Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Watering Advice

Stole this post from a local plant nursery

Watering - some tips for new gardener.

It's not quite as straightforward as some people think.

90% of health-related plant questions are due to watering, and of those, probably 90% are down to overwatering. So, if you want to learn a thing or two, read on...

1. ALWAYS water a plant in its existing pot BEFORE you plant it. The rootball needs to be full of water before you plant it - if it isn't, the rootball will stay dry despite watering afterwards, often leading to failure. And you must water it once you've planted it too, to add extra moisture to the surrounding soil and settle the soil around the rootball.
2. Roots are stimulated by DRY conditions, not wet ! Plant roots grow in order to seek out water. If they stay wet, there is no stimulus to grow, and more often than not, it will result in root rot and failure. The best way to water [most] plants is to soak them, and then allow the soil to dry out before you water them again. We generally advise against "a little bit every day" !
3. Garden soil stays damp longer than soil in pots, especially heavy soil - so you don't need to water your garden borders as frequently as your pots.
4. Young plants are far more at risk of overwatering than mature plants - the small root systems cannot cope with being constantly wet. As plants mature with bigger root systems, they become far more robust and able to cope with whatever Mother Nature throws at them !
5. You can't beat the "finger test" for checking the moisture levels in your soil. If your finger is damp when you've put it in the soil, rest assured the plant will go another day without water !
6. A plant suffering from overwatering will collapse and wilt, but so will a plant that is too dry. The way to tell the difference is the finger test - and a dry plant will spring back up within an hour or two after watering - a wet plant won't, and if it's collapsing due to overwatering, it may be too late to save it
7. Finally, a word about Bamboo - its about the only plant we sell where you can ignore points 1 to 6 ! Bamboos love water, and its almost impossible to overwater them. When you water them, give them at least a whole watering can.

And if you have to grow bamboos in pots, give them as big a pot as you can and be prepared to water them daily once they are established. Trust us - bamboos, especially the bigger species, will be much much happier when planted in the ground. Whereas most plant related issues that we discuss come down to overwatering, with bamboos its always - ALWAYS !! - down to underwatering.

The good new is that, once bamboos are established, they generally look after themselves (apart from when they're in pots !)
Hope that helps some of you who are learning about gardening ?

Monday, 21 June 2021

Making The Greenhouse into a TARDIS !

This morning I turned my Greenhouse on plot 1 into a TARDIS! and set up the Quadgrows.

The capillary matting installed I filled the bottom 25-30 mm of the pots with coir and then used the Miracle Grow Peat Free Fruit and Vegetable compost. I used the bulb planter to remove the vending machine cup sized hole and planted the young tomatoes at depth so that the first true laves were on the mulching caps.

In the time I had this morning I only managed potted up into 6 of the 8 pots available on the Quadgrows.

The remaining tomatoes for the Quadgrow and the second Narrow Bed are with the extra courgettes resting in a bath of water until my next visit, which may not be until late Friday or Monday as I don't have anyone to keep an eye on the wife this week.

White Net Curtain wire cord and hook and eyes at ridge and eves level combined with Greenhouse Insulation / Shading support clips on the middle mullion on slopes and on the gable end internally. Thermometers mounted on the side and gable walls off the shading support clips and a small S hook formed out of wire.

The blue 2m wide scaffolding debris netting is ideal to provide shading to the plants as this greenhouse get the sun all day. I cut enough to go up the wall, over the roof and back down the other wall. and then a section long enough for the gable end from corner to corner.

The clips in the corner are not supposed to be used as I have but I was improvising and needed a way to hold the edges in place. I will have to wait and see how resistant they will be to airflow and high winds.

Greenhouse Insulation / Shading support clips needed a washer or some packing so again I made some washers out of cardboard cutting the slots with a Stanley knife.  

Debris netting curtain rail hooks used unconventionally around the edges to hold the debris netting in place.

All in all I was most please with the TARDIS look that the greenhouse has now taken on, and I have to say it looks a whole lot better than the green netting I had on the outside of the greenhouse on Plot 1A before I removed it and jet washed the greenhouse.

