Contact Mark

118 thoughts on “Contact Mark”

  1. Hello, Mark~!

    Writing to you from across the pond — Northern California! On the no-dig garden, do those require watering throughout the year/season? I’m trying to decide whether to do a no-dig garden or a hugelkultur bed as I like the no watering aspect, plus the year over year sustainability.

    Just saw two of your videos and I expect I will be watching plenty more, at least concerning the no-dig method.

    Oh, one other question….my new-to-me home has a completely overgrown yard with bushes and plants. Can I just cut the bushes down to the ground (i.e. not dig the roots out) and start my no-dig garden right over them? That is, will the cardboard method stop the growth?

    Thanks so much for any and all input!

    1. Hi Londa sorry i didnt get back to you I would probably try and remove some of the roots of bushes but not to any great extent,as to which beds i think the advantages if No-Dig still preferable to hugelkultur but let me know which you go for

    2. If you are after no water system use heavy mulch like wood chips on top of raised beds. Or garden of eden style which is the same only on
      the ground. Good homemade compost soil and heavy wood chips is the key to no water. I used it in raised beds and did not water except when using compost tea. Cheers Joshua

  2. Hi mark I don’t know if your on Facebook but I have just started up a page” MyYorkshire Allotment ” I’ve decided to keep an account of my first year as an allotment holder with regular updates of what I’m up to. If you are on FB please have a look any tips and advice would be greatly appreciated also any of your subscribers would be more than welcome to share there input. I am predominantly going for raised beds and deep raised beds. With a DIY poly tunnel my next project.

  3. Hello Mark, I have just seen your excellent propagator video featuring profiteroles and the Vitopod. I loved it and wondered whether you might be available for some presentation work we need to commission. I would be very grateful if you would get in touch. Thanks, Emma.

    1. When you go on the website a form ought to pop up for you to submit your email address, you do have to confirm your subscription. If you have any problem please let me know.

      1. I just subscribed, and I’m loving your blog. Where could I get the pots and base featured in your ‘growing chillies in a chillgrow’ video?

  4. I am having trouble viewing the Feb. newsletter. I don’t remember ever creating a password. Any suggestions? Sorry not very technically inclined. I would rather garden 🙂

    1. You dont have to be technically minded to access the newsletter – I have emailed you with the password. Its a different one for each newsletter and I will send it to you in the email which I send out each month containing the link for the film. I echo your sentiment and I too would rather be out gardening, lets hope the weather takes a turn for the better soon. I hope you enjoy the film


    1. Hello Nabakka
      If you can give me an idea of what your climate and seasons are like and what you would like to grow I should be able to tell you which films would benefit you most. Any specific questions you have please send to me and I will endeavor to answer them.

  5. Hi mark…i hope you can point me in the right direction as i been watching lots of your videos and i find that you give great advise and really helpful tips but i cannot find anywhere about artificial lighting and i am in a desperate situation as i love growing chillies and peppers tomatoes…all sorts of things…i have in the spare bedroom.a 6 foot heated trough and temperature is a constant 28 degrees but here in Cheshire uk the lightning is still short outside a d wondering as money is tight at the moment would those long life bulbs above my plants stop the stems from pointing toward my small window and growing too leggy…..really hope you can save my hours of planting seeds…..thanx

    1. Hi David

      The short answer is the cheapest way is to use day light balanced flourescents about your seedlings. If you want to grow larger crops metal halide grow lights. I have heard good reports from a mixture of blue and red led lights which are normally sold on a board but i have no personal experience of using these. The real experts in using these systems are the hydroponic suppliers where they are mainly used for growing ‘interesting’ plants.

      Any of these lights will stop your seedlings searching out light.

      I am fascinated to know whether you grow your plants to fruition in the bedroom or whether you put them outside?

      Kind regards


  6. Thank you for giving me such a prompt reply regarding the season to grow garlic. Your are indeed a serious garden guru.
    I am an ‘info tech. dinosaur ‘ have not learnt to reply to your email directly but to go through this channel again.

  7. Hi Mark

    I am really sorry but I have forgotten my password. Could you help please.

    Kind regards
    Diana Rowland

  8. I am trying to buy the hand held hoe that you promoted before Christmas. Do you know when it will be released as it is still not on their website. Many thanks from an avid raised bed gardener.

