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Latest posts by Topbird

I will/I won't grow that again

Posted: 06/10/2013 at 10:41

Nice thread!

Good year on the whole if a bit of a late starter. Lots of new beds for me to go at although addition of several truck loads of mushroom compost in the spring may have made the soil a bit rich for some plants & seedlings in the first season. Cougettes liked it though & it should be great soil next year!

1st year for raspberries - Autumn Bliss - amazingly good crop so far. Summer ones have put on lots of growth for next year

Cougettes (yellow & green) - bumper crop - have made loads of spicy fritters for the freezer & several jars of sweet pickled cougettes - absolutely yummy with cheese or cold cuts

Peas - Early Onward - much better than last year - fairly long period of cropping

Runner beans - Scarlet Emperor? - tasty & v tender when picked small -  heavy crop - very late but great just now

Chantes carrots - good tasty crop - had to protect from fly

Cosmos - huge bushy plants (4' +) -  still full of flower - sown late (mid April) & pinched out

Tomatoes - GD & Sungold grown outside both really poor (again) -  thick skins, lots split & very late to ripen.  I think too many extremes of temp & very little rain this year. Oudoor toms often dont seem to do very well for me & cause lots of anxst - is it warm enough? will the neighbour water? are they staked securely if its windy? have I fed enough / too much? - not sure if I can be bothered next year! (Taste so good when I get it right tho')

Coriander - Calypso - started well but bolted in the heat & 3 further sowings in ground failed to germinate - same with Butterhead lettuce. Have done well in the past. Wondering if mice or voles have eaten the seeds - lots of holes in my raised beds this year!!

Garlic & shallots - tiny & rotting in the ground - ended up in the bin

Seems to have been a year of extremes both weather & cropping - wise




Posted: 21/09/2013 at 09:34

I have inherited a hedge of Prunus Lusitania (aka Portugese Laurel) which I really like because

  • it's evergreen & dense & abt 2m high
  • it seems to grow quite quickly but...
  • I only have to cut it once a year in summer
  • it has retained a nice shape
  • the foliage is good for cutting (flower arrangements & Xmas decs)
  • it's not prickly!

Whatever you plant, soil preparation and watering will be the key to success. 

I have found Red Robin can be leggy and also split, so I would be wary of using it where you need screening. Also be wary of choosing something just because it is fast growing - it will continue to be so & you'll be forever cutting it.

I have also not heard of deep pipes being affected by shrubs. The real culprits are thirsty water seekers such as willow (so dont be tempted by a "fedge"!).

Good luck.






Posted: 01/09/2013 at 12:12

Thanks nutcutlet - I'll gather some seeds from my favourite plants and see what comes up next year.

My plants are looking better now than they did even a week ago - really big and bushy. Hope they keep going for another couple of months if we don't get early frosts.



Posted: 26/08/2013 at 13:18

Same problem & a bit of a nightmare to control.

Lots of hand weeding (fork out the seedlings as soon as you see them - I don't think using a hoe works as the basal roots are left behind) and use a glyphosphate weedkiller on any larger patches. I'm not on top of mine yet - but I'm getting there!!



Posted: 25/08/2013 at 21:55

From the pics of the leaves it might be fruit (apple & pear) scab. My trees have been badly affected following last year's extremely wet summer which provided ideal conditions for fungi. 

Suggest you Google for more pictures to see if it is that.

If so, you can spray with an appropriate fungicide and give it plenty of TLC. If it's been in the pot for a while it will almost certainly need feeding - maybe repotting - I've never grown trees in pots so have limited knowledge on their requirements.

If you don't want to spray just give it loads of TLC. The good news is that scab isn't terminal but it is unsightly and will affect any fruit.

Good garden hygiene is very important. So burn any leaves that fall and dont allow them to sit on the soil where fungal spores can be splashed onto the tree by rain thereby reinfecting it.

Good luck. I now need to follow my own advice for all my trees!!


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 16:15

That doesn't look too good.

Are there any signs that the tree is still alive? - any green leaves etc? Is this just a particularly bad branch or typical of the whole tree?

If this is typical of almost all of the tree try gently scraping a small area of one of the affected branches. Is there any green under the bark?

What has been the regime for watering / feeding (especially during the very hot / dry spell in July)?

What size tree is it & what size pot? Is it in a sheltered location or windy? What is the aspect - ie does it get the full brunt of the sun - especially at the hottest part of the day or does it get some shade?

Are there any obvious signs of disease? - weeping wounds, scabs (yuck - sounds like Emergency Ward 10 - to show my age!).

Sorry to ask so many questions but from the picture the tree looks like a gonna - so just trying to help you identify why this might be. If, however, there's a bit of life in it we might be able to save it if we have enough info. 



Posted: 25/08/2013 at 11:28

Hi CMM. If it's supermarket pickled beetroot you don't like I'm with you all the way (done in malt vingar so very harsh).

I do, however, like sweet pickled beetroot which has a little finely sliced shallot,celery seed and sugar added to the usual pickling spices and is done in a nicer vinegar (I use red wine vinegar but a cheap balsamic might work - I do shallots in that). It's a world apart from the supermarket stuff & it's ready to eat in a few days.

I also like raw grated beetroot (remove the skin!) mixed with grated carrot, a little bit of mild onion, chopped parsley and french dressing. 


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 11:03

Perhaps it should be renamed the  "Marmite Tree".......


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 10:59

Glad it's not just me that's going to have a cupboard full of green tomato chutney this year!!!  Looking on the bright side though - that's a few contributions to village tombolas / charity fundraisers / small 'thank you' gifts sorted out for the next year

(Gardener's Delight - grown outside - lots of fruit but just 2 red tomatoes so far which the squirrels or mice pinched before I got there )



Posted: 25/08/2013 at 10:48

Mine have done quite well this year and have made some much needed large (4') plants in my new beds while all the new shrubs & perennials are so small. 

I sowed mine outdoors quite late (mid April I think), pinched them out a couple of times and didn't plant them out until late June. Some have been flowering well for a few weeks while a few are still in bud. I deliberately grew them this way so that they would flower later after a lot of the early - mid summer stuff has gone over.

Perhaps some of the problems people are having are with earlier sowings which may have been blighted with the prolonged cold start we had this year? The weather generally may also not have helped earlier, larger plants. Very hot and very dry then heavy rain for some. We have had some rain here but not loads & I am still watering newly planted beds on a regular basis.

On the subject of seed collecting (gardeningfanatic) - do cosmos come true from seed? I have a couple of plants which have produced particularly attractive colours or shaded petals this year - so I wondered if it was worth collecting their seed?

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