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Latest posts by steephill

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.


Posted: 30/05/2013 at 12:11

I started with a Hozelok kit which included a range of drippers from single flow rate to adjustable types. It included a pressure regulator for tap connection. It even has a mini sprinkler on a spike which is a bit much for use on the greenhouse but would be more useful on a veg bed.

I also had a couple of Hozelok timers but they both failed after a few years. One was left out too long and froze so user error there but the other developed faulty switching on the solenoid valve. I tried opened up the broken one for spare parts and found out how cheaply made they were and gave up on them.

The Galcon stuff looks good but may be overkill for watering a few tomatoes in a small greenhouse. Had a look at the Antelco website too, lots of bits for making a custom setup but looks to be a business site rather than for retail sales.

If you could have any plant / tree in your garden

Posted: 29/05/2013 at 22:42

A Singing Ringing tree. Probably just gave away my age!

Apple tree

Posted: 29/05/2013 at 17:32

How close are they to each other? If the Salix and Hydrangea are mature I would have expected the apple to be suffering rather than the other way round.

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