    1. Hello Nikki

      I will phone Jaap Sneeboer and ask him when the release date is likely to be and come back to you.

      Kind regards


  9. Hi mark. I need some advise on a strawberry patch i have constructed. Its 4ft long 3 ft wide and around 1\ and a 1\2 ft deep with floor so its like a huge planter. This will basically be my strawberry patch, I need to know what would be best to fill it with for the best results for my crops ? I’m looking toward John inns 3 but maybe you can suggest something els or even a magnitude of things. Any help would be appreciated greatly. Many thanks_.


    1. Hi Gary

      John Innes No 3 will work but it is quite an expensive way to fill such a large area. John Innes compost is a loam based compost so you could use a mixture of topsoil, well rotted garden compost and leafmould if you have it. You could also add some very well rotted farm yard manure to this mix.

      My own strawberry bed consists of normal garden soil with well rotted manure and fish blood and bone worked into it which I think is a cheaper alternative.

      Kind regards


    1. Hi Cathy

      In my experience giving strawberries a 6 or 8 inch pot with a soil based compost like John Innes No 3 has given me the best results. To keep it really simple I feed mine every two weeks with a weak tomato fertiliser or comfrey feed if you make your own. Make sure that they dont dry out and even though they are in pots I would put a net over them if your doors or windows are open. After they have finished cropping remove all old leaves and continue to feed until early autumn. Reduce watering over the winter and the next year, as they are in a greenhouse you may get fruit up to a month earlier than outside.

      Kind regards

  10. hi mark just making a lasagne bed for my courgettes on my allotment and just about to gather some nettles. does it matter if they are in flower ?
    best regards Jackie

  11. Hi mark
    I’m gathering nettles for my lasagne bed and want to know if you need to be wary of flowering nettles or will I end up with some fantastically fast growing nettles instead of courgettes ?
    Best regards jackie osborne
    PS sorry if this is a duplicate post.

  12. Hi. I’ve just finished spraying my potatoes with bordeaux mixture – they look quite pretty with blue tipped leaves!!
    The bottle says to spray the leaves – is this both sides or just the top side? And do I need to spray the stem aswell or just spray everything?
    Am I right that I have to spray again in 3 weeks?

  13. hi mark, i grew tomatoes this year for the first time,,
    i have hundreds of green tomatoes, none of them are ripe,
    i think i overfed them initially, as i got lots of leaf and stalk, and no fruit,
    and ended up pruning the hell out of them, as they got too high and bushy,
    i have switched from chempak tomato feed to shropshire seaweed ,
    they seem to have changed colour ” got a little darker ”
    however still are not ripe even though we have had 6 weeks of sunshine
    have you got any ideas whats wrong, some are in greenhouse, some are against a trellis on the front of a south facing , sunny bungalow .. thanks karl .

  14. Hello Mark, I have been an allotment holder for the last six years, having never grown anything other than a few tomatoes prior to that. I came to this game late, being the wrong side of fifty years old now, but I love the fact that, with a bit of effort, I can give myself and my family and friends fresh, unadulterated veggies.

    I have only today discovered your website and I have to say it is absolutely tailor-made for people like myself. As soon as I saw your first video, I felt that I had found someone who understood the level of instruction needed for the novice vegetable gardener. Obviously over the last few years I have learned a lot, mostly from other more experienced plot holders, but I still managed to glean a heck of a lot of useful information from your videos during what turned out to be a two hour marathon (once I sat down I was unable to stop, rather like a good book!)

    One thing I searched for but couldn’t find was spaghetti marrow (or spaghetti squash). Have you ever grown this particular squash? If not, I would definitely recommend it. I have done particularly well with this in 2014 though I’ve not cut my first one because they’re not fully ripe just yet but I have about 14 potential squashes from six plants which is a good score in my book.

    The good thing is that my daughter loves them and fortunately they keep for quite a while if you cut the stem long, so we will be enjoying them throughout the Winter with a bit of luck.

    Once again may I express my appreciation for your website, it really is an excellent resource.

  15. Hello Mark, I watched your youtube video on caring for the Stephanotis plant and it was very helpful, thank you. I’m still wondering though, how do you know when to change the wire ring that it wraps around?
    Thanks so much,

  16. Just found you on utube. Fantastic information about hot peppers and how to preserve. Thanks for posting it. Now I know what I can do with my crop!

