Welcome to the fruit & veg forum

From novices to veg-show veterans, this is the forum for anybody who loves to grow edible crops.  Discuss the dos and don’ts of tomato growing, the pros and cons of potato cultivation and wade into the debate on chemical vs. organic gardening.

Daniel Haynes

Editor, gardenersworld.com



  • happymarionhappymarion Posts: 4,591

    As one of Jordan's Cereals "Wildlife Heroes" I. of course favour organic gardening, which may seem strange for an erstwhile research chemist but I do believe we have to live in harmony with the natural world, which we are a small part of with a very large influence, if we are to survive as a species.  We gardeners look after a great deal of land in this country and, if we all put 10% of it aside for wildlife in our gardens the effect would be considerable.  I have been growing crops organically in my garden for 47 years and do not get the pest troubles other gardenrs have who spray chemoicals about because the garden is in equilibrium.  Frogs, hegdehogs and birds keep down the slugs and snails; ladybirds eat the aphids; healty plants in healthy soil shrug off blackspot and other fungal diseases.  There, Daniel, I have waded in!

  • You certainly have, happymarion! Is there a pest or problem that you find can't be kept in check by 'organic' means?

  • happymarionhappymarion Posts: 4,591

    I am very careful to keep nasties like vine weevil out of my garden by washing all the roots of plants I get from the nurseries in pots before I repot or plant them out.  I am a great believer in good husbandry as a guard against nasties and this includes my choice of seeds and tubers.  Sometimes an hour on research can avoid a lot of trouble with growing plants not suited to my soil.  My worst problem is bindweed but I keep weakening it by pulling it up when young.  Of course what some gardeners would call a pest or problem I embrace as "interesting"!  That's the beauty of having a garden = it can be yours and to your taste.

  • Wise words. Suiting plants to soil type is absolutely key, and a little research can save a lot of bother later, as you say. And at least bindweed has pretty flowers...

  • happymarionhappymarion Posts: 4,591

    Oh, and I love lilies but , since the lily beetle reached Bristol ,I now grow them in the conservatory  where they have not been able to suss them out.

  • The lily beetle must be the filthiest insect alive. From our own guide to dealing with it: "Possibly to deter predators or disguise themselves, the larvae cover themselves in their own wet, black excrement". Disgraceful.

  • I am having trouble with my raspberries.  Four years ago I planted summer rasp Glen Ample and Autumn Joan J.  The Glen Ample is very, very bitter.  Not just sharp, it is bitter.  It has been like this from the very first time it fruited.  I have grown it before in my old garden and it was really sweet.  It is in Neutral soil and gets the sun from about midday onwards.  I have improved the soil with well rotted horse manure and leaf mould.  Joan J is planted about 2ft away and is lovely and sweet and it doesn't get as much sun as Glen Ample.  Any ideas as to why this is, as it is very frustrating when I can't nibble on them while picking.

  • I could really do with some advice about growing brassicas, particularly sprouts. This is the third year I've tried and failed again. The plants are only growing to about 6-8 inches high and although they are producing sprouts, they are very small and then burst open before they get any bigger than a marble. I did add quite a lot of multi purpose fertiliser this year which has made no difference. I'm getting very frustrated especially when I see the wonderful sprouts in gardens I pass and allotments. My brocoli was also a complete disaster and my cabbages are very poor.

  • Kestral,

    I wonder whether the raspberry you grew as Glen Ample was wrongly labelled. This is not uncommon. It is easy to make mistakes when looking after a lot of plants. If you don't like the fruit I would recommend planting something else. Have a look at these profiles for other summer fruiting varieties:



    Good luck!


    I wonder whether you have club root in your soil. This will cause stunted growth like you describe. If you dig up the plants you will see that the roots are swollen and distorted. There are no chemicals available to gardeners to treat club root, but adding lime to the soil helps, if you cannot move your brassicas to a different area.


    gardenersworld.com team

  • hi just hello to everyone out there

  • RogRog Posts: 1

    Try rearing plants in pots (I use a mix of peat free compost and John Innes 2 or 3) and pot on until you have strong plants maybe 8-10 inches high.  I find this method quite useful and they are not fussy when they go in the ground providing they are still good strong plants.  Roger

  • hello all i have an alottment and grow a fair bit on it during the summer  ,winter it tends to flood a bit so only have parsnips and leeks on a raised part  

  • Hello, we planted a pear tree this spring after having it in a pot for 12 months. The tree looks healthy and is growing but we were surprised when it flowered in September and amazed when pears started growing in December! The wind has blown most of them off although they did not reach maturity. Will our tree flower and fruit next summer 2012 or is that it do you think? Why did it flower and fruit when it did this year? Thank you, Bally.

  • RegReg Posts: 1

    hi all im new to veg gardening having problems with couch grass any tips

  • I am new to veg gardening, in fact this coming year will be my first attempt. I have plans to create two 4 ft wide by 8 ft long raised beds, would welcome any advise and tips on what to grow as a first time veg gardener. Fancy growing tomatos, onions, beans and also some herbs. love to hear from you.

  • happymarionhappymarion Posts: 4,591

    Brian, early potatoes are delicious and twice so straight out of the ground.  Of course you can grow tomatoes, onions, beans and herbs.  Why not do as the american indians taught our migrants and grow runner beans up the stalks of corn with squashes at their feet?  Growing veg. is great fun and makes for good, healthy eating. I gave my xmas visitors strawberry trifle using some of my glut of strawberries from last year.  Think of permanent plants like strawberriea, fruit bushes like blackcurrents and rhubarb too as well as sage, thyme, rosemary.  Your raised beds can look beatiful all year long.  And intercrop with salad leaves to go with your tomatoes!

  • Hi everyone, I'm new to forum and will be trying to plant some veg. I planted some winter potatoes last year which should of been ready on Christmas day but were ready before but tasted wonderful. Any tips will be a great help. Thank you Sharon
  • Hi everyone, just joined today and checking out the forums image my partner bought me a plastic walk in greenhouse as an early b'day prezzie a few days ago (although it was blown over in the 80mph winds last night, luckily I hadn't planted any seeds up yet). Anyways I was wanting to try and grow some veg this year as i've only stuck to seeds and bulbs for the last 4-5 years. I grew some tomatoes last year which tasted amazing but want to expand.

    What would be the best veg to start with as a "beginner"? image

    Thanks everyone,


  • I have had an allotment since I took early retirement, about 3 years now. (Yes, aren't I a lucky boy!) I cannot grow sprouts - not club root but pathetic minisprouts! I also cannot grow carrots or parsnips. Carrots because of carrot root fly, parsnips because they just don't  germinate.

    However I have huge crops of currants, strawberries, potatoes, beans and tomatoes (Tigrella was a superb succes this year) and have the space and time to have another go at my failures.

  • I have some spare ground beside a garage wall facing North. Divided up into 5 raised beds. What would be suitable veg to grow. It is a shady spot and spuds grew ok there last year.image

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