times a day to a micro-bore drip feed system set up in the GH and 2. is last year I invested in a Hozelock watering tray that holds 15 litres of water in the base and is said to last for 14 days (but if the plants have a lot of foliage the transpiration rate will be higher and the Water will last fewer days). Has worked well for me as we only ever go away for a max. of 1 week.

Irregular watering can cause tomato skins to split as well as the blossom end rot problem. 

Help needed

Posted: 09/06/2014 at 11:46

Not all Courgettes are the bush type: I am growing a climbing one this year called 'Black Forest' F1 based on the fantastic results of last year. These cost about £1 per seed from Dobies at Paignton but I have been very disappointed with the germination rate at less than 50% so they have effectively cost me £2 + per seed despite Dobies replacing the 1st packet FOC. 1st packet = 4 seeds 100% failure rate, 2nd packet 4 seeds 75% failure rate. Bit the bullet and bought 2 more packets (8 seeds) and achieved 75% success (6 of the 8 germinated) so I had sufficient for myself and my daughter.

We grow them in 16 inch dia. pots filling the bottom 2/3rd with Westlands composted farmyard manure topped up with Westlands Veg growing compost into which the plants were potted (1 plant per pot). Normally that would be a very expensive way of doing it but I got a very good deal from my local GC. Another Courgette variety I have had good success with is 'Supremo F1' which is a bush type.

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