  17. hi mark love the vids .can you help on when to grow new potatoes as my mother is keen to start .your tips would be most greatfull.
    yours m.e grammer

  18. Hello Mark,
    I just watched your video about container-grown figs. Is it alright to keep a fig tree permanently in, say, an 18-inch container rather than repot it into ever larger ones every couple of years? Thank you.

  19. Hi Mark!

    Recently found your YouTube page – great stuff! I have a few questions about the Vitopod propagator. Do you still use it? How long have you had it? Have you noticed any changes in it over the time you’ve had it? Does it still work as well as the day you purchased it?

    Do you have other suggestions for propagators that rival the Vitopod’s quality and execution or do you still recommend it as the best on the market?

    Thank you so much for your insight and time!


  20. hi mark,

    this year i’m growing gherkins, the f1 diamant hybrid variety. i am wondering if you have any advice on growing them and when to feed etc.

    Thanks in advance.


  21. Mark

    I am growing peas to eat the young leaves, and would like your thoughts on how to go forward. I have planted the peas in a heated propagator, and they quickly started to grow. They are now some 6 or 8 inches tall, and still in the propogator (about 1 month later) and are receiving no more heat.

    Should I crop them now, or transplant them outside and crop later? I suspect that if I leave them much longer they will loose their sweetness.

    I already subscribe to your newsletter

    1. Hi John

      If you are growing for pea shoots they really do not need to be any higher than they are now so I recommend that you eat them! My own way of growing peas for shoots is to sow them very thickly in a seed tray and once germinated allow to grow 4 to 6 inches tall and then cut off using scissors leaving about an inch with some leaves to grow again. I grow mine in a cold greenhouse as they dont need the heat of a propagator to grow. Hope this helps.


  22. Hi Mark
    I have been growing tomato’s for many years mainly inside for the first time I had a major problem last year I ventured into the black toms and found that they at three trusses they all went down with blight.This year I am using seed from the Real Seed Company I have six different sorts mostly the cherry toms and two outside. I will be interested on how your black toms grow. David

  23. I just bought a property from a very keen gardener who has spent many years cultivating a lovely 1 ft high box hedge around each vegetable plot. It does look nice but I question if I should keep it? I feel it takes up too much space, it’s high maintenance and is a wonderful home for slugs! As I’m new to gardening I don’t want to simply get rid of it only to regretting in the future. My question is, would you recommend keeping it? Is this simply an aesthetic thing or is it functional?

    1. Hi Steve

      In many ways box hedging is of aesthetic value only and has its origins in Elizabethan Knot Gardens when a lot of herb beds had box hedging. There is an argument that if your box hedge is taller than 18 inches and growing carrots inside of it it may have some affect in deterring carrot root fly as they do not fly higher than this. I am not convinced that this works. Also at the moment in the UK we are undergoing a serious attack of box blight which is spreading across the country so I feel this may be more of a problem for you than the time taken for caring for the box.

      Kind regards


  24. Hello Mark, thank you for sone really excellent videos. I have been gardening the no dig way for a few years now, but mostly pick up something new.
    For your book reviews I was wondering whether you know of and nay like to review the New Organic Grower by Eliot Coleman. I am experimenting with soil blocks for the first time, something I discovered in his book. Peas seem to love them, brassicas will need more nutrients added, I think.
    I am taking an RHS course at the moment. I am quite disappointed to learn that they still treat soil mainly as a substrate, rather than an ecosystem of living things. As a lot of us on the course wanted to boost our skills and confidence, I was wondering if it would be worth your while to advertise your website and courses in traditional media (e.g. the rhs magazine) to draw people’s attention to your excellent material.
    Meanwhile I’ll keep recommending you.
    One last thing: On your About Mark section I’d really like to learn about how you came to garden, and your experience and training.

    With best wishes,

    1. Hi Ute

      I am fascinated to hear you are experimenting with soil blocks as I haven’t used these since the mid seventies when the compost we used to make them with was a peat based compost that had added chemicals to hold the block together, they were fantastic for propagating large numbers of plants. I suppose I moved on to root trainers and individual modules and have tended to stick with these ever since.

