Latest posts by BobTheGardener


Posted: 07/02/2016 at 20:24

The easiest would be to use an organic fertiliser like fish, blood and bone.  Apply at the rate specified on the packet and mix it in to the surface using a hand fork.  This will work fine if the planters contain soil, or a soil-based compost, such as a John Innes number 3.  However, if the planters contain only multi-purpose compost, you would be better advised to consider replacing it with a soil-based compost which would last for many years if treated as above.

Growing from seed for beginners...

Posted: 07/02/2016 at 18:09

One big advantage of growing (especially hardy perennials) from seed is that you can find out what will flourish in the conditions of you own particular garden.  It can be expensive to buy nursery-grown plants and shrubs only to find they struggle or die on you.  At least two thirds of all the perennials in my garden were grown from seed.  I had a lot of failures along the way but those which survive are healthy and perfectly established.

As others mention, growing from seed is exciting and the sense of achievement of watching tiny things you can hardly see turn into beautiful (and sometimes huge) plants, shrubs and trees is very rewarding.  

Squirrel Sabotage of my Wildflower meadow

Posted: 07/02/2016 at 15:47

Hostafan, strictly speaking it is illegal to release vermin (assuming grey squirrels) back into the wild after they have been trapped.  Kind of limits the choice of what to do with them! 

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 07/02/2016 at 14:32

After raining ALL day yesterday, it was nice and sunny this morning so potted-up a dozen new bare-root shrubs which arrived in the week - square pots in pic below:

Also cut the autumn raspberries (Polka) back to thr ground and did a bit more weeding.  Going out again after a cuppa to do more weeding - the ivy-leaved speedwell seedlings are popping-up everywhere as usual and are growing fast!

Lily Beetle !!!

Posted: 07/02/2016 at 13:27

Not spotted one yet Dove but noticed my madonna lilies (which grow leaves throughout winter) have some suspiciously lily-beetle shaped holes in the leaves.  The year before last I found them overwintering within the leaves of my celeriac! 

Time for an inspection methinks..

Greenhouse Tomatoes in pots

Posted: 07/02/2016 at 11:48

As big as possible really, to reduce the amount of watering needed.  25cm diameter, 30cm tall pots are about the smallest I use.  For the last 10 years all I have been using is comfrey 'tea' to feed them with excellent results.  Feeding should only start once there are flowers on the first truss as feeding before then will result in too much leafy growth.  For that reason, it is a mistake to mix fertiliser in with the potting medium before planting, so just use a good quality multi-purpose compost in the pots and commence feeding once they start flowering.  A good tip is also to avoid getting the leaves wet when watering or feeding as doing this will reduce the chances of fungal leaf diseases taking hold, such as blight or the many types of leaf spot.

what are these ?

Posted: 06/02/2016 at 20:52

I agree Dave, especially as there are now cultivated varieties - over 50 I believe.  I have a small patch of the wild form and because I remember where it is and don't dig close to the the area, it hasn't spread and become a nuisance.

what is this vegetable? ID please

Posted: 06/02/2016 at 20:43

Cut off and eat those delicious shoots before they go to flower.  It will keep producing new shoots further down for quite some time.

Fibre pot or plastic pots?

Posted: 06/02/2016 at 19:45

I used to use fibre pots but don't bother anymore as I found the small 7 or 9cm square black plastic ones give the best results.  When I did use fibre pots I found they needed to be inside plastic pots anyway to prevent them drying out.


Posted: 06/02/2016 at 16:13
MAGGIE BRAY wrote (see)


i have rats on my bird table.  only 2 at the moment.  

does anybody know how to get rid of the rats but i don`t want to kill them JUST YET. tried chilli powder, onion powder, extra strong garlic.  have the only 2 rats who like hot spicy stuff.

does anybody know if the squirrel guards work on rats.  they are not house rats but field rats because i back on to a field and we live in a semi rural area.

they are coming very regular now even in daylight.  have named them Henry and Jack because they are male rats (i shall say no more)



Only 2 brown rats at the moment you say.  Hmm.  The gestation period is 21 days and they have up to 14 young, so don't leave it too long..  Not much will stop them other than the grim reaper I found.  Almost as athletic as squirrels and thought nothing of jumping a couple of feet from a nearby fence (which they used like it was an elevated pavement) over to the bird table, defeating all my attempts to prevent them climbing the bird table stand!

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Autumn foliage photos (2016)

Thought I'd start a thread just for our photos 
Replies: 18    Views: 313
Last Post: Yesterday at 16:06

Gardener's World about to start now!

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Last Post: 14/07/2016 at 16:55

Cutting ID

I thought these were philadelphus 
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Last Post: 11/07/2016 at 17:34


Hope it finds it's way home 
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Last Post: 26/04/2016 at 18:22

Vine weevils

..ate all of my winter carrots! 
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Last Post: 01/01/2016 at 22:01

Huge pest problem

Don't think netting will work 
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Last Post: 19/12/2015 at 21:00

Renovate or remove privet hedge?

Replace or cut back hard? 
Replies: 19    Views: 1860
Last Post: 20/09/2015 at 13:33


No real rain here for weeks 
Replies: 11    Views: 628
Last Post: 07/06/2015 at 18:41

Little Red Devils (Lily beetles)

They're about now! 
Replies: 1    Views: 654
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 17:03

Christmas has come early

New trees 
Replies: 9    Views: 1264
Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 12    Views: 1053
Last Post: 27/11/2014 at 21:12

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 1068
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 1052
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 921
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: 746
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52
1 to 15 of 35 threads