Latest posts by whitevanwoman

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What new veg varieties have you tried?

Posted: 17/10/2013 at 21:27

Tried 3 new chilli varieties (new to me anyway)

Stumpy, which is a mild chilli,  27 thousand Scoville heat units. This had been bred to fit windowcills as it doesn't grow much over 30cms with lots of lovely early fruiting cream chillies which go to orange then red. A very pretty houseplant that you can eat!

Fairy Lights, which is a medium chilli at 47 thousand Scovilles. This plant is unusual in that the flowers are purple as opposed to the normal white. The fruits are first a beautiful deep purple then gradually change to cream, then orange and finally red and because the flowers are pollinated at different times, there is a multicoloured effect of all 4 colours on the plant. A taller variety at around half a metre.

Finally, the Dorset Naga. I have been told that Naga in Malaysian means Dragon and I could well believe it as the Scoville heat rating is between 500 thousand and over 1 million Scovilles. It makes this chilli in the rankings for some of the world's hottest. In a large pot the D.N. will grow to over 1 metre and I have been told will reach up to 1.5 metres if put in the ground in a greenhouse. This plant belongs to Capsicum Chinense group of chillies, so has a very long growing season. I am still waiting for the green fruits to ripen before trying, but there will be a lot of bread and plain yoghurt on hand when I do.

All the above plants were grown this year from supplied seed and are short lived perennials, but they do need warmth to survive a British Winter.


What new veg varieties have you tried?

Posted: 17/10/2013 at 21:01

Grew Cherry Tomato Matkoska, both in and out the greenhouse. The one's outside seemed to have a good resistance to Blight and both ripened early but still had a good long fruiting season. Will definitely grow these again as flavour is excellent.

Tomato growing tips

Posted: 15/11/2012 at 18:39

Can highly recommend Maskotka cherry type tomato for good flavour. Grown in greenhouse and out this year. While the outside ones did get blight it didn't seem to effect all the tomatoes. Only a few were quickly disposed of. Those in the greenhouse were completely unaffected and I was still picking ripe fruit well into October.

Seed available from T&M and some other online seed suppliers


Posted: 13/10/2012 at 23:52

Hi Pam,

Despite being a gardener since I was 9, 2012 has been my first season as a Greenhouse Virgin. It is incredibly exciting.

My greenhouse is aluminium (didn't have a choice as it was free) and is set onto a concrete surround. This helps to make it mouse proof. While the greenhouse was free itself, It has cost me around £850 to kit it out with timber staging, which was made by my husband, so there was only a timber and screw cost; 2 overhead lights, an internal tap for water; a waterproof electric plug for my hot box, proper flooring and sufficient weed suppressant membrane covered in chippings.

I have already had to ditch the automatic vent purchased as it wasn't strong enough for the job. My 4 roof vents cover 32 square feet.Unfortunately the next grade of automatics come in at £80 odd per vent..ouch.

All this cost however depends on what size you purchase and the rule of thumb is purchase a size bigger than you think you need.  I went from zero to 10ft wide x 8ft high by 13 ft long (it had been cut down from 24ft long) and I still ran out of space.

One of the Dr Hessayon Expert series on Greenhouses will give you an excellent guide to being a glasshouse enthusiast. Good luck and happy growing.

Talkback: Japanese knotweed

Posted: 04/05/2012 at 12:44
Sorry hit the wrong button!
In my experience digging it out while it is still alive is a decidedly bad idea as one seventh of a gram of root can result in re-growth.

Having spent wasted time trying to spray the stuff we came up with a more radical approach.In Spring, wait until it have reached at least 75cm high, it needs to be making strong growth.Cut the top off so that you can see down the stem, which is a bit Bamboo like in that it grows in section. Straighten a metal coathanger, and poke this down through the sections as far as you can. Make up a solution of Glyphosate, from the concentrate, then using a hypodermic syringe or similar (you don't need a needle) inject the solution carefully into the stem and keep doing this until the stem is almost full. Then proceed to the next plant. Repeat this in Autumn, when the sap is retreating into the roots and again the following Spring, by which time the plant will really be struggling. Once you are certain it is dead and you may need to wait a further season, then it is safe to dig up and dispose of legally.
We have used this successfully on Knotweed which was over 1.8m high and it didn't endanger any of the surrounding trees or shrubs.

Talkback: Japanese knotweed

Posted: 04/05/2012 at 12:30

Talkback: Ask Adam

Posted: 23/03/2012 at 00:27

To Ecobaby,

Sorry, filtering your water will not help as all that does is remove the particulate (bits), not change the pH of the water (its acidity or alkalinity)

Your Blueberries need Rainwater ideally, but of course you know that. More critical is that your Blueberries must not be kept short of  water. So compromise time, keep watering your Blueberries until you get some rainwater in your container, but you can acidify your compost by adding flowers of Sulphate at the dose on the packet. I'm in the South East with exactly the same problem. Good luck.


Posted: 23/03/2012 at 00:08

Go for it Light 42,

If you prune and leave 2 buds below your prunings then even if there is a hard frost you will still have buds for this year. otherwise your plant will look a bit leggy. Up to you?

Wood chip

Posted: 15/03/2012 at 23:13

To Wildflower2, Please don't buy the cheap membrane, usually brown and looks a bit like brown woven paper, you will be wasting your money as it doesn't last. Get the black woven material which usually has coloured checks across it in big squares. This is the stuff the professionals use (they call it Geotextile fabric but don't let that put you off). You can plant through this by inserting a cross in the material and puting the plant through this. Same applies for perennials. Just ensure you lay the material peeled back from the cross carefully around the plants, then cover with a mulch. Of course you will have to remove every perennial weed before you put down any material, otherwise you will have problems.

If you have a large area to cover it is worthwhile considering buying an entire roll. May be an initial expensive outlay but you won't have to bother with all the irritating joins you would have if you buy it in small sections. There are also pins you can purchase to secure the fabric to the soil. This is worthwhile.

Good luck and happy planting.

Talkback: Ask Adam

Posted: 15/03/2012 at 22:10

I am very fortunate to have been donated a commercial greenhouse, with all it's lovely opening roof and louvre vents intact. We have cut down the original size to 8' h x 10' w x 13' l. As you can appreciate the area of glass in this is considerable. The problem is that the white shading material, probably 'Coolglass' has been left on for a considerable time and we are finding it very difficult to clean. Some of the panes are almost completely opaque. I'm not so concerned for the summer, when we would be applying shade anyway, but in winter when light levels are low and short, my plants may suffer. I plan to overwinter chillies, in a separate heated area, hence my concern. To date we have tried using hot water and detergent solution; proprietary glass cleaner; methylated spirits; white spirit; a very sharp fine scraper designed to remove adhesive labels from surfaces; t-cut; xylene; and somebody recommended sugar soap which we tried.

As you have probably guessed none of these have worked. Have you any other suggestions please? We live in Berkshire and the greenhouse runs E to W. Some 50% of the glass is in this condition. Kitting out a new greenhouse as you know is expensive so replacing the glass is not an option.

Help please, we don't know what else to do?

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