BobTheGardener


Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Confused by my group 3 clematis

Posted: 02/02/2014 at 15:58

Go for that low single bud, cloud8.  I cut most of my group 3 right down to the ground and they produce new shoots from below ground level.  As group 3 produce flowers on new growth, the more new shoots you can encourage from the base, the better. 

Amaryllis

Posted: 02/02/2014 at 14:14

Once they have flowered you need to water and feed the leaves as these are building the bulb up for the next set of flowers.  When the leaves die-back naturally, the dormant stage has been reached and you let the compost dry out.  When the bulb shows signs of life again, re-pot it into fresh compost and it should flower again.  If it doesn't, the bulb didn't build itself up enough when last in leaf.  In that case, simply feed and water it while in leaf again until it dies back naturally. After the next dormancy it will almost certainly flower.  Sometimes when you first get them they can take a while to settle into the dormancy-flower-leaf/bulb growth pattern as they will have been forced to flower artificially to suit the sale time of the shops.

DIY heated propagator

Posted: 01/02/2014 at 22:59

Thanks Mike!  If everything goes to plan the living room windowsill will be free of seed trays this spring for the first time ever, which I'm sure will please my other half!

DIY heated propagator

Posted: 01/02/2014 at 22:47

The final top 2" layer of sand was then completed:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36879.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

and depth checked:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36880.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

Finally, this is it with 8 seed trays in position.  Each one is effectively a propagator in it's own right so that it's lid can be removed when seeds show signs of germination, without affecting any of the other trays.  To the right you can see the thermostat - this is a fancy one I already had and the probe is on a cable so can be placed inside a seed tray rather than in the sand if I wish.  However, it is really an overkill and the standard Parasene thermostat would be fine:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36881.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

I've set the thermostat to 25C as a test tonight and will check in the morning.  I filled one seed tray with compost and put my max-min thