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BobTheGardener


Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Caterpillar war

Posted: 21/08/2014 at 18:42

For next year, try butterfly netting which has smaller holes (7mm max.) and make sure there are no gaps or holes as the butterflies will find them!  They spend hours flying around mine trying to find a way in. 

Also don't plant young brassicas too close to the edge so the leaves will eventually touch the netting when they grow otherwise the butterflies simply lay through a hole.  The net must be held high enough so it doesn't touch the top leaves for the same reason.  Butterfly netting does work - not one caterpillar on mine this year.

turning air into soluble nitrate to feed garden??

Posted: 20/08/2014 at 23:02

The high temperature in lightning is necessary to form the Nitrogen ions - have a look here:

http://www.elmhurst.edu/~chm/onlcourse/chm110/outlines/nitrogencycle.html

 

 

turning air into soluble nitrate to feed garden??

Posted: 20/08/2014 at 22:17

You need actual lightning (ie a large spark) to split Nitrogen molecules (N2) into two separate atoms (N) as a lot of energy is required: N2 is very stable and unreactive until you split it by heating to several thousand degrees.  The single atoms of Nitrogen will then combine with nearby Oxygen molecules to form Nitrate (N03) and Nitrite (NO2) which dissolve in the rain to form weak Nitric acid.

A far more efficient method is used by plants which can fix Nitrogen directly from the air by using enzymes which are almost magical in their ability to do this using far, far, lower levels of energy.  We are talking thousands if not millions of times more efficient.

If you want to make your own Nitrates in the most efficient and ecologically friendly way possible, simply grow plants and stew them in cold water until they are broken down (again using enzymes) by naturally occurring bacteria.  Life has been perfecting these processes for billions of years and has become extremely efficient at it!

Red Hot Pokers

Posted: 20/08/2014 at 19:12

It has been an odd year for many things due to unusual temperature and rainfall patterns.  If we have a late warm spell you may still find they throw up flowers.  If not, a feed with fish, blood and bone next spring should see them right.

Talkback: A good year for tomato crops

Posted: 20/08/2014 at 19:06

Those are the caterpillars of the Tomato moth.  The full name is Bright-line Brown-eye (Lacanobia oleracea.)  Both the moth and the caterpillars are most active at night.  The caterpillars are very good at hiding - check along the stems and any supports, twine etc, especially where any vertical sections are covered by a leaf.  If you go out during the night and have good hearing, you can actually track them down by following the munching sounds!

Slugs

Posted: 20/08/2014 at 18:54

From experience and owning a keeled slug infested garden (they are likely what you have), the most resistant varieties I've tried are Kestrel, Blue Kestrel, Romano, Sarpo Mira and Sarpo Axona none of which get any significant damage.  The latter two are also blight resistant, a nice bonus.  Other less resistant varieties which do well for me are King Edward, Golden Wonder, Desiree.  Any other varieties (and I've tried many!) come out 'holier than the Pope'!

Sweet Peppers

Posted: 19/08/2014 at 19:21

There are some bell peppers which stay green when ripe, too..

What is this strange plant growing on a gorse?!

Posted: 19/08/2014 at 19:16

There's a wonderful time-lapse video on one of David Attenborough's Life of Plants episodes which shows Dodder growing.  The BBC have that clip available here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/collections/p0085nk0#p009c58h

I love the background music - so apt!

I've cleaned out my greenhouse

Posted: 18/08/2014 at 19:27

Well done nut!  Must get my shed done soon - I think there's a barbecue in there which I was given but have never used (and never will) so I could use the space for some of the endless stacks of empty pots I never have space for.  I'd have a go at the cuttings - nothing to lose!  

Talkback: Loch Ness blackberries

Posted: 18/08/2014 at 19:21

My Loch Ness is about 5-6 years old and normally sends up about 4 or 5 new canes each year.  The old (fruited) canes are cut back to the ground after fruiting (I usually do that in the winter.)  The canes are very substantial and need little if any support - they are too strong to be twined around wires, just spread them into a fan and hold in place - each one tied to a single horizontal wire stretched between the fence posts would be sufficient.  Mine is about 8 foot tall and 6 foot wide so just about right for your position.  Kenmuir has a brilliant pdf with everything you need to know:

http://www.kenmuir.co.uk/image/data/pdf/Growing%20Guides/Blackberries.pdf

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Drought

No real rain here for weeks 
Replies: 11    Views: 201
Last Post: 07/06/2015 at 18:41

Little Red Devils (Lily beetles)

They're about now! 
Replies: 1    Views: 230
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 17:03

Christmas has come early

New trees 
Replies: 9    Views: 846
Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 12    Views: 633
Last Post: 27/11/2014 at 21:12

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 586
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 540
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 406
Last Post: 13/07/2014 at 18:04

Bob's guide to picking soft fruit

Only fto be read by your household's main gardener! 
Replies: 3    Views: 362
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 672
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 587
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 21:44

A week of rain = jungle garden!

It's been too wet to really do anything outside.. 
Replies: 16    Views: 1048
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 658
Last Post: 24/04/2014 at 11:30

Check your delphiniums for caterpillars

Look for distorted and damaged leaves near the tips 
Replies: 10    Views: 971
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 397
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39

Oops!

Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 724
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05
1 to 15 of 28 threads