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BobTheGardener


Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Packet seeds

Posted: 16/03/2014 at 09:51

It depends on the seeds, NellyG.  The date on the packet is if you leave them unopened but they begin to age once you have opened them.  Some seeds like tomatoes are generally good for a couple of years after opening but opened parsnip seeds won't keep 'til next year.  What seeds do you have?

A few plant I.D's please

Posted: 15/03/2014 at 15:25

That one foxes a lot of folk, Jack.  If (say) an apple tree was growing weakly on one side, you would prune the weak growth in Winter, not cut back the long branches on the other side.  It doesn't seem to make sense, but that's what you have to do.

It's not quite as cut and dried as that because if you prune in Summer, that will restrict growth.

sowing peas

Posted: 15/03/2014 at 15:21

Hi Vivienne, that's one of good old Geoff Hamilton's tips. 

No drainage holes needed - the compost will be shallow and will dry out quite quickly by itself, so keep an eye on that.  Plant peas 2" apart.  Transplant when they are about 3 inches tall, weather permitting.  I don't bother hardening off - too much chance of an accident when carrying a gutter full of them in and out!  Instead, cover them with newspaper or fleece once they are transplanted, if frost is forecast overnight.

ROSES

Posted: 15/03/2014 at 14:02

Quick everybody run - Dove has her tickling stick out again!

Yep, farm yard manure bought in bags from a GC can be dug-in immediately as it has already been composted for you.  It's only the fresh stuff you need to be careful of.

A few plant I.D's please

Posted: 15/03/2014 at 13:52

As a general rule of thumb Jack, if you want to cut back a flowering shrub, it's best done immediately after flowering.  That's not always the case, so do ask/google if you aren't sure, but it's a good guide.  You'll pick-up lots of tips like that as you go on.  Another one is 'growth follows the knife' which means pruning things (especially in Winter or early Spring) tends to make shrubs and trees grow more vigorously.  

Clay soil

Posted: 15/03/2014 at 13:43

Hi Wendy, some excellent advice above - all I'll add is that if you also top-dress it every autumn with 2-3 inches of compost, it will improve as the years go by (with worms doing most of the hard work for you!)

Edit: Oops, aunty betty already said as much!

Curling leaves on Fuchsia

Posted: 15/03/2014 at 09:59

Agree with Dove - take a look under the leaves and see if there are any aphids.  Greenfly love overwintering on fuchsias kept under glass!  Indeed, when I zoom into the photo I can see some dead aphid husks..

Potatoes

Posted: 15/03/2014 at 09:40

I would also suspect lack of light John, but if it is getting full sun then it's possible your soil has an excess of nitrogen, in which case I suggest buying a soil testing kit to check it.  It's a bit harder to remove nitrogen than to add it, but there are two main ways:  Either grow some crops which use a lot of nitrogen (eg brassicas, sweetcorn, squash) or mix in some uncomposted material, such as sawdust which will take in nitrogen as it decomposes.  As you say your soil is now easy to cultivate, I would go for growing the nitrate-hungry crops for a season.

Houseplant Cyclamen

Posted: 14/03/2014 at 19:50

Hi Matt, I grow lots of Persicum (florist's cyclamen) from seed and once they stop producing flowers, I carry on watering them so that the leaves build up energy in the corms for a couple of months, then reduce watering until they go dormant.  I find that's usually about mid-July to August.  Then stop watering completely and leave them dry until about October when you can re-pot them into fresh compost.  They should then begin to grow again and should flower just before Christmas, continuing to flower until about the beginning of May.  You can vary these times quite a lot so that you get the flowers when you want them, but I like them to start at Christmas.

Whoops

Posted: 14/03/2014 at 19:06

That's one reason why it's recommended to plant them deep, Stacey.  That way there will (hopefully) be buds below the surface which can send up new stems.  Planting deeper than as supplied encourages them to produce a 'root crown', from which they can send up new shoots whenever they need or want to.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 5    Views: 238
Last Post: 25/10/2014 at 22:29

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 405
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 359
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 229
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: 205
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 526
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 356
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: 819
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 452
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: 509
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 264
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39

Oops!

Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 566
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 587
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31

DIY heated propagator

Making one from scratch 
Replies: 48    Views: 4629
Last Post: 30/06/2014 at 19:57

Cost of bird food

bulk vs supermarket 
Replies: 31    Views: 1818
Last Post: 10/02/2014 at 12:33
1 to 15 of 25 threads