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Latest posts by Tomsk

Surprise tomato plant!

Posted: 22/07/2014 at 22:20

I had a similar situation last year, when a tomato plant grew in a compost bin.

I left it until it was big enough to handle being transplanted (it was awkward removing it from inside the bin but a flower bed may be easier for small shoots) and moved it to a 37" pot.

It produced a few tomatoes but they weren't that great. I think that was mainly down to me not knowing anything about growing them. This year I've deliberately grown several plants from seed and despite being transplanted to soil a month or two later than they should have been (circumstances) they're now doing well.

If you think you can gently lift your plant from the flowerbed without damaging the fine roots, perhaps with a kitchen fork rather than a big tool that will take a big scoop of soil out, move it to a pot about one foot across. If you don't have one and want a makeshift alternative, Aldi are currently selling plastic builders' buckets for 99p. They're just about adequate to grow a single tomato plant, but you'll have to drill drainage holed in the bottom first.

It's getting a bit late in the year, but I would try adding just four inches of compost to the bucket and plant your tomato in that (assuming it's still tiny and no proper leaves or stalk have grown yet). When it grows tall enough so there's three or four developed shoots coming 90 degrees from the main stalk, cut off the bottom couple and add more soil until there's just a couple of inches of stalk visible before the first branch. Don't over prune the shoots because the plant still needs some leaves to produce food.

Repeat this process until the bucket is full and then let the vine grow as per usual. Doing this promotes more roots which should result in better tomatoes. You can add a bamboo pole or some other support as soon as the soil is deep enough to support it, so that you don't damage wide-spreading roots later on, when you finally need to use it.

If you have any Gro-More in the house already, you could try using that until the vine starts producing flowers, since it may help speed up growth in the few months of summer we have left. Then you can use proper tomato feed. Last year, I used no feed at all and that's probably another reason the tomatoes weren't great.

Picking tomatoes

Posted: 22/07/2014 at 19:37

When is the right time to pick tomatoes? I've read that you can leave them too long on the vine, but I'm not sure why. Does the flavour deteriorate after they turn red or start rotting or something?

How long after they've turned proper red should you pick them, and should you pull them off the vine or cut the whole truss in one go and leave them connected, like vine tomatoes in the supermarket?

What's the star in your garden right now

Posted: 22/07/2014 at 19:28

As someone who's never managed to persuade anything to grow before this year, my dahlias are impressing me the most at the moment:

 I've had various poppy and pansy seeds produce no flowers, which has been the most disappointing thing of the year. And I have a tiny rose bush (I bought two but one died) which doesn't look very impressive at all. Perhaps it will in a couple of years when it's grown a bit and can produce more than one flower at a time!

Wilting Dahlia

Posted: 22/07/2014 at 19:02

Just to show off again, one of the flowers grew all redish-purple with no white stripes. No idea why as all the others have white stripes, but it still looks lovely:


Growing Tomatoes in Pots

Posted: 16/07/2014 at 19:23

Overall, my tomatoes seem to be going OK, though I think they're very late in developing because I was very late in transplanting them from small pots into proper soil. But tiny tomatoes are now forming and I'm hopeful that this year's wonderful summer will last.

However, I've noticed that recently new leaves on most of my plants are starting off shrivelled up and then grow into leaves with the tips shrivelled up or under-developed. is this because I had them in 3" pots for far too long or something else?

I searched Google for this and the only suggestions I can find are that my plants were exposed to weed killer, but I am certain they were not, especially in the spot I kept the 3" pots.

So any other ideas? The plants are continuing to grow, and the stems all look healthy. It's just the tips of the very top leaves that are growing shrivelled. Here's a photo of some leaves that appeared completely shrivelled but then grew into almost normal leaves but the further toward the tip they get, the more shrivelled they remain:



Posted: 16/07/2014 at 19:16

Thanks for the replies. I noticed that the spiders are usually found under shrivelled leaves, and wasn't sure if this was because shrivelled leaves provide a good canopy, or the spiders were biting into the leave to make them shrivel.

I was sad to see a bee caught by one, but I suppose that's nature.


Posted: 16/07/2014 at 16:11

I notice various small and spindly spiders living in my plants. Do they harm them in any way, either by damaging the leaves or something else?

Today I noticed a spider had caught a bee in a flower of a gladiolus, though they never seemed to have an effect on caterpillars throughout the year.


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.

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Last Post: 11/07/2014 at 11:41
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