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Garden Smallholding Blog

Growing mainly fruit, with some veg, and getting excited about growing chillis

Moneymaker Tomato And Blossom End Rot Update

Posted by: admin

Tagged in: Tomato

Recently I posted an article about the Moneymaker tomato plant we have being afflicted by blossom end rot, see - Moneymaker Tomatoes Have Blossom End Rot.

Since then, we have watered it regularly - three times a day, and the fruit seem to be doing just fine, no recurrence of the problem.

Another Chilli Update

Posted by: admin

Tagged in: Chillis

It has been a while since I posted any pictures, I took some a week or go, but they are largely irrelevant, have a look at these;


Nasu chilli flowering kent uk june 2011



Nasu chilli flowering kent uk june 2011


Scotch bonnet june 2011



Cayenne chilli pepper june 2011



Jalapeno Chilli Peppers June 2011 kent uk

My pineberry plant has a problem. As I mentioned before, the fruit are not forming as quickly as I would like, and on closer inspection, I noticed that the plant - especially the new growth, was covered with green aphids, brown aphids, and whitefly. I had the whole shooting match going on under the leaves. A real party.

I saw red, lost my composure and anyone with an organic bent can breathe a sigh of relief, I started picking the blighters off the leaves with my fingers and squishing them. It was better than squeezing spots, I spent a full ten minutes removing the bugs to the point that there were none left... well none that I could see. It was only at this point, that I realised a pic would be a good idea. Sorry folks, the the pics were an afterthough, hence no bugs. You can see the weedy flowers though, here's hoping that they pick up.

pineberry after removing aphids

Pineberry fruit growing slow due to aphids

Moneymaker Tomatoes Have Blossom End Rot

Posted by: admin

Tagged in: Tomato

The Moneymaker tomato plant we have in the conservatory has blossom end rot. This means that the base of the fruit flattens and becomes concave and turns brown. The fruit stays firm.

I think that this has been caused by letting the compost dry too much while the fruits are swelling. Blossom end rot is most common in container grown plants, and the Moneymaker variety of tomato is know to be susceptible to the condition. This plant ticks both boxes, so not the best combination.

Once a tomato is affected, there is no cure. The best thing to do is remove the affected tomatoes to allow the plant to use its energy on the good fruit, and to water regularly - ideally three times a day. Fortunately, taking into account work commitments, we are able to water three times a day, if you are not, an alternative is to use a foliar feed with calcium nitrate. This should prevent the problem occurring with current and future fruit.

Interestingly, tomatoes are not the only fruit affected by blossom end rot - we had a problem with our courgettes - see Courgettes and blossom end rot., and it is known to affect chilli and aubergines. 

Container grown moneymaker tomatoes with blossom end rot

Pineberry Update

Posted by: admin

The pineberry plant appears to be doing really well since being moved to the greenhouse, it has beefed up and has several fruit and a couple of runners. I am a little disappointed at how slowly the fruit have been forming. There is little information about growing these on the net, so I am going to follow the same method as growing strawberries. I have posted growing instructions for strawberries at and will use tomato feed as recommended.

Previous posts showing the pineberry before its move to the greenhouse are at: Pineberry Progress and how it looked when I first got it at Pineberry / Pineberries

Fruiting pineberry in greenhouse

The most recent posts about these pineberries are;

Pineberry / Pineberries With Aphids and Pineberry Not Fruiting Properly

Elderflower Cordial Time Again

Posted by: admin

Tagged in: Elderflower

Elderflower cordial is a beautiful drink - I am hooked. If you have never tried it before, you are missing out. Some supermarkets sell a ready to drink type, normally with spring water, but it is enough to give you an idea of what it tastes like.

The elder tree overhanging the raspberries and redcurrants is flowering. We will be picking some today to make some elderflower cordial as we have done over the last couple of years. It really is worth giving it a try - see the following links for inspiration; There is a recipe at and pictures at Pics of the last batch of elderflower cordial

Locally, we cannot move for elder. The problem is that there is so much of it around and it grows very quickly. Once it has got going, it is an absolute pig to uproot. That said, it is worth putting up with just for the cordial!

Over the last week, I have only had a few of the redcurrants off the bush. As they have become ripe, the birds have helped themselves. I will attach some before and after photos shortly.

Because I have not cut back the bush at the end of last year and trained the shoots as they appeared amongst the raspberries and redcurrants in this border, everything has grown wild, and it would be nigh on impossible to cover everything with netting. I guess it is a symptom of being short of time - hence my neglect of this site at times also.

The one thing that is remarkable is how early these have ripened - I am experiencing the same with the blackcurrants and raspberries. I am in the south east UK, and these same varieties as last year have all ripened over a month earlier than 2010 in many cases. The yields look greater than last year too comparing the pictures. 

Blackcurrants Ripening Nicely

Posted by: admin

Tagged in: Blackcurrants

The blackcurrants are ripening nicely and should be ready to eat in a few days. They are still slightly firm, but I had a try of one this afternoon and it tasted sharp, but was very close to being ready. I have just had a look back at previous years posts and these are going to be ready almost a month ahead of time.

2011 blackcurrants almost ripe

A Bee Is Setting Up Home In My Cayenne Pepper Pot

Posted by: admin

Tagged in: Bees

Earlier this afternoon, I noticed that a bee was rooting around in the compost that my cayennes are sat in. It kept digging little holes, I thought it was strange but thought nothing more of it until just now.

I was moving some stuff in the greenhouse and the little blighter just flew past my head wielding a large piece of leaf, landed on the compost of the cayenne and disappeared into a hole in the soil.

After a minute, he re-emerged and flew out the greenhouse after a bit of confusion about where the exit was. Within approximately three more minutes, he flew straight in wielding another piece of leaf. I took a couple of snaps with my camera phone, so they are not the best. I have drawn a red square around the bee on each of the pictures.

Bee flying towards my cayenne with a piece of leaf

Bee flying towards my cayenne with a piece of leaf 

It came from the yellow raspberry bush and tasted great - so much better than the shop bought ones! The warm weather has meant that fruit is going to be ready much earlier this year - in fact I have just checked back on last years posts, and these raspberries are becoming ready more than a month earlier than last year.

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