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Cna I be cheeky and post a list of questions about my (lack of) veg?!

(16 Posts)
PassTheTwiglets Thu 01-Sep-11 15:38:38

1. My tomatoes are still green - my own fault as I realised too late that they were in the shade. Have just moved them to sunny spot - will they ripen before the frosts set in?

2. Does it matter if you don't feed tomatoes? I fed them once at the start of the season but haven't done so since (I am rubbish, poor toamtoes).

3. Do you have to put new compost in pots each year? I tried to grow some runner beans but got literally 2 beans on one plant and none t all on the others. Hardly any leaves grew either and I'm wondering if this is because the soil was a few years old so previous plants have used up all the nutrients.

4. Ditto my beloved pumpkin plant - it got one pumpkin on it and has suddenly died sad The stoopid rabbit ate the end of the plant so it wouldn't grow any more but then it just randomly died on me. And even when it was alive the leaves went all weird (brittle and marked around the edges). Could this also be because the soil was a few years old? I did use bonemeal when planting all veg and I put tomato feed on the pumpkin & beans once.

Thank you in advance!

Pleiades45 Thu 01-Sep-11 15:50:03

Not sure about the tomatoes going red at this stage but you can do things with green ones, so they are not a complete waste of time.

Yes you need to feed them regularly and yes you need to change the soil in your pots. I usually put the growbags and contents of pots onto the veggie patch to help condition it.

Not sure about the pumpkin. Was it in a pot? Probably a watering problem but someone else might help with this.

PassTheTwiglets Thu 01-Sep-11 17:15:45

I do like green tomatoes, Pleiades, but I really wanted some red ones too - also, they're cherry tomatoes which dont' work very well with my green tomato recipes.

Yes, pumpkin was in a pot. I didn't water it much but every time I looked at it the soil seemed really wet - almost too wet (actually, maybe that was the problem!)

ChitChattingaway Sat 03-Sep-11 00:08:30

We have had a rather cool and wet summer which hasn't helped vegetables at all.

Pumpkins are very hungry plants and require lots of water, and the roots like to be warmer than other plants. If your soil looked wet then something was wrong with the soil/roots of the plant. The compost doesn't necessarily need to be fresh, as such, but you should tip it out and mix it up with a good amount of rotted manure, etc to make it very rich. In fact pumpkins grow beautifully on rotting manure because they just love the nutrients (and warmth).

If you put a mini greenhouse over the tomatoes they may well ripen even with the changing weather. They also prefer not getting wet so that would help them. Feeding does matter, your tomatoes are likely to be quite bland if they haven't been fed very much.

Not sure about runner beans, but TBH I think as a rule you need to either have fresh compost in a pot, or mix in a good amount of rotted manure for plants to do well - probably easier to just get fresh potting mix!

PassTheTwiglets Sat 03-Sep-11 08:01:29

Thank you, ChitChat! (that reminds me, my potatoes came out awful too smile

Great tip about the mini greenhouse over the tomatoes, thanks! My poor pumpkin plant, I am so sad about it. I've not been able to grow a big pumpkin successfully but the mini ones I grew up over the shed a few years ago were fabulous. Nothing much to eat but they looked so pretty being all orange on top of the pale blue shed - very pretty smile

I will be good next year and feeding the plants and hopefully the rabbit will have pegged it by then, so it won't keep eating what does manage to grow grin

ChitChattingaway Sat 03-Sep-11 09:06:27

A good trip with pumpkins -I've noticed that the majority of the first flowers are male, and the majority of the later flowers are female (if there's a mini fruit at the end of the flower, it's female). So I've started to plant 1 seed about 5 weeks after all of the other seeds have been planted. That way there are more male flowers around to pollinate the female ones - therefore more fruit. This plant is by way of a sacrificial plant because the fruit on this won't have time to ripen even if it does get fertilised, but my other plants have a far better success rate. Also, you can pick a male flower and just rub the stem on the female flowers and fertilise it that way.

PassTheTwiglets Sat 03-Sep-11 09:41:02

Oh what a great idea! I did notice that I only ever had one female flower before the rabbit ate the end of the plant to stop it getting any more. Mind you, my garden is barely big enough for one pumpkin plant, let alone two smile

Crikey, it's like being a pumpkin pimp...

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 03-Sep-11 21:37:06

Hello Twiggy.

