Poly Tunnels and Multi Tasking!

Well hello there,

Yesterday was another one of those days when, as a woman I had to multitask.  My son is home from university for the summer and along with him came loads of washing – 5 machine loads to be precise!   I am more than happy to do his washing for him as I do miss him when he is away.  This was his 1st year at uni and I think I was more worried than he was 😉  So I was in and out of the utility with the washing and as it looked like it was going to rain I hung the clothes out to dry….in my tunnel, another great reason to use one of these great multi functional tunnels 😉P1000990

 

Along with doing the washing I had to get my seaweed into all the different places that I had for it.  First was to tuck my tomato plants into their seaweed bed, but before that I needed to stake the tomatoes and also start to ‘pinch out’ the side shoots and this is quite a time consuming job when you have 150 tomato plants to do.  Once this job was done, I could lay the seaweed around them and hopefully keep any fungal viruses and those nasty pests like slugs well away from my crops 🙂

After mulching your tomatoes with seaweed, remember to leave a space for walking on clear, otherwise you will be slip sliding all over the place.

After mulching your tomatoes with seaweed, remember to leave a space for walking on clear, otherwise you will be slip sliding all over the place.

Remember to stake your tomatoes and attach carefully with some garden velcro or similar.

When you have your stake in place you will need to attach the tomato plants to them carefully with some garden velcro or similar.

This plant has a really long side shoot.  Remember to take a good look at the plant to work out which is the main stem before pinching out the side shoot!!

This plant has a really long side shoot. Remember to take a good look at the plant to work out which is the main stem (shown here in the picture) before pinching out the side shoot!!

The side shoot should break away quite easily by gently pulling it towards you.

The side shoot should break away quite easily by gently pulling it towards you.

 

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Then onto the bins to make up my seaweed fertilizer.  As you will see from the photos I use good old fashioned household bins with lids and get my very handy husband to put taps into the bottom.  Remember to raise the bins up before filling them otherwise you will find it very difficult to get your liquid seaweed out of the tap.

Good old fashioned garden bins make great compost/fertilizer bins. Also remember to raise them up so you can put a container under the bin to collect your liquid

Good old fashioned garden bins make great compost/fertilizer bins. Also remember to raise them up so you can put a container under the bin to collect your liquid

 

Fill your bin with about 2/3 of fresh water then fill up with your seaweed

Fill your bin with about 2/3 of fresh water then fill up with your seaweed

Taps are readily available in any good garden center or DIY.  You can however buy compost bins which have the taps already on but they are pretty pricey!!

Taps are readily available in any good garden center or DIY. You can however buy compost bins which have the taps already on but they are pretty pricey!!

 

Last but not least I put a couple of wheel barrow loads of seaweed into the compost heap. I will put a pile of straw on top of it today or it will end up a slimy mess 🙂

So lets check what we achieved yesterday: Tomatoes staked….check, Tomatoes ‘pinched out’ and tied to their stakes….check, seaweed mulch around tomatoes….check, pot on the peppers……NOT DONE but today is another day 🙂

Even Buddy was bored today and thought that I would never get finished ;)

Even Buddy was bored yesterday and thought that I would never get finished 😉

Thanks for tuning in and happy gardening.

Eve

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Seaweed-one of natures free fertilizers

P1000974Hi Guys

Well today turned out to be slightly different from planned which happens quite a lot in my world.  I’m not complaining as life can be more exciting (sometimes) when you do things on a ‘whim’.  Today we woke up to sunshine, although a little cold as we have a northerly wind but decided it was a perfect morning to collect seaweed for the garden. It’s a great FREE  organic fertilizer, mulch and can also be used as pest control.

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Seaweed is so good for the garden soil and plants due to the amazing amount of trace elements (these are the nutrients that plants only need a little of), potassium, magnesium, growth hormones, nutrients, and anti fungal and disease elements.

If you are not lucky enough to live close to the sea and collect seaweed fresh, don’t panic as seaweed can be used in its natural form or as a powder or liquid fertilizer and is available in most good garden centers. It can be used as a foliage spray on both plants and seedlings.  It can help prevent disease (mold and fungus growth), act as a growth simulator, due to the micro nutrients and help set  fruits.  To make your own  seaweed fertilizer you will need to fill a bucket or barrel to 3/4 full with fresh water.  Add as much seaweed as you need to fill it up and leave to soak for at least 6 weeks,  even several months stirring every few days. It is best to keep it somewhere ‘out of the way’ as it will smell pretty bad for a while.  It is ready to use when it no longer ‘stinks’.  It should be diluted before you use it, at least a minimum of 3-4 parts of water to 1 part of  seaweed fertilizer.

