Here follows a list of questions we have been asked and their answers.
You are welcome to email us with your questions on any of our products at firstname.lastname@example.org We will answer by email and put your Q & A below.
Q. I bought a 6 pack of your cauliflower purple F1 ‘Graffiti’ and 5 of the plants have gone blind and only one has produced a head?
A. All seeds from cauliflowers, cabbages and really the full brassica range sometimes throw out a blind plant once they have started to grow. On average there is usually 1 blind plant in every 1000 grown. You can tell them apart from the foliage, it has very thick leaves and rubbery to touch and a slightly darker colour. From the pictures you have sent the foliage doesn't look as if this is the case. It seems to me that some sort of bug has eaten the growing tip or it has been damaged in transplantation but that is very unusual for 5 to be damaged this way.
Q. Why are my Courgettes only producing male flowers?
A. The plants have been put under stress at some point. We had un-natural hot temperatures for the UK in June 2017 where it reached up to 35°C and this sudden change in temp is what has caused the stress to the plant. Plants can adjust to the natural and gradual change in temperatures throughout the season but if they change by 15°C within a short space of time it will knock them for six. If you leave your courgettes to carry on growing they will pull through and still produce a crop.
Q. Why do my fruit rot off before harvestable?
A. They are being kept too dry or the weather is too cold.
Q. What is the best time to pick courgettes, should I wait for the flower to drop off?
A. About 12 – 16cm. It doesn’t matter about the flowers but if they are still fresh you can dip them in batter and deep fry them, you can also use the male flowers the same way.
Q. Are the French Beans a Dwarf plant?
A. ‘Safari’, ‘Atlanta’ and 'Green Bean' are yes.
Q. The plant has produced flowers but no Beans?
A. Inside the flower you will probably find a small Beetle, this will have eaten the Bean as it starts to grow – therefore no Beans! Dry weather can also be a problem as the flowers will drop off and again you will get no beans, also in extreme heat.
Q. A few weeks after planting my Peppers, the leaves started to turn yellow?
A. The roots have been too cold, probably as a result of being planted too early for the conditions available (not enough heat). Growing early in a grow bag is better than in the soil.
Q. I have black and brown patches on the fruit?
A. Peppers can also have blossom end rot just like tomatoes, more uniform watering is needed, but is difficult in extreme heat.
Q. Why has my Minipop sweetcorn gone hard and is inedible.
A. As you e-mailed me in October I am assuming you have just harvested, if so, it is really too late, harvest the sweetcorn when the feathery strands have come out and turned pink, usually about one week after the strands have appeared, this can be as early as the end of July.
Q. Why has my sweetcorn not produced proper cobs and tastes starchy?
A. Looking at the picture I believe that you have grown the ‘Mini Pop’ variety and not the large cob variety. This variety has been specially bred for baby corn and is not meant to be grown on and pollinated, which is what has happen here.
Q. Why has my Tomato grown 8 feet tall without any fruit?
A. Because the plants have been fed before any fruit had set, making the plant abort it’s flowers. You must wait until the fruit has set and are swelling before feeding.
Q. Why has my Tomato plant reached 3 feet tall and the leaves have gone twisted and a silvery colour and there is no more fruit setting.
A. The silver colour is called ‘Silvering’, the problem is very prevalent in old varieties e.g. ‘Moneymaker’, ‘Alicante’, ‘Shirley’, ‘Gardeners Delight’, etc. To overcome these problems you need to buy a modern F1 variety.
Q. Why has the top leaves of my tomato plant gone mottled and has stopped growing?
A. You have T.M.V. (Tobacco Mosaic Virus) once again it mainly happens in older varieties, use a modern F1 like Ferrari or Choice in you want a vine ripen or long lasting fruit.
Q. The leaves at the top of my tomato plant have curled under into a tight ball.
A. This is usually caused by over feeding.
Q. My tomato plants have are going yellow and are wilting, I am giving them plenty of water.
A. It sounds like over watering, this will make the root ends go brown and not pick up water, and can appear as if they are under watered.
Q. The flowers on my Tomato plants keep dropping off, I think it could be too hot so I have put some shading on the greenhouse but it is still happening.
A. Yes it is too hot (July 2006) the shading will not help, the danger is having too little light relative to the intense heat, and stretching the plants, removing some pains of glass should improve things, also providing there is pollen in the flowers, touching the truss with the back of an electric tooth brush can help, also swilling down the plants with water to shake the plants can help.
Q. Why does my Tomato fruit go black at the bottom?
A. This is called ‘Blossom end rot’ and is caused by un-even watering. Modern F1 varieties are less susceptible.
Q. The fruit on my Tomato plant looks perfectly healthy but! the Tomatoes are strange shapes and have pieces (some like small Tomatoes) growing out of them?
A. Poor weather conditions can and do cause poor setting of the fruit, especially with older varieties. The solution other than better weather is to change to a more up to date modern variety, which has been bred to overcome this effect.
Winter cabbages, cauliflowers and purple sprouting.
Q. I tried growing your winter cauliflower ‘Jerome’ but when I went to harvest them in the spring they just had foliage and no heads?
A. Planting your over winter varieties need to be done as early as possible in the autumn/end of summer. This is because the plants need to reach a certain size to before the cold period arrives so that they can go through what is called vernalization which means the plants need exposure to the cold to promote flowering. The cold period started a lot earlier than normal last autumn so that is why you caulis have not produced heads, if you left them to over winter next year they should theoretically produce then, but I can’t imagine you would want to keep them that long.
Q. When will Gardeners Kitchen Vegetables be available.
A. We start supplying Garden Centres mid March and the full range is available by early April, except Purple Sprouting, Sweetcorn, etc. as it is too early. We can only offer the vegetables to Garden Centres, they will start stocking when they feel enough people will buy them, so get on the phone, tell them what you would like to buy, and they should get them in for you.
Q. I was so impressed by some of your varieties that I tried to buy the seed but I can’t find them in any of the seed catalogues.
A. Many of the varieties we grow are top commercial varieties and not available to the hobby gardener. This was the main reason for starting to grow for you, because we were horrified at the poor varieties that were on offer, but the commercial seed companies don’t seem to want to supply your sector of the market.
You are welcome to email us with your questions on any of our products at email@example.com I will e-mail you back and your question and answer will appear in this section at a later date.