London (change)
Today 15°C / 11°C
Tomorrow 15°C / 13°C

Tomsk


Latest posts by Tomsk

Growing basil and other herbs

Posted: 15/07/2014 at 00:05

Thanks for the replies. I have an ideal pot that has no proper use right now, but is small enough to take inside when the season gets cold.

I read that it's good to grow basil in the same soil as tomatoes, but I can't find out for sure why? Is is too late in the year to sow basil seeds outside in the soil my tomatoes are growing in? And is tomato feed OK for basil?

Also, to speed things up a bit, I notice that Asda are selling small pots of growing basil for £1, intended to be kept in the kitchen and used as needed. Do you think they would grow into bigger plants if I bought a couple of them and transplanted them into my garden soil?

Growing basil and other herbs

Posted: 14/07/2014 at 21:54

Is it too late to plant basil, here in London? Assuming the great summer isn't going to turn back into floods and rain for the rest of the year!

I saw some basil seeds in a supermarket and wasn't sure whether to get them in case it's too late for this year. When is basil ideally planted, how long does it take to grow from seeds, and do you have to regrow it from seeds every year or does it grow into a big perennial bush like rosemary?

And what about other herbs like oregano, thyme, sage and mint. Do they all grow at the same time of year and for as long?

Lidl bulbs and plants

Posted: 10/07/2014 at 22:02

It's not being too fussy at all. We're talking about the mislabelling of products, not nature's own variations in colour and height.

If someone has a yellow front door and buys a decorative yellow standard rose to go next to it, only to find it grows bright red, that's an annoyance and a waste of time and money. It's not as though there's a good reason for it to grow red when it was supposed to be yellow.

In the case of my yellow dahlia, I have two dahlias in identical pots with another plant in the middle, so it's supposed to look symmetrical. It's not the end of the world, but the two dahlias not being the same spoils the look I was trying to achieve, and that's down to Lidl's supplier being very poor labelling things correctly. The problem's more obvious when you only have a tiny garden.

It's like buying cod only to cook it and find you've been given plaice.

Lidl bulbs and plants

Posted: 10/07/2014 at 16:13

I bought a load of bulbs and other plants from Lidl this spring and last autumn to plant in my garden. I went for the premium bulbs over the normal ones, and a couple of rose bushes too.

Overall, they've all grown into very lovely dahlias, tulips, daffodils, gladioli and one infant rose bush (the other one died), however there's a bit of a recurring theme that what grows is not the colour shown on the packaging.

My surviving rose was supposed to be peach and yellow with quite dense petals but is bright red with just a few petals per head. Two dahlia tubers out of the same packet, showing a nice peach and pink combination on the wrapper have produced one dahlia as expected but the other is bright yellow.

I planted various gladioli that should have resulted in lines fading from red to orange to yellow to white, but now that they're starting to flower they mostly seem (so far) a solid yellow colour.

And my daffodils were supposed to be yellow with an orange middle bit, but grew just yellow all over.

As I say, they're very nice plants, and you definitely get superior plants from Lidl's 'Premium' bulb ranges, but it's annoying when the colours are wrong.

Is this a problem in most supermarkets and garden centres, or just Lidl?

 

tomatoes

Posted: 06/07/2014 at 15:56

I'm in London and have just noticed my first tomato fruit forming this year, probably due to them being transplanted into the soil late.

A few flowers grew when they were still shoots in small pots, but none produced fruit.

The tomato is less than 1cm across and I can't see any others yet, but I'm sure they'll come. How far behind from where they should be are my plants, and is there still time to get a good harvest this year?

Compost smells of Jeyes fluid or bitumen

Posted: 04/07/2014 at 21:10

By the way, the quality of compost, even amongst the big brands, seems to vary a lot each year. Do you think this year's warm but wet winter, and an exceptionally warm summer, will lead to good or bad compost next year, or is it not that simple?

Lidl Compost

Posted: 04/07/2014 at 21:09

I bought a bag of multi-purpose compost (not peat-free) from Aldi yesterday, and it smelt of Jeyes fluid or bitumen. Must be the same stuff Lidl have been selling.

It's almost black when it's soaking wet and the same colour when it's bone dry (unlike any other soil I've seen, which lightens when dry).

I bought a bag of the same stuff about four months ago and it was very different. Not the best, but quite woody and smelled of forests in the rain. That was OK for £2 but the bag yesterday was rubbish even for £2, and I worry about what's in it due to that smell. Not to mention what effect this might have on my fruit/plants.

The annoying thing is that most of my compost was J Arthur Bowers, and I only bought the Aldi bag to top up the last bits, thinking it would be good enough and save me another trip to the garden centre.