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Seaweed also works as a great mulch and unlike other ground cover mulch at often make a great hiding place for slugs, snails, earwigs and other little pests, the seaweed is both salty and as it dries it crisps up and makes it very uncomfortable for these horrid little critters to crawl on.  It is also great as a weed suppressant and any weeds that do manage to pop up above the seaweed can be easily seen and destroyed.

Seaweed is also great for the compost heap as it helps to condition your compost with trace elements so that when you use it in your garden you are getting the benefit both from the mulch and the compost. I would advise you to mix it with such materials as straw, paper or dried leaves when composting, otherwise it will become very slimy and leave your compost pile smelling rancid.

Seaweed is also great for the garden if you haven’t got time for manure to age, as seaweed can be used straight away and dug into the soil before planting up your fruit and veg.

We collected a couple of trailers full of seaweed today, with the help of one of our dogs Tilly, she not only loves the beach, but loves water:)

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Tomorrow I will put some seaweed around my tomato plants, put some into a barrel for fertilizer and some onto the compost heap….and maybe get some of the other jobs done that I had initially planned for today 😉

Thanks for tuning in and happy gardening.

Take Care

Eve

 

 

 

 

How To Feed Your Tomato Plants

P1040670Hi Guys

Now that your tomatoes are hopefully in the ground, container or hanging basket and have a few flowers starting to appear, we need to remember to water, FEED and give them a bit of TLC.

Tomatoes are very hungry plants and  need a lot of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphate,potash/potassium, calcium, magnesium,  and a few other trace minerals in order to help the plant grow strong and produce healthy juicy toms!!

There are a number of ways to give your tomato plants those all important nutrients but the easiest way is to buy a good quality tomato fertilizer (food) which you will find in any good garden centre or most large supermarkets.  Fertilizers are a mixture of 3 important nutrients which are fed to plants;  Nitrogen, which encourages leafy green growth;  Phosphorus, which is really good for encouraging flowers and so giving you your fruits; and Potassium, which is needed when the plants are in  flower to help to produce the fruit. These 3 important nutrients are often referred to as the N P K ratio.  If you were in the commercial growing world you would look at the label and these nutrients would be listed as numbers; ie. 10-15-5 which would mean that the fertilizer would contain 10% nitrogen, 15% Phosphorus and 5% Potassium (in that order).

When choosing a fertilizer for your tomato plants you need to make sure it’s not too high in nitrogen (1st number) as this would encourage lots of green leafy growth but not fruit.  If you buy a good quality tomato fertilizer then you will have the right combination of these nutrients…..which makes life much easier for us all.

There are many other methods of feeding your tomato plants but I think the tomato fertilizer is great, especially if you are new to growing tomatoes……..and you don’t have to worry about making sure you have the right NPK!!!

I also do a weekly foliage feed of  liquid seaweed fertilizer which  not only feeds your tomato plants with extra minerals but also acts as a bug deterrent and I find that those nasty little pests stay off my plants.  A good spraying of  liquid seaweed fertilizer also encourages healthy growth and is excellent when sprayed on new transplants. Try to buy organic if possible.

Whether you are watering your plants or feeding them using liquid fertilizer as a foliage spray, try to do it either early morning or early evening when it’s cooler, which will  prevent the leaves from burning (sun-scald)……That’s if the sun is shining 🙂

Read the instructions carefully on the back of the bottle and it will tell you how much liquid fertilizer and seaweed fertilizer (food)  you need to add to your watering can or sprayer.  Always give the bottle a shake before pouring.

I feed my tomatoes once a week and foliage spray with liquid seaweed every couple of weeks.  As I live so close to the sea…..only 1 mile down the road to the atlantic, I actually collect the seaweed and make my own fertilizer but there are many organic seaweed fertilizers available to buy.

Tomatoes grow over a long season so be patient. Feed, water and hope the sun shines!!!!

Happy Growing 🙂

mixed 2012 gardening and dogs 359

Not much gardening done today as I had to go to the dentist :(. Have had pain for a few weeks now and had to have a filling removed and refilled…..it was an old filling so hoping that has solved the problem 🙂