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Latest posts by Tomsk

Planting a rose bush

Posted: 23/02/2014 at 21:05
Dave Morgan wrote (see)

Are they bare root? If so you really need to get them in now.

They came in a plastic-wrapped 'parcel' of soil around the root. Rubber bands close the wrapper around the stem, and the rest of the stem comes out from there, waxed. Judging by the smell, I think they've been grown in soil fertilised with human waste!

I don't expect them to last for months in that small packet, but is there any usual shelf life for them?

Luckily I found a bucket with holes in it already, so one bush will go into that for the time being. The other one I'll have to find a container for at some point.

Planting a rose bush

Posted: 21/02/2014 at 14:34

I bought a couple of hybrid tea rose bushes from Lidl and wonder if anyone has general advice for planting and looking after them.

Would putting them in a builders bucket of garden soil be OK at this stage? And how long can they be kept in those packets? My soil is good, with lots of home made compost in it, so I'm sure it's packed with nutrients. Are they likely to flower this year and is fish blood and bone a good fertiliser for roses? I see Aldi will soon be doing boxes of that along with chicken manure pellets.

The stumps are covered in wax (presumably to protect people from thorns) so do I need to remove this or let it all fall off on its own, in which case will flakes of wax be bad for the soil?

I'll want to keep one permanently in a planter, so how big does it need to be? The other I might eventually put in soil when I find a space, but I'm not completely sure yet. For the moment, it'll be a bucket or pot.

I like rose bushes that have quite a bit of a trunk before the leaves and flowers start. Any tips for pruning them to achieve this look, and is it a good idea?

Can I plant daffs, tulips or crocuses around the base of rose bushes?

Any idea how long these bushes might live or other general tips?


Tomato Varieties

Posted: 16/02/2014 at 12:32

I forgot about having to drill holes in the buckets, so perhaps I'll save them and just wait until I have a proper planter.

If I made a large oblong planter for various tomato varieties, in good soil with fertiliser, what about growing plants around the edge for decoration? Small flowers like pansies could hang down over the planter and not interfere with the light or air getting to the tomatoes. Would there be any problem with them being so close or with their roots mixing?

I've read that some plants really don't like being next to others.

Tomato Varieties

Posted: 15/02/2014 at 13:16

I've been searching about how far apart tomato plants should be, and it seems 2 feet is a common figure, though a small number of people seem to be happy with just 1 foot.

I don't have much soil, and bought a fair few pots to get some plants where all the concrete is (and that's where I'll grow tomatoes). So would a standard builders bucket be large enough to grow one Moneymaker or Marmande plant? They're about 1 foot in diameter and 10" deep.

Ultimately, I want to build a planter box for them, but I don't know if I'll get that done in time for this year's plants, so I thought maybe buckets would work, and if I do ge the planter built by the summer, I might be able to carefully transplant them from the buckets. If not, I'll just tip the soil from the buckets into the planter next year.

If I build a planter where I'll only be leaning over it to pick tomatoes from a small number of vines rather than having to walk between lots of vines in a field, how far apart can I get away with planting them? And is it a good idea to mix varieties in the same planter?

And on the subject of planters, is it a good idea to line a planter with something like this? I wouldn't want to use preserved timber that comes into contact with the soil, and putting soil directly into an untreated wooden planter may make it rot quicker?

Tomato Varieties

Posted: 11/02/2014 at 10:41

Thanks for the replies,

These will be grown outdoors. I don't have the room for a greenhouse, although I'm thinking about buying one of those £2 'indoor greenhouses' from Aldi, which is basically just a tray of 3" plastic pots with a 3" tall clear plastic lid.

Cats and foxes do run around the small amount of soil I have (and occasionally any plant pots), so I thought I might grow the seeds in a tray and then transplant them to soil or a large planter when they're big enough for the cats to avoid trampling. If I grow the seeds indoors in the warmth, and then transplant to cold wet soil, will this be a bit of a shock to the shoots?

I take it the light from tungsten, fluorescent tubes and CFL energy-saving bulbs doesn't help plants grow?

Tomato Varieties

Posted: 10/02/2014 at 16:07

Lidl are currently stocking a load of flower and fruit/veg seeds.


They have a few cherry varieties, but their normal sized ones are Moneymaker, Marmande and Harzfeuer.

I only grew tomatoes once before, and that was by accident, so can anyone tell me what the differences between these are in terms of how well they'll grow in London, and taste?

I'll eat them mainly cooked (fried, pizzas, pasta sauces and possibly soup if I have space to grow enough) but also in summer salads.

