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T O P I C    R E V I E W
compost Posted - 29 Sep 2008 : 21:20:17
As we now enter the Autumn/Winter stage of the year - what are your thoughts on having tips for the season posted on this site??

I am interested in all aspects of gardening, vegetable growing is my main interest. (Hence the compost name !!!!)

Just pulled out the last of my runner beans. Leave the roots in the ground as they will put back a lot of nitrogen in to the ground.
Saving beans for next year is a real money saver - however it is best to swap seeds with a neighbour/friend as growing your own is not always the best way to get good results - especially if growing in the same site.

Happy to give tips/advice to any questions you may have - do not know it all but will try my best.
40   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Lulu Posted - 08 Sep 2010 : 01:33:26
I think I'll try both ways, compost. Half in the garden and half stored in the shed. I was very lucky, as there were a number of bulbs in the box I was given. I gave away 4 dozen to friends, and still have quite a number left. Thanks for the advice!
The weather here has been lovely for a long time, but the rain is putting in it's little wet head. We do need it though. I think fall will come a lot quicker than summer did! The winds have started to pick up, as well. As I'm on a lake edge, I get the brunt of it, so have to batten down my hatches for winter. I've already potted up my geraniums to bring in for winter. I have no safe place to put a greenhouse because of the winds, so I bring them in to the back bedroom and keep them there.
compost Posted - 07 Sep 2010 : 18:39:44

I would be tempted to store them until the spring, spaced out on a rack so they remain dry but have air circulating around them. (Frost free place)
Alternatively, plant a few, keep a few as described above and if they fail in the ground you have the stored ones, if they fail in the store you have the ones in the ground.
If you have room you could pot some up and keep them in a cold frame through the worst weather, planting out in the spring.
Bit of a catch 22 situation, if you do decide to store & plant - keep the best of the bulbs for the spring.
Be good to hear how they get on, and which option you go for. Hope the weather is good over there.


Lulu Posted - 06 Sep 2010 : 20:12:32
Hi, compost. It's been a while! I have a quick question for you. A local nursery gave me a bunch of Gladiola bulbs that didn't sell this spring. They look a little worse for wear, but are still viable. I was going to plant them, 6 to 8 inches, and then put some protection over them, for the winter. Do you think this will be ok, or should I hang on to them, and plant them in the spring? I just thought that waiting may decrease their viablity even more. What do you think?
Lulu Posted - 10 Apr 2010 : 16:41:33
Thanks for that, Compost. Sorry I didn't answer sooner. I will check for mice, but I don't think that is the problem. It could very well be the weather, as we had an unexpected dump of snow here a few days ago!! Good thing I hadn't planted my dahlia tubers yet!
I will definitley try the chard, as it has not bolted yet.
compost Posted - 01 Apr 2010 : 06:27:31
Hi Lulu

As long as the Chard has not bolted, it will be okay - just strip out the stalk on any big thick leaves as they will be tough.

Direct sown peas could be slow due to the weather, but a lot get taken by mice. Have a careful dig at the end of a row and have a look. If mice are a issue, paraffin dip the peas before planting.

Lulu Posted - 31 Mar 2010 : 22:09:44
I tried direct sewing of some peas, a few weeks ago, hoping to get a jump start, but while we've had no more frosts, they haven't germinated! Maybe too wet, but I'll try again in a week or so. I still have some rainbow chard in the garden, and while it looks great, am not sure if it is still edible. What do you think?
compost Posted - 31 Mar 2010 : 20:05:30
Sowed the courgettes today, as well as some outdoor cuecumbers (both in the greenhouse).
Okra has not germinated and will try some more when the weather warms up a bit ( will persevere until I get a plant).
Marigolds, Asters and cornflower are all through and coming on nicely.
Cosmos through, gone for a pure white variety this year - to contrast with the black hollyhocks.
Will plant my early potatoes on Sunday - hope to start harvesting them 10 weeks later.
Peas are ready to start hardening off and will go on the allotment in a few weeks.
Parsnips were sown about 2 weeks ago, fear they may be ruined by all the rain.
Beetroot will be sown as soon as the weather dries. Swede and cabbage are just showing and will go into a prepared (limed) bed in a few weeks.
Sowed a tray of little gem today, hope to crop in 8 - 10 weeks.
Would be nice to hear how others are doing in the garden,greenhouse or allotment.
Always happy to swap plants, veg seed or swap advice with other gardeners.
compost Posted - 13 Mar 2010 : 15:47:00
While I usually buy my gardening requirements from either Manor or Ferring nurseries - support the local businesses, I did visit Haskins and have seen they are selling trays of 15 primroses for 5.99 but you get 1 tray free as well. 30 Primroses for less than 6.00 fill your pots for a bit of early colour without breaking the bank.
compost Posted - 12 Mar 2010 : 07:46:50
Potatoes should be chitted, place the seed potatoe in a egg carton (cardboard) and leave in a bright place (No not a university BFA, lol) out of direct sunlight. I will be planting my 1st Earlies in early April. This year have gone for International Kidney as the are the closest we will get to Jersey Royals.