Photo when the plot 1A greenhouse was first covered, the debris netting weathered over the years made the greenhouse mucky and finally split on the gable end. The plot 1A greenhouse will get the same internal netting make over during the winter months.

Meanwhile on the plot...... The Bloody foxes had dug out my crimson crush tomato and torn the planting membrane in the process. The poor plant didn't look healthy and I have no idea how long it had been laying there. She was re potted into the ground and watered. most of the 2.5 Litre Hydro Cups were empty or near too it.

The sweetcorn appear to be liking the rain over the past weeks and are growing nicely.

The Gherkins (National) are working there way up to the bottom of the climbing frame and so far are resisting slug & snail attacks.

I spotted some activity in the Beetroot bed

The seeds I sowed last week are germinating, lets just hope they don't become snail or slug food!

In the evening as it was dry I made another Tomato Narrow Bed Planting Membrane for the second narrow bed and the tomatoes that are in the greenhouse waiting to be planted out. I also trimmed up a 2.4m x 0.6m Blank that was on the first Narrow bed and made a second 2.4m x 0.6m Winter Blank from the large end of roll I had in the brick store.

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Potting Up Tomatoes


Today I managed to move the Micro and Mini Tomatoes from their vending machine cups and potted them on into 127mm 5" pots and get a selection of tomatoes planted out into buckets just before it started raining again.

Some of the Micro Toms already have flowers growing. 

Half have been potted up using Dalefoot Wool Compost for Potting which is a blend British Wool, Bracken & Comfrey The other half have been potted up using Westlands New Horizon Tomato Planter made with BIO3. It's going to be interesting to see what difference the different composts make to the growth and development of the plants.  

Due to the additional store I won in a Waltons competition there is a reduction in Tomatoes grown at home in the back garden from 22 Flower Buckets to just 10 Buckets this year. The City Jungle that I erected during the pandemic in 2020 remains in the back garden as do the two self watering pots. 

I have two Quadgrows so 8 pots in Plot 1 Greenhouse and six plants out on the two narrow allotment plot, which makes 27 plants in all growing this year excluding the Micro & Mini Varieties in the Space Saver greenhouse. 

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Blight Resistant Tomatoes

Early morning visit to Avalon (my allotment plots) to water before the sun comes racing up from the entrance path to the back of plot 1A. I also managed to get the tomato planting membrane laid down and planted Crimson Crush, Crimson Plum & Crimson Cherry.

Now people will understand why I put in four watering points in the membrane I made yesterday, as each one has a 2.5 litre Hydro Cup to slowly release the water into the ground and keep it nice and moist under the planting membrane for the tomato roots.

For more details about the Hydro Cups see

I was also really happy to see one of the entrance Agapanthus putting up a flower. I will be building a coupe of bed frames for the two plants to grow into.

The 75mm or 3" Spring Clamps that I had bought arrived today, so I took the opportunity with the bad weather warning for Thursday and Friday to use them to clip the netting to the blue water pipe just above the bed frame so that I don't loose any netting cover like I during the last high winds.

The new hosepipe splitter was fixed to the tap at the water butt as the old one had given up the ghost. It reached 29C today so everything got watered again especially the potatoes in buckets that were looking a little under the weather.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Tomato Planting Membrane

Up early but no chance of going to the allotment as the stairlift man is coming this morning to find the fault with the lifting leg. So I decided to make the design for the Tomator Narrow Beds planting membrane a reality as the toms really need to be taken to the plot and put in the ground. I've added a couple more watering holes/ slots on the outside edges of the sheet/ bed. 

Sheet trimmed to size with the soldering iron and then marked up with a metallic sharpie on the black membrane. 

Trusty soldering iron, wire brush and scaffold board used to form the holes and slots in the planting membrane.  

Completed Narrow bed Tomato Planting Membrane sheet. 

Monday, 14 June 2021

Very Early Watering Visit


I planted out Radish and Beetroots on Saturday and there was not Sunday visit and this morning I woke up at 5:10 and decided to get to the allotment as quickly as possible, so a swift breakfast followed by my medication then a dash to the allotment for 6:30 to be confronted with a broken gate latch.