I thought of taking a supermarket tomato I like the taste of, scooping out the seeds and trying to grow that, but most of them seem to be grown in Spain, so I'm not sure if they'll grow well here. The 'normal' and baby plum tomatoes that grew by accident last year (from scraps thrown into a compost bin) certainly weren't as juicy, nice-tasting or developed as whatever supermarket fruits they grew from.

 Also, is now the right time to be planting seeds?

Quick Dahlia question

Posted: 23/01/2014 at 15:35

Last year I planted two dahlia tubers, one of which was snapped and broken and the other which was perfect. In the end, the opposite of what I expected happened - The broken tuber grew into a lovely flowering bush whilst the 'good' one never appeared at all.

I recently turned the soil before planting new bulbs and there was absolutely no trace of the tuber that never grew. I cut back the one that grew to a stalk, currently have it in an old shoe box and am looking for a new spot to plant it, but what happened to the other one? The soil was never disturbed, so nothing dug it up. Did it just rot away into nothing? Why would a perfectly good tuber just disappear like that? Both spots got the same water and light.

Rosemary Bush

Posted: 14/01/2014 at 19:51

Thanks for the replies,

I don't want to get rid of it because it looks nice where it is, especially looking so mature and rustic.

I'm not sure exactly what I'd like to plant around it, but probably shorter bulbs like daffs, tulips and crocuses. Or maybe even a colourful 'carpet' of pansies grown from seeds or something.

I never thought about it snapping in the wind before. The trunk is pretty thick and it's never been bothered by the occasional gales I get. There was the storm a couple of weeks ago and the one in October, both of which blew over big heavy plant pots in other gardens and blew a few things over in mine, but the rosemary bush seemed to be unscathed. Though maybe they usually only live for a few years?

If ever I wanted to pull it up and start again, how would I go about growing a new bush from a cutting of the existing one? I assume I need to pull the root up and cut a piece of that out or something|?

Rosemary Bush

Posted: 07/01/2014 at 14:31

I have an old rosemary bush that looks like a mini tree trunk where it leaves the soil. After years of pruning, it stands about four feet high and the green leaves appear from about one foot up from the soil.

How high up from the ground would it be safe to prune it without killing it or shortening its life? I'd like to clear it from the ground so that I can grow plants below it (that would then get some light) but would it be a good idea to have about 3 feet of plain 'trunk' before the green bush starts? Or would this lead to problems getting nutrients and water from the soil to the leaves?

Flooded Harden

Posted: 07/01/2014 at 12:53

Well I may have posted too soon!

There's been a break in the heavy rain and, under a cloudy sky with a fair few blue patches in it, I had a close look at my soil and the very top of a handful of bulb shoots have appeared!

I wasn't expecting anything for another month or two, so is this normal for daffs and tulips? Before the rain, I intended to scrape 2" of surplus soil off the top that I temporarily scattered when I was doing some digging in December, so the bulbs breaking the surface now must be 8" down because I originally planted them 6" down in late October. So, any estimates by more experienced gardeners of when these may flower? I'm guessing they'll be early blooms?


I daren't scrape off the 2" now because I'll clearly damage early shoots.

Discussions started by Tomsk

Flower colour fading

Red tulips fading in warm weather 
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Conjoined Daffodils

A bulb grew with four heads 
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Green powder on supermarket tomatoes

What is it, and is it safe to eat? 
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Dahlia bulbs and tubers

Is there a difference between the two? 
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How long do bulbs take to sprout?

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Last Post: 04/04/2014 at 13:03

Planting a rose bush

Bought a rose bush from lidl - Now what? 
Replies: 8    Views: 360
Last Post: 24/02/2014 at 22:32

Tomato Varieties

Various tomato seeds currently available at Lidl 
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Last Post: 16/02/2014 at 12:32

Quick Dahlia question

Tuber that never grew has disappeared 
Replies: 5    Views: 274
Last Post: 24/01/2014 at 16:48

Rosemary Bush

Advice for cultivating a rosemary bush 
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Last Post: 14/01/2014 at 20:16

Compost ingredients

What to add and what to leave out if you can afford to be selective 
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Last Post: 18/02/2014 at 13:37

Pruning dahlias and gladioli

What do do with plants once the flowers are gone 
Replies: 8    Views: 631
Last Post: 15/10/2013 at 13:44

Rosemary edible?

Are all rosemary bushes safe to eat and tasty? 
Replies: 7    Views: 400
Last Post: 30/08/2013 at 10:05


What is the difference between Lidl normal and premium bulbs? 
Replies: 2    Views: 371
Last Post: 27/08/2013 at 23:36


How many daffodil bulbs can you expect in a 5kg bag? 
Replies: 15    Views: 747
Last Post: 23/08/2013 at 21:49


The differences between secateur types for novices 
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Last Post: 08/08/2013 at 15:22
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