Tempted (against my own better advice) to plant a few courgette seeds this weekend, have installed (more thrown together actually) a small hot bed type thing on the allotment and think it might just be okay for an early crop.

Sowed a few trays of marigold seeds (Mr Majestic) in the greenhouse this week, starting to harden off "Black" Hollyhock (This years must have plant). Fox gloves have been potted on- this year I think we will see a return to the traditional cottage garden. Will be sowing Cornflower this week as well as Asters.

Have a great weekend in the garden/greenhouse/allotment
Lulu Posted - 06 Mar 2010 : 16:53:15
I do not have a fountain, but I do have a metal heron standing over my barrel. It's a verdigris colour, so not very realistic, but, from a distance, it does look like a heron bending down to look in the water. My neighbours is at the edge of the lake, near where the real herons land. Doesn't seem to phase them. Maybe if we moved the fake herons around from time to time? Mind you, if my fish got taken again, I think I'd just not replenish. I personally don't mind the birds, but then I don't have expensive Koi to worry about.
Just an after thought. I have a friend who used clear netting but placed it just under the surface of the water. It couldn't be seen by the naked eye, and seemed to help, but then, he lost a lot of his fish to the otters!! Who just tear through anything in their way.
compost Posted - 04 Mar 2010 : 07:26:13
BFA, Lulu

There is a line of thought that says a Heron will not enter anothers area - hence the outbreak of plastic herons that has started to appear around some ponds. I think that they are not the most realistic models I have ever seen, but if nestled in to some reeds they are not too bad.

Clear fishing line stretched across the pond edges can be very effective and not look unsightly. Only needs to be around the edges if the pond is deep, otherwise a few lines across the pond will do. I am against netting as it really detracts from the look.

Do you have a fountain/water feature running in your pond as this also helps as it distorts fish reflection.
Lulu Posted - 03 Mar 2010 : 23:16:40
If you know the answer to that one, compost, I know a lot of people in my home town here, who would be mighty greatful!! I used to have a small barrel with a water lily or two in it, as well as a couple of gold fish. It was right on the edge of my property, next to a busy road, and still they'd come, and perch on the side of the barrel, just waiting patiently. I finally gave up on restocking the thing )
BFA Posted - 03 Mar 2010 : 22:31:19
Wish I had the time Compost - the biggest % of my garden is a fishpond which pretty much takes care of itself.

Don't suppose you have any tips on how to keep herons away without making the pond look like Alcatraz or investing in an air rifle?

compost Posted - 03 Mar 2010 : 22:24:23
BFA - You are correct with the spelling, was going to correct myself in my last post.
John are you saying us dyslexics are not allowed to grow stuff
Will have a few spare plants if you want to give it a go BFA
BFA Posted - 03 Mar 2010 : 21:54:42
I was joking of course. Ocra - also known as lady's fingers, I've never planted/grown or tasted them. But I do believe the correct spelling is 'O-K-R-A. Gordon Ramsay hates it (can't be all bad then) and here is all you ever wanted to know but were too afraid to ask.

From that link "Okra is also reported to contain the male contraceptive gossypol"

But my Dad says it doesn't work.
John Posted - 03 Mar 2010 : 17:14:10
BFA... the word refering to whales is ORCA....not OCRA.. yer plonker!

Unless you meant it as a joke of course....
It which case it's almost funny
compost Posted - 02 Mar 2010 : 08:53:16
BFA- Thanks for the guidance, I will have a whale of a time growing some.
BFA Posted - 01 Mar 2010 : 23:21:38
Originally posted by compost

Going to try Ocra for the first time this year - has anyone got any tips on this.

You need a bloody big fish tank - I think they eat seals.
compost Posted - 01 Mar 2010 : 20:50:44
Sowed a few more trays of tomato seeds this afternoon, those planted a few weeks ago are just starting to show through.
Continue with the ventilation of the greenhouse, polytunnel - on days like today the doors can be left open for several hours.
On the veg plot, ground is very wet and cold and I am still waiting a while before the Parsnips go in. (I do start to harvest mine from the end of August - they say wait for a frost to sweeten, however I find that they are still tender and small at that time).
Will start Leeks off in pots in the greenhouse in about a fortnight, then sow more every 2 weeks until the bed is full.
Had planted early peas in pots several weeks ago - nothing showing as yet - will plant some more this coming weekend.
As ever, a small bit of sunshine makes gardeners go mad on the planting front - hold back if you can for a few more weeks when we should be past the worst of the weather.
Going to try Ocra for the first time this year - has anyone got any tips on this.
compost Posted - 10 Jan 2010 : 19:14:34
Remember to clear snow off the greenhouse, it may be a good insulator - but it cuts the daylight out.

