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Latest posts by steephill

Too much time on my hands

Posted: 01/06/2013 at 21:26

I am trying air pots for the first time this year. I will be potting up Sungold and San Marzano into 15 litre pots this week. I have tried ring pots on grow bags and deep containers which allows much better root development than just grow bags on their own. Be interested in how your experiments progress.

Compost or soil? What size container?

Posted: 01/06/2013 at 21:16

Any idea how old the vine is? A one year old plant should be fine in a 19cm pot. In its second year move it to a 30 or 40cm pot. If it is going to live permanently in the pot then use a compost with loam (John Innis type) or add some to multipurpose compost. No need for manure though as grapes are very vigorous plants and can cope with very poor soil. Give them too rich a soil and they will just produce far more shoots than you can cope with.

Give some thought about how you are going to train the vine. It will grow large and needs to be kept under control. Useful info available on the RHS website here

Laurel plants

Posted: 31/05/2013 at 11:01

Picking out is also known as pinching out i.e. nipping off the shoot tips to encourage branching.

Olive Trees

Posted: 31/05/2013 at 10:31

Olives are marginal in UK gardens and won't tolerate prolonged very cold weather without protection. Are your plants in the ground or in pots? Did you wrap them against the frost? The website above suggests that they should cope with short spells down to -7C but we had colder weather during last Winter. I would leave them for a few more weeks to see how they react to (hopefully!) warmer temperatures.

Best Compost 2013

Posted: 31/05/2013 at 10:19

Another vote for the New Horizon veg compost.


Tomato Plant

Posted: 30/05/2013 at 19:02

Alicante would normally be about 6 to 8 feet high before being pinched out. If you let it set 3 trusses of fruit then you may be able to stop it at about 4 feet high. The fruit will also ripen earlier as a bonus.

Rhodedendron not flowering

Posted: 30/05/2013 at 18:54

Some questions for you.

Which variety are you growing?

Is your soil acid? Are neighbouring gardens able to grow them?

Are the buds you see flower buds (more rounded) or shoot buds (more pointed)? Do the buds turn brown and dry then fall off?

Grape Vine Care

Posted: 30/05/2013 at 18:47

What size pot is it in and how old is it? I guess that it is Sauvignon Blanc, a white grape rather than Cabernet Sauvignon which is red. Not the easiest grape to try in the UK as it is a late ripening variety and will need that sunny sheltered position.

Grapes grow in very poor soil which isn't much good for anything else so don't be tempted to feed it often. You will only create a monster as it will respond by producing lots of lush growth, up to 5 metres a year.

You can expect grapes in the third or fourth year but should limit the number of bunches in the early years, only one or two per plant in the first fruiting year. Get it trained early to get the best out of it. If the trellis is wide enough (2 metres minimum) try the double Guyot system. Sounds complicated but basically you have 3 shoots produced each year which you train the following year. Two shoots go horizontally left and right and one goes straight up. The horizontal shoots produce vertical side shoots and this is where the fruit comes from. Grapes fruit on new wood. The vertical main shoot is used to produce three side shoots which become next year's horizontal and vertical shoots and replace this year's.

You might also have to thin the bunches to get decent grapes, remove about half of the grapes in a bunch when they are about pea sized. This gives you bigger grapes, less congestion and less disease.

Treat the pot every year for vine weevil, use nematodes not chemicals.

Pak Choi

Posted: 30/05/2013 at 14:05

I think it is too early for pak choi. It shouldn't be sown until after the longest day to avoid it bolting. It looks like your's are indeed bolting.

Watering tomatoes

Posted: 30/05/2013 at 12:25 has some useful info. Lots of other helpful advice too on that website which I found through a link posted on the forum.

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