Compost smells of Jeyes fluid or bitumen

Posted: 04/07/2014 at 21:03

Thanks for the replies, especially the thread about Lidl's compost having the same issue. This does suggest they both use the same supplier.

Unfortunately, I've already emptied the bag in my soil and pots, though I haven't mixed it into any soil beneath it. I'm uncomfortable with this compost, now that I know it certainly shouldn't smell of Jeyes fluid (and could even be oil contamination), and I certainly will never buy from Aldi again (nor try Lidl).

I think I'll leave things as they are for now, but once the plants in the relevant areas have died down, I'll scoop it all up and replace it with J Arthur Bowers. It costs three times as much, but this appears to be one of those occasions when you get what you pay for.

What I can say after a very hot day is that my own compost (made from vegetable waste) is very dark when damp but turns silver/grey when it dried out completely. The J Arthur Bowers is a very deep brown when wet but turns a reddish brown when dry. But this particular bag of Aldi's compost was almost black when it was wet and remains almost black when bone dry after a day of hot sunshine.

Compost smells of Jeyes fluid or bitumen

Posted: 03/07/2014 at 20:25

It's very dark and, as you say, the chemical smell masks the smell of what it contains. I bought a bag from Aldi a few months ago and it wasn't like this. It had a very woody smell and was less powdery.

I didn't think it was the best compost, but I just needed one bag to top up a few dips in my soil and pots, and thought this would be good enough. I wasn't expecting the smell of Jeyes fluid.

I suppose all compost brands are a lottery, but this shows that the contents can change a lot in just a few months of the same year. It was only £2 for 40L. But next time, even if I just want a small amount to top something up, I'll spend £6 on a big brand like J Arthur Bowers.

My main concern is what effects the Jeyes fluid/bitumen could have on fruit & veg growing in it, or the wider health of the soil.

Compost smells of Jeyes fluid or bitumen

Posted: 03/07/2014 at 18:41

I bought a bag of multi-purpose compost from Aldi today, and it has a clear smell of Jeyes fluid to it, or a similar bitumen smell.

I assume this cheap compost has been sprayed with something to kill the bugs rather than be heated like some of the big brands, but is this potentially harmful to plants or things you plan to eat? Could this stuff be to the detriment of better compost if mixed into it?

I got my hands very dirty fluffing it up from its compressed state and then topped up pots and planters, some by hand. Then I washed my hands thoroughly with shower gel, but a slight smell of Jeyes fluid lingers on my skin.

Last week I bought a few bags of J Arthur Bowers multi-purpose, which didn't have any artificial smell or leave a smell on my skin.

Discussions started by Tomsk

Tomatoes - End of season

What to do with vines once they're finished for the year? 
Replies: 3    Views: 194
Last Post: 21/10/2014 at 13:03

Pruning tomato vines

How much is too much? 
Replies: 5    Views: 246
Last Post: 19/08/2014 at 21:29

Unknown spiny-leaved plant

Help identify this non-flowering green plant? 
Replies: 12    Views: 416
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 17:26

Split tomato vine

Unsupported plant collapsed, leaving split vine branch 
Replies: 6    Views: 204
Last Post: 25/07/2014 at 17:55

Spiders

Are they harmful to plants? 
Replies: 7    Views: 212
Last Post: 16/07/2014 at 22:49

Growing basil and other herbs

What time of year to plant, how long do they last? 
Replies: 9    Views: 309
Last Post: 15/07/2014 at 10:59

Lidl bulbs and plants

Nice plants, but often wrong colour/variety. 
Replies: 17    Views: 765
Last Post: 11/07/2014 at 11:41

Compost smells of Jeyes fluid or bitumen

Is this a problem for plants and fruit/veg? 
Replies: 6    Views: 707
Last Post: 04/07/2014 at 21:10

Using compost early

Is it OK to use home compost before it's completely rotted? 
Replies: 4    Views: 286
Last Post: 23/06/2014 at 22:43

Removing leaves from unknown bulbs

Can I remove large leaves that are hiding flowers 
Replies: 7    Views: 688
Last Post: 26/07/2014 at 10:29

Plant feed for flowing plants

Can I use up the products I already have? 
Replies: 10    Views: 2597
Last Post: 13/06/2014 at 14:39

Dead rose

Any chance of it rising again 
Replies: 4    Views: 252
Last Post: 11/06/2014 at 20:16

How many frogs?

Nothing to do with light bulbs 
Replies: 4    Views: 223
Last Post: 12/06/2014 at 08:49

Snapped lily - Will it grow?

Top of a growing lily snapped off 
Replies: 3    Views: 208
Last Post: 09/06/2014 at 22:20

Help identify a yellow flower please

Possibly a pansy or similar 
Replies: 5    Views: 285
Last Post: 17/05/2014 at 15:55
1 to 15 of 40 threads