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Latest posts by steephill


Posted: 05/10/2014 at 22:13

Might be grape shanking, more info here If you inspect the hard grapes carefully you might see that the stalk has shriveled. 

Allotment advice

Posted: 05/10/2014 at 09:59

Green manure is another option after digging over the plot. Have a look here for some ideas of suitable seed mixes.


Posted: 04/10/2014 at 16:59

It may not be the variety you think it is, possibly mislabeled. If the grapes are sweet and green that would indicate that it isn't a red grape. Normally it takes about 6 weeks from turning black to get to full ripeness. It might be one of the other muscats, perhaps Muscat of Alexandria.

Any wine makers out there?

Posted: 01/10/2014 at 22:52

In my experience pectin hazes don't make the wine viscous, just cloudy. I would definitely try treating for bacteria first then try some pectolytic enzyme treatment if it is still cloudy after that.

Any wine makers out there?

Posted: 01/10/2014 at 11:22

This condition is usually described as ropiness and is caused by lactic acid bacteria. Have a look at this website - scroll down to the bottom of the page for treatment advice - basically use Campden tablets to kill off the bacteria. 

magnolia tree dead?

Posted: 30/09/2014 at 18:00

If it has looked like that since Spring I'd say its a Norwegian Blue magnolia . However I would leave it until next Spring to see if there is any life left. You could scrape off a sliver of bark from a branch which did have leaves to see if there is any green tissue.

Grape Vine Care

Posted: 29/09/2014 at 10:47

Uva Nera is the variety name but that name is also used as a generic name for black grapes. As your label indicates this is a Southern Italian vine which is best kept in a greenhouse. Even in Italy it can take until November before it ripens fully.

Quince Quandry

Posted: 24/09/2014 at 12:57

You make jelly and cheese from one batch of fruit. When making the jelly don't be tempted to help it along by squeezing the dripping fruit or it will be cloudy. Look for lots of small jars to pot up the jelly, I use those little Gu pots which seem to accumulate in the cupboard .

Once you have collected the juice to make the jelly you simply simmer the remaining fruit pulp with an equal weight of sugar to make the fruit cheese/membrillo/marmelo. It does take several hours though and it would be difficult to handled such a big batch. You can store the pulp for a few days in the fridge though before making the cheese so you could break up the production process.

Any wine makers out there?

Posted: 23/09/2014 at 23:03 is a very good guide. I just bottled up last year's effort and started this year's batch today. I am currently engaged in some quality assurance testing which is going very well indeed .

diatomeacous earth??

Posted: 10/09/2014 at 11:45

Wolf spiders don't attack humans, we are far too big and scary for them. They will run and hide if you go after them. They will bite in defense if provoked, e.g. trying to catch them. They get unfairly blamed for other insect bites and there are plenty of other things in your garden which will seek you out to feed on you - mosquitoes, midges etc. I would suspect one of those rather than wolf spiders.

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