Handy Gardening Tips

At certain times of the year, particularly after a bad summertime, the veg plot or greenhouse can be a wash with green tomatoes which look reluctant to ripen. As light levels and heat continue to drop, the tomatoes will be extremely slow to ripen outdoors, or even in the greenhouse. You can sense them slowing down and weekly there are less ripe tomatoes to choose.

How to ripen tomatoes is the concern and I can provide a fool-proof way which does work every time. Like many solutions it came from a practical issue. One year I moved house at the end of the summer and the tomato plants were so loaded with fruit carrying them was simply too challenging, however what to do with all the green tomatoes?

I cut them all from the plant, leaving the tomatoes on the vine and laid them on newspapers and cardboard in a warm bright location, in this circumstances the conservatory but a window sill will do the trick. Over time, around 90% turned a robust red leading to more pasta sauce and no green tomato chutney.

How to overwater Plants

Frosts are threatening and it’s time to bring frost tender plants under glass for winter protection. As light levels and temperatures drop, it is visible that the greenhouse feels slightly damp. Air circulation is very important to overwinter plants effectively, damp and mould are as huge an enemy as the cold and frost; a good suggestion is to raise the plants up from the ground and not to pack them in too carefully together. This way air distributes around the plant and will help it make it through the winter season without catching Botrytis, grey mould. This is really easy to do, simply put a couple of bricks on the greenhouse flooring and lay couple of old planks along the bricks to make a low trestle. In this picture are some a little tender sage, and likewise lavenders as part of the garden suffers severely from winter wet lying close to the water level and in a frost pocket, so plants which would usually make it through and are durable, such as lavender can discover the winter season wet, waterlogged, soil intolerable. To be on the safe side I often bring 2/3 in for the winter. In addition, I grow some lavender in a wall producing a better micro environment for them of complimentary draining soil far from the water level.

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