One good point about the snow and ice - it kills slugs and their eggs.
compost Posted - 04 Jan 2010 : 09:42:56
Forgot to mention about greenhouses, polytunnels and cold frames - even though we are getting some severe frost in the mornings, you need to ventilate the greenhouse etc to help maintain a healthy environment for your plants. I open the door for about an hour a day, usually around lunchtime at the moment, the severe cold has gone and the temperature has not then started to fall for the evening. Air circulation helps prevent "damping off" and assists in the control of Red Spider Mite. Every other day would be okay if we do get really bad weather. (This Friday !!!!).
If you need to water your plants, do it early in the morning, this gives the water time to seep in to the compost and allows the plant to drink before the conditions freeze the water. Little is better than a drenching at this time of year.
compost Posted - 03 Jan 2010 : 10:27:17

If you can keep them dry over the next 2 months and warm there is a good chance they will be okay. I have in the past just added more soil to the pot to act as a cover. Straw is also a cheap insulator (carrier bag over the top). I often run out of space in the greenhouse and have to think of how best to save those that do not get "chosen".

I do not heat my greenhouse as stated in earlier posts, however I am tempted by the cheap heated Propagator for sale at Haskins - less than 15.

Thank you for your comments and hope you have an abundant year on the plot.
Tinklebelle Posted - 02 Jan 2010 : 23:27:02
We have an allotment (which keeps our freezers filled with fruit for family and friends), as well as a pretty big garden - your hints are as good as BBC "GQT", Compost ! Thank you. I forgot to put all our tubbed red Canna Lilies in the greenhouse and now they look very sad, wonder if they will survive this cold weather ? Have joined the Angmering Horticultural Club too, that's an excellent friendly group.
compost Posted - 02 Jan 2010 : 17:29:50
Ideal weather to get the veg plot turned over, frosts will help break down any big clods as well as hopefully getting rid of a few soil bourne pests.

A good layer of well rotted manure over the area for potatoes will not do any harm. I have added seaweed to my potato patch this year - it has a few months to rot down a bit, and the salt content should be watered down sufficiently.

Check soil Ph - Brassicas like soil that has had a bit of lime added, remember it takes a few months for the benefits to get into the soil, so a light dusting now will help.

Would be nice to see other tips on this subject, seems I have an audience of 1. (Thanks Lulu)
Lulu Posted - 29 Dec 2009 : 20:45:40
Thanks compost, I'll look for those varieties in my newest seed catalogue. As to the black tomatoes, I don't think they look particularly appetising either. and I have not tasted them, but I thought the main purpose of them was that they would grow in colder weather, where other varieties wouldn't. Making them a good choice for gardeners who otherwise wouldn't think of growing tomatoes.
I am looking forward to summer, to try out the chutney recipe.
compost Posted - 29 Dec 2009 : 19:22:22

I grow "Inca" as a plum tomato and will wait a few weeks before sowing these.
I grow "money Maker" "Gardeners Delight" as normal/cherry toms and will be sowing these in the next week.
I also grow a variety called "Hundreds & Thousands" for hanging baskets - but will not sow these until April. I picked the last crop of these in December this year.

As for the Black ones - a friend grew them last year, got a fair crop - but they look unappetising on a plate ! ! !
Lulu Posted - 29 Dec 2009 : 16:43:47
Any particular varieties? Have you ever grown the "black" tomatoes, said to have come from Russia, that are supposed to be very cold tolerant?
compost Posted - 28 Dec 2009 : 22:07:13
Time to start thinking about starting some tomato seeds off in the greenhouse - I do not heat my greenhouse so will wait for the frosts to clear this week, then will start half a dozen seeds in pots for an early crop.
compost Posted - 03 Oct 2009 : 22:15:11
I have made some tomato soup and think it is better than anything you can buy,