The Bull nose ring was found on the floor, recovered and placed on the bolt on the back of the door so that idverde can come and fix it.  

This is something that I have historically brought to their attention the last time during the site inspections last week. 

There was talk of getting their welding guy to deal with this and if they do I have suggested a slight angle like the one in the photo above be used. 

At this time of the morning the whole of my allotment Plot 1 and 1A is in shadow due to the trees at the far end of plot 1A, and it's an ideal time for watering as it's not in direct sunlight. 

I set the sprinkler on the Onions and the Raspberries on plot 1 and then headed off to see what had come of the beetroots that I put in the ground on Saturday.  

With the scorching sun of Sunday I was expecting to see the beetroots half dead but in fact they were standing and looked to be very healthy, so I gave then a good watering. 

The national Gherkins were looking happy so they too got a good watering. 

Sweetcorn looking good were also watered. 

As the beetroot bed was in the shade I decided to direct sow 3 or 4 Cylindrical Beetroot seeds per hole in the rest of the bed and cover with a layer of compost.

Shadow at 7:55am and the sun rises and starts getting above the trees at the back of plot 1A

I then watered using a mist setting and gave the bed a good soaking 

The photo above shows how far the sun had travelled up plot 1 and into plot 1A by 8:11am 

One of the courgettes has been attacked by slugs or snails, but I do have 3 plants in reserve on the table behind the Greenhouse on Plot 1 

I spent some time clearing the floor in the Plot 1A greenhouse and fixing the staging that broke after I jet-washed and cleaned the greenhouse. I really need to get the shading in place in both green houses as the tomatoes need taking to the allotment and setting up in the Quadgrows. 

As with the beetroots, I was a little worried about the radishes but they appear OK so they had a good watering as well.  John has promised me a dozen strawberry runners and I'm thinking they will go in the other raised planter with cover on the other side of the greenhouse next year.

As I was watering I noticed that one of my plot holders has build something that I have always fancied have a bash at 

I do hope he is going to turn it into a greenhouse, he does have a small one on the plot already.

The little summer house on the grassed area is a retreat for his wife and child and him at a squeeze, he has a small shed to erect beside it as his man-cave.

By 9:30 both plots were in sunshine and it was 22C so I made my way home to get my wife sorted for the day.

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Sheds Belly


Since the apple trees have been pollarded right back the Keter Shed in the back garden has been developing a belly. What was stored in there was exerting some pressure on the wall and in the heat from the sun the plastic decided the relax a little and with temperature predicted at 28+ coming this week, I decided I better to something about the belly before the middle panel popped out!
Saturday I noticed that I could see the edge of the middle panel with the window in. So Sunday as there was no allotment visit as I was looking after my wife and my daughter was out with her sister and friends. I hit the shed and sorted it out.
Now there is nothing bearing on the wall so I'm straightening the panel by placing the grandad posts on the side to push the belly back in. My cunning plan is for the sun to do it's magic and if I see the wall curving inwards I will remove the weight.

Saturday, 12 June 2021

Hot Hot Hot

In hindsight I'm guessing it was really way to hot to plant out the Beetroots this afternoon but they really need to go in the ground as they are drying out way too fast in the modules.

They had a good soaking with water from the water butts and hopefully will survive until Monday morning which will be the next time I will be able to visit.

The plastic mesh had gone brittle so good thing that the rest of the roll was stored in the shed and so I replaced it.

Six Gherkin National plants have been planted and watered into a new layer of compost that I formed as a hillock and moat as I'm assuming that Gherkins are a little like cucumbers and don't like there roots to get saturated but are happy to search out the water.

Two rows of swede watered

Two Midnight F1 and Romenesco Courgettes planted at the end of the overflow Sweetcorn bed.

Radishes planted out into the high level planter beside the greenhouse on Plot 1.

Freecycle Paving slabs picked up this morning Laid between Square Foot Gardening Beds 1 & 2

What I did find funny was that the water pressure was so low today, I have no idea if it people filling pools or taking showers, but I later saw that Spencer Road around the corner also has very low water pressure so perhaps there is a major leak somewhere nearby?