      I do not find it surprising on your RHS course that they still think of soil they way they do as they have always been conservative in their outlook. Having said that I know that recently they have been working with James Wong on some innovative growing techniques for his latest book.

      Thank you for the recommendation, I am an avid reader of gardening books both old and new and will look this one up! and also your suggestion about the ‘about Mark’ page as I am working on an update at the moment.

      Kind regards


    1. Hi Jonathan

      You dont say specifically what you are growing but I assume we are talking about potatoes, carrots or another root crop. There is a nematode that can be applied onto your garden that will kill the Wire Worm. Another way is to try to encourage more bird life as Wire Worms are actually the lava of Click Beetles and birds love to eat them. Raking your soil over in the autumn exposes them to predators.

      Kind regards


  25. Hi Mark
    I am quite new to vegetable growing but thought l would give Cucamelons a go. What is the smallest size of pot you would recommend growing them in?
    Many thanks

    1. Hi Fiona

      An 8 inch pot is a good size but with a pot this small I would recommend a John Innes compost if you can get one. You will have to water and feed more often with a smaller pot. In my experiencde they can be squeezed in between other plants in the greenhouse and just allowed to ramble.

      Kind regards


  26. im growing san marzano’s at the moment how different are they to grow compared to the gardeners delight variety?



    1. Hi Ollie

      They are very similar to grow as they are both indeterminate cordon types. The one thing I would advised is to support the stems of your San Marzano’s well as they are much heavier tomato. Also, in my experience they can suffer from blossom end rot more than Gardener’s Delight types so watering and feeding are slightly more important.

      Kind regards


  27. Hi Mark.
    Its great to have you back. Please can you tell me if it would be ok to bury my blueberries in there tericotta pots, we go away quite a bit and am trying to stop them drying out. I am trying to work this problem out on my allotment .I do mulch a lot where possible. I am also thinking of investing in a Poly tunnel, mid price range do you have a make you could recommend?
    Thank you .
    Regards Andrea

  28. Hi Mark,
    I think your tips&clips and newsletter are top value. I really get a lot of useful, interesting info from them.
    In your clips on planting beans you recommend putting wool down as a base layer & that you use Angora wool from your goats. I have 9 Leonberger dogs which, when groomed, produce a lot of wool-like coat. Could I use this coat as base layer? (Btw, if you want to see what our Leonbergers look like go to:
    Thanks in advance,

    1. Hi David

      I found your question really interesting so I have written a post on it!

      Kind regards


  29. Thank you for your helpful and informative video on growing figs in pots! I was ready to (reluctantly) plant mine in the ground, thinking it would be best for them. Now, I have a new and much better option! Also, please sign me up for your newsletter. I am very much interested in learning more!

  30. Hello Mark, Thank you for another excellent Newsletter (May)- the best to date, I believe. I’ve been growing vegetables for half a century; I’m a well-read gardener, and I like to think a thoughtful one. Nevertheless, I find your videos inspiring and informative. You’re an extra mile man, and I wish you every success. Great stuff.

  31. Hello Mark,

    I live on 1.5 acres on the east coast of Queensland in Australia. The weather forecaster is telling us major climate influences for the season ahead are warmer than normal sea surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean and in waters surrounding much of the Australian coastline. In the tropical Pacific, the Bureau’s climate model suggests El Niño is likely to develop over the coming one to two months.

    El Nino means dry to drought conditions for the coming summer season. (We are presently in autumn heading into winter). This will be on top of existing drought conditions where much of Queensland and northern New South Wales have seen little or no rain for several years.

    I have two questions:

    1. How to conserve soil moisture during hot drought conditions? I only have limited water supply from tanks for the garden.

    I noted an earlier suggestion, “If you are after no water system use heavy mulch like wood chips on top of raised beds. Good homemade compost soil and heavy wood chips is the key to no water”

    I would be interested in your thoughts! All my garden beds are raised beds.

    2. I use water from the biocycle system, a waste water treatment system, to water part of the garden. Part of the treatment consists of the use of chlorine. How does chlorine affect the soils and plant growth?



  32. Mark,

    Here, in Southern Ontario, dog’s hair is widely used to ward off wild deer from our gardens as is human hair. I feel these hairs may also have a benefit in warding off other nuisances ( next doors cat maybe ? – lol).