All measurements are rough as I do not weigh anything,

In a roasting tin place 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 sliced cloves of garlic and a few sprigs of rosemary. Place in oven at around gas mark 5 until hot.
Cut 3lb of tomatoes in half - add to roasting tin once oil is hot and return to oven. I let them cook for around half an hour.
In a saucepan cut up 2 medium carrots and cook until soft.
Take roasting tin from oven and empty in to a large saucepan, you can remove the skins if you wish (I leave them on). Add the carrots and about a pint of vegetable stock (add more to get the consistency you prefer). Blitz with a blender - season to taste, add a squeeze of tomato puree and stir thouroghly. Serve.
Lulu Posted - 02 Oct 2009 : 16:09:26
I was given a LARGE zucchini that no one else wanted, and made the most delicious zucchini relish! I have also asked for and been given this years green tomatoes, the ones that probably won't ripen, and am making green tomato chutney. It uses up all those tomatoes that normally would be tossed out. If anyone is interested in either recipe, I'll post it here.
compost Posted - 01 Oct 2009 : 16:05:53
As the summer draws to a close it would be nice to hear of any gardening successes that have been acheived, have you grown your first crop of veg, was your sunflower higher than usual. Have your plants lasted longer this year.
Anything that has brought happiness to you in the gardening world - lets hear about it.
Would be great to hear some gardening tips from around the village, are there some "old timer" hints that seem to work.

Next year, put a small amount of your hoover dust around you tomato plants - really feeds them well.
This year I tried a patio/hanging basket type of tomato - "Hundred & Thousands" by Suttons - still picking them, they are the size of grapes and are as sweet as any variety I have tried. Look lovely in a salad.

Maybe users of the forum could add recipes for using up surplus garden produce - will add a few of my own if interest is shown.
Lulu Posted - 16 Aug 2009 : 16:29:11
Right! Thanks compost, will do as you suggest. Wish me luck!!
compost Posted - 16 Aug 2009 : 09:21:53
Hi Lulu,

Plant them out, i do not protect my spring cabbages from bird attack - sounds strange but a bit off a pecking checks their growth and makes then less likely to bolt when the weather improves in the spring.

Plant them 2 inches deeper than they are in the pots.

Some of the cabbages I have grown started out looking like they would not survive overnight, let alone go on to be good heads in the end. As with all brassica's they need to struggle to do well.
Lulu Posted - 15 Aug 2009 : 21:41:49
Compost, I planted a few cabbge seeds, to try for some spring heads, but the plants are looking quite leggy. I tried to keep them from too much heat and light, but they still don't look too good. Would you advise planting them, or chucking them and starting over?

Sorry for such basic questions, but I was always the flower grower. My late husband was the veggie gardener.

Sorry for the edits, but I keep missing letters out of words and have to go back and retype them!
compost Posted - 15 Aug 2009 : 20:29:49
If you have some spare carrot seeds, especially the early varieties, plant then now for some autumn crops.
Check sweetcorn - if the kernals exude a clear fluid- they need a bit longer, no fluid - its to late, however if a milky fluid shows - get them in the pot as soon as poss. Lots of butter and a sprinkle of black pepper.
Corn cobs are also good on the B-B-Q
compost Posted - 19 Jul 2009 : 10:10:31
Time to plant spring cabbage, i start mine in the greenhouse and when about 8 inches high transfer them to their growing position. Remember to plant then 2 inches deeper than they are in the pots.
January King is a good cabbage to plant now direct outside, heads will be ready for January harvest - may even get some in time for christmas.
Planting leeks out at 2 weeks intervals - again these were stared in deep pots in the greenhouse.
Pak Choi is best sown now - earlier sowings tend to bolt a bit.
As the seasons become more as one the growing season for each vegetable increases, I have a saying - seeds dont grow in packets - if you have a few seeds spare, plant them you never know.
Lulu Posted - 28 Jun 2009 : 15:59:55
I have seen the fencing done on Ground Force, and was fascinated by it. Would love to learn.I was thinking of buying myself a book on how to make furniture and trellises from branches and twigs. They look so lovely and rustic. I envy you your job!!
I have taken more softwood cuttings from the witch hazel and have potted them up using some rooting hormone. Now it's just wait and see.
compost Posted - 28 Jun 2009 : 07:35:26
Things like Charcoal Burning - Woven Hazel fence panels - gate hurdles and logging
Lulu Posted - 27 Jun 2009 : 16:34:06
What do you mean by "crafts"?
compost Posted - 27 Jun 2009 : 08:23:52
I have heard that a few soap shavings help keep deer away - not sure what quantity you would have to use or even where/how you would place them. Bit of a dream to have deer in the garden - but also a problem with the plants/young trees.
I loved the idea of bears in the wood, dangerous but slightly exciting.
I am lucky enough that my work is going more and more over to woodland management and rural crafts - just sitting in the woods with a small fire going pottering about.

Speak soon

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