What size are these pots? If they're not really big enough, they're more likely to get parched in dry weather and there will be even fewer nutrients in the poor, exhausted compost. Runner beans like very rich soil (my dad always puts kitchen compost in the bottom of the trench) so a pot of ancient soil or compost isn't likely to do the trick. Dump the compost and start afresh once these plants are finished.

If the tomatoes don't ripen on the plant - although it's looking more promising now the sun has returned - put them in a paper bag with a ripe banana. The banana gives off something (ethylene?) which ripens the tomatoes.

Come and join Humphrey's happy horti cult!

PassTheTwiglets Sun 04-Sep-11 10:42:20

<waves to Maud>

Pots are varying in size but biggest is about 2 feet across. I've watered them all the time) apart from the weird pumpkin one which was wet the whole time). Maybe I will work on getting the soil in my veg patch better for next year and give that one last try before giving up. The edge of the garden has a section about 4 feet by 12 feet where I always try to grow veg but its not the suniest spot and every single year the tomatoes end up getting very ill. So I decided that the soil was diseased and left it empty this year and grew things in pots and grobags instead. Everything I grow gets diseased - even tghe potatoes which were in a bag with brand new compost got potato scab <sighs>

Greta idea about the bananas! I do that with unripe fruit from the supermarket but hadn't thought about it for the toms!

ChitChattingaway Sun 04-Sep-11 12:15:09

You have blight in the area - the only non chemical thing that can help is to get a small greenhouse/polytunnel for the tomatoes and potatoes. Blight is airborn so if some of your neighbours have it you will get it, but a whole lot less if you cover them up. Tomatoes also REALLY don't like getting their leaves wet, and the green house will keep them dry, and a little warmer which they also like.

Otherwise you will just have to spray for blight. (As it's also in the soil that really might be the only option.

How much effort have you gone into preparing that patch of soil? You really need to get some good nutrient into it - some manure dug through before winter would be ideal.

HoneyPablo Sun 04-Sep-11 12:28:40

You can pick the tomatoes when they are green and put them on a sunny window sill to ripen.

PassTheTwiglets Sun 04-Sep-11 14:38:38

How much effort, Chitchat? Ooooh, I'd say about... um... none whatsoever smile I've just started to get some of the weeds out and was wondering what to do next. other than that, all I do is chuck the rabbit's poo on it. So I get manure and dig it in, yes? How on Earth does one get manure without a horse?

What do you spray for blight with? And can you eat fruit/veg that's been sprayed?

Thank you all for your help!

PassTheTwiglets Sun 04-Sep-11 14:47:54

Actually, just sen that you can buy manure in B&Q! Another question - does soil need light to stay healthy? If I don't grow anything in there until the spring, can I put some of that weed fabric on top, or does it need to stay uncovered? (as the amoutn of weeds is ridiculous - I pull them out by their roots but it's full again a fortnight later). Although, I do seem to remember reading that exposing soil to frost can help to kill off any diseases in the soil... not sure if I imagined that?!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 04-Sep-11 19:51:27

You can often get manure very cheap from riding stables (although you have to make sure it's well-rotted rather than fresh out of the horse). If you put it on top of the soil now, you can leave the worms to do the work of pulling the organic material down into the ground over the winter.

::lazy gardener::

Frost can help to kill off pests and germs (although you need the beneficial bacteria) and break up clods of clay (although I'm guessing too that your garden isn't on clay).

ChitChattingaway Sun 04-Sep-11 20:08:22

If you weed the garden bed now, you can put in a green manure and let it grow. This has the double benefit of supressing some of the weed growth AND stopping any nutrients in the soil being washed away. You can dig in the growth, or let it freeze and leave as mulch for the garden.

Royal Horticultural Society info on Green Mulch

You will still need to do some more digging and fertilizing in Spring, but this will be a great head start for next year.

ChitChattingaway Sun 04-Sep-11 20:14:42

Also - remember that while the initial preparation of a garden bed might require more work than plant pots, the maintenance for a garden bed is easier than plant pots. Plant pots need FREQUENT watering - even when it rains. They need very good quality potting mix to make sure there is good drainage (you seem to have got this one wrong!!), far more fertilizing and you need to pretty much start again every year.

With a garden bed if it's raining you don't need to water, if you weed properly you can keep weeds low if you fill up with plants (but do remember that you have weed seeds in there, and you will have a few years worth of weeds before you really reduce the numbers coming up repeatedly) and you only need to add nutrients to the soil rather than starting again every year.

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