Latest posts by steephill

Climate Change?

Posted: 29/11/2016 at 13:54

The northward march of the growing range of champagne grapes is one possible benefit for the UK of climate change at the expense of the Champagne region. The big champagne houses are buying up land here in West Sussex and local growers have been making some very fine sparkling wines for a few decades now. I still have a couple of bottles of 1992 Nyetimber tucked away as well as vintages from another half dozen vinyards :)

When someone mentions a few very rich people getting even richer I immediately think of the Koch brothers, major oil business funders of self-described climate sceptics. While increased atmospheric CO2 can be beneficial for crop growth unfortunately the same cannot said for the ocean which will rapidly become acidified and have a major effect on the food supply of half of the planet.

mould on my grapevines

Posted: 29/11/2016 at 13:39

Sounds like botrytis (grey mould). Bordeaux mixture is only really of any use as a preventative for this and doesn't treat infected plants so might not be much use. One fungicide which I think are still available include systhane but that may depend on where you live, it isn't easy to get Merlot to fruit well in the UK so I'm guessing elsewhere? I would clean up the vines as much as possible over the winter to remove any source of spores as a first step.

Can redwoods survive without winter?

Posted: 15/11/2016 at 17:01

In nature they will survive hotter summers and colder winters than your range of temperatures. I would leave them outside on the balconey, they are not indoor plants. Out of curiosity, what are you going to do with them in the future?

Monday's Supermoon

Posted: 13/11/2016 at 12:50

Warning, here comes the science bit!

The trick to taking moon photos is called Lunny 11. It is a variation of the old Sunny 16 rule for daytime photography. Those of you old enough to have used film may remember the guide to exposure printed on the inside of the box which is based on Sunny 16. Basically it tells you how to use manual camera settings to get a good exposure.

On a bright sunny day if you were using film with a speed of ISO 100 then you set a shutter speed of 1/ISO i.e. 1/100th sec and an aperture of f16. Now the Moon is a rock in bright sunlight but the light it reflects has to travel a long way to get to us and some gets lost so we need a little more exposure for Moon shots. So instead of f16 we use the next brighter aperture of f11.

You can substitute other shutter speed/aperture combination to get the same exposure e.g. every time you double the exposure speed you need to open up the aperture to the next smallest number 1/200 and f8, 1/400 and f5.6 etc.

Those settings are a good starting point to get a good exposure of the Moon. If you just use the auto mode on your camera it is likely to get it wrong as the scene it sees is mainly black with a small bright bit. It tries to make the black bit lighter but then makes the bright bit too bright.

Camera Talk

Posted: 07/11/2016 at 19:54

Verdun, the Sony A500 would now be considered an antique in the digital world as it was introduced about 7 years ago. I would be surprised to see it still offered for sale new today unless it was very cheap old stock being cleared out. It will certainly take decent photos and will be more than good enough for most people's needs though. There is also another Sony, the A5000 which is a current model. It is a different design of camera from the A500 so isn't just an updated version of the older model.


Posted: 02/11/2016 at 20:26

Hazelnut butter! Shell them, roast in the oven for about 15 minutes then blitz them in a food processor until they turn into nut butter. Can take anything between 5 and 15 minutes to get to the right consistency.

Any one Any Painfull Gardening Memories

Posted: 29/10/2016 at 01:28

Simple scratches from removing brambles resulted in blood poisoning. 3 doctors, 3 courses of antibiotics (2 of each quite useless) over 9 weeks to get under control. Lower legs and feet badly swollen unable to wear shoes, face like a Dali melted clock with a matching impact on general health. It is a jungle out there, be careful! 


Posted: 24/10/2016 at 22:56

The RHS use both names for all cultivars so it is not surprising that there is confusion. The troublesome montbretia is a hybrid, crocosmia x crocosmiiflora. It is an offense under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to plant or otherwise allow it to grow in the wild so it must be disposed of appropriately. 

I have it in my garden and find it easy enough to keep under control.

Help needed to identify white 'balls' in field

Posted: 19/10/2016 at 09:46

Slugs or snails eggs I think. Put some in a container, check daily and you will soon know which it is when they hatch.

HELLO FORKERS! October Edition

Posted: 18/10/2016 at 12:20

Planting bulbs in my garden usually involves a pickaxe and a lot of spadework so I had been looking for a better method. Clearing steep banks with a Flymo left me with a knackered shoulder so a lower effort solution was required.

Had been looking for bulb planting augers but couldn't find any in the UK until recently. Crocus have then, just fit to a cordless drill and off you go. Best to drill lots of holes first then drop in the bulbs and back fill the holes with used compost. Probably easier to work as a team with an obedient undergardener. If I hit rock or tree roots I just move a little and try again. 

It has certainly been a labour (and pain) saving method for me, especially on steep slopes. Highly recommended with the usual disclaimer of no commercial connection to Crocus, it is just where I found them.

Discussions started by steephill

The cherry thief

Replies: 2    Views: 262
Last Post: 24/06/2017 at 23:31


Breeding success 
Replies: 7    Views: 325
Last Post: 14/06/2017 at 16:36

Average gardeners spending

Replies: 61    Views: 6437
Last Post: 21/05/2016 at 21:17

Helping with the deadheading

Replies: 7    Views: 1002
Last Post: 18/08/2015 at 19:24

Multi-bum stawberries

Replies: 8    Views: 1091
Last Post: 02/06/2015 at 17:13

Honey Bee swarms

Replies: 17    Views: 1125
Last Post: 05/05/2015 at 20:29

Last year's carrots

Replies: 13    Views: 1068
Last Post: 14/04/2015 at 21:29

Bird feeder video

Replies: 13    Views: 939
Last Post: 31/03/2015 at 14:14

Problem viewing on Android tablet

Replies: 6    Views: 1059
Last Post: 12/09/2014 at 18:51

Hardwood cuttings from apple

Replies: 5    Views: 1564
Last Post: 06/02/2014 at 18:32

Eating weeds

Beating the weeds by eating them 
Replies: 3    Views: 1073
Last Post: 28/09/2013 at 11:21

Strange broad bean

Replies: 2    Views: 1308
Last Post: 22/04/2013 at 18:42

Slow worms and roe deer

Replies: 2    Views: 2967
Last Post: 26/04/2013 at 21:26

Air pots

Replies: 3    Views: 1353
Last Post: 19/04/2013 at 12:43

Bean confession

Replies: 5    Views: 1588
Last Post: 15/08/2012 at 11:16
15 threads returned