  33. Hi Mark,
    I enjoy your videos, I have grown tomato and sweet pepper plants from seed. Im know ready to put them into large pots for the rest of the season. What compost/soil would you recommend ? Which brand is the best ?? Ive looked around and not been impressed with composts I’ve seen.

  34. Hi Mark,
    I did not see Adrian’s mail above when I first started to write this but Adrian’s mail and this one are pretty much interlinked.

    I have just watched a video on You Tube where the presenter suggests the use of not so good compost for growing Chilli plants.
    I always thought that you need to use the best compost you can get so I spend a fortune on this. For example, yesterday I bought two a 15 litre bags for 8€ each but I can get a general ‘low cost’, not so good 20 litre bag for just 2€.
    Quite a big cost difference. What do you suggest?

    Mit freundlich Grußen,

  35. looked on u tube about looking after orchid have couple of questions and pictures
    Pot looks pot bound green rooted in pot but plant flower has started to turn pink and smells of emioner

  36. My raspberries flower but then they do not fruit? ?? Second year in a row. My wife wants to dig them up. Is it ph . They get plenty water. And grow like crazy, just don’t fruit after flowering

  37. Hi Mark

    I purchased some Autumn Bliss bare root raspberry canes on-line back in October last year. I planted them immediately after soaking them in water for a few hours and preparing the ground. However to date I have not seen any signs of growth. In your experience when do you expect I should see some signs of growth? Do you think there is a problem with the canes as the wood looks healthy? I planted another Autumn Bliss from a pot and its growing fine.


  38. Hi, I am growing egg plant on 10 gallon container. Egg plant is thriving well. 4 flowers appeared and did hand pollination but all the flowers faded. What should I do?


    1. The runners can be planted directly into the plot as what you are doing is replacing older less productive plants with younger more vigorous plants.

  40. Hi Mark I would like to try and grow butter bean , could you please let me know what seeds to use as I cant seam to find any in any of my seed catalogues. Many thanks and kind regards Ian

  41. Hello Mark,

    I have planted three types of garlic (Albigensian, cristo and chesnok) on the 5th October. The albigensians sprouted (100% of the cloves) within 9 days and are still going strong, but there is absolutely no sign of the other two varieties sprouting at all. I wonder if I’ve planted them too early, or is this normal?

    Best regards,

    1. Hi Chin
      I wouldnt be to concerned just yet some garlic can take a while to show above ground but they will still be producing roots and thats the most important at this time

  42. Hi Mark,
    I seen you tube video on “Chillies – Three Simple Ways of Preserving” and made the hot chili oil by putting the seed and shoulder scrapings into a jar and covering with olive oil. I am a little worried about Botulism as there’s a lot of comments on the web, but in general more about spoilage. I made one jar a month ago. The odd thing was little air like bubbles that were floating up from the bottom where the chili material was. Then the olive oil looked more cloudy than fresh oil, the jar had a build up of pressure when the cap came off, and while smelling a little fruity it also just smelled a little bad. I tossed that bottle and tried again. This time I only left the large pieces of chili in for about a week thinking maybe I had a floater in the first jar but now I am having similar results with my new jars. If shaken, small bubbles from bottom, starting to cloud, little gas build up, and I just don’t know about the smell. It was a fun project and the idea of making the chili oil was good but I don’t want anybody to get sick so with any doubt I’ll toss something first. Furthermore, when you make chili oil this way with fresh chillies, do you store the jars in a cool dark place, or keep them in the kitchen fridge? I just had them out on the table where I was drying the skins for hopefully chili flakes.


  43. hi,
    November Newsletter is very informative, thanks 🙂
    You mentioned how to compost pine needles – to put them in black plastic bag for a couple of years – I wonder is it best to close the bag or is better to make holes for air to circulate?
    be well and worm

  44. Hello Mark, My question is about my moth phalaenopsis plant. I have had this since November 24th 2015. It has been blooming since I received it , it blooms out two sides. a very large plant. : I have small knots when I water her.
    (just a few) though I am concerned. Also, the petals are starting to thin and fall back.
    I have not yet used any fertilizer on her , as I thought that is was not needed until the petals were off , and needed to rebloom. Am I confused Mark? I don’t want to loose this beauty. Thank you for your Help.
    Linda Falco

  45. I am so pleased to have discovered your great website. Your video on asparagus peas has saved me a lot of trouble and space in my raised beds as I won’t bother growing it now!

  46. Hi Mark, what an amazing resource you have created. I have enjoyed watching your videos. I started a no dig veg garden this year but results are poor. I have used 6″ deep well rotted stable manure. All crops are showing poor results except Flower Sprouts. I have researched the possibility of Herbicide being present but have discounted that. I now realise that the manure contains wood chip despite having asked the question when I ordered it. Therefore it is most likely that there is a Nitrogen defficiency. I have spread 8 tons so it is a lot of work to remove it. I am wondering if I were to add Nitrogen (i.e.blood meal) could I get by without removing it. I guess there is also a possibilty that the wood chip could contain something harmful to plants (i.e. resins) Have you experience of this problem?

  47. Hi Mark

    Love your easy to follow guides on YouTube. A plea however. Could you do a video on growing mint from seed and how to thin it out once running riot. I planted some in a container years ago and would like to have another go.


  48. Mark,

    I would very much like to subscribe to your monthly newsletter. I have begun propagating figs and have had some success with Black Mission and Brown Turkey.

    Thank you
    Tad Einloth

  49. Mark wanted to try growing a few fig trees in th Philippines which is USDA hardiness 11-12 with average relative humidity at 80%. I would do these with cuttings and in pots, at least initially. Which varieties would you recommend under those conditions ? I am after the figs and straight off the tree. I think other people, if planting in the ground were recommending surface soil being very well tilled about a 5ft circumference to help root formation. I will keep your thoughts in mind if I ever do get to that point however.

  50. Hi Mark

    Which courses farm the main site are included with the monthly gardening club subscription please i.e. Which courses are the mini-courses described as included from May 2016 onward please.

    Thanks very much

  51. Hi Mark can you sort out a problem for me please every time i try to go to your monthly news letters i cannot get on due to a password problem, when i subscribed to your site i cannot remember putting a password but i have tried all the ones i use and get no where
    cheers mike.

  52. Hi Mark
    Really enjoyed your videos on preserving chillis. Have followed the instructions and made a small jar of chilli oil a week or so ago. I can now see what appears to be a few bubbles accumulating on the surface of the oil….does this mean it’s fermenting? And will it keep? Be glad for any advice. Thanks for your gardening updates too.

    1. Hi Nicola if its bubbling there is a reaction and yes its fermenting did you get the oil to tempreture before adding chillies

      1. Thanks a lot Mark for reply. I thought I’d got it to the temperature – but only used the wooden spoon method (no thermometer). Is it best to strain, refrigerate and use soon? Or would you advise me not to use it? What a shame!

  53. Hi Mark.
    Love the vids you up load.
    I’m thinking of joining your gardening club, I notice you said you could try it for a quid on your September newsletter…..I couldn’t find the link.
    Any ideas

    1. Hi Darren

      I will email you separately with the link in a few hours time – meant to put it in the email that went out – apologies!


  54. Hi Mark… I would like to sign up for your newsletter. I am especially interested in growing figs in pots. A squirrel just got into my potted fig today and ate the rest of my figs. I would like to try growing mine in my enclosed porch next summer. Would that work? It has glass windows but not a glass roof. Would figs develop in a room like this? I store the plant in the garage in winter. It never freezes in there but stays cool. Don’t forget to sign me up for your newsletter. THanks! Nancy Nowak of Holland Michigan. I loved your video. I just saw one about growing figs.

  55. Hi Mark, After watching your interview with John Harris regarding his new book, Moon Gardening, I immediately ordered it from Amazon. The only problem I have now is I can’t put the book down to get out in to the garden. Delighted with the content and it will also prove invaluable as a reference guide. Looking forward to successful growing, thank you for the interview with John.

  56. Good day Mark,

    Enjoyed your video. Specifically, I’m interested in growing strawberries. I have an isolated, netted area for growing just enough for me (approximately 4 ft by 8 ft). I want to add top soil. How many inches of top soil should I apply before planting the strawberry plants? And I missed it in the video, what is the best tasting strawberries to plant?

    David from Valparaiso Florida

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Teaching you how to grow your own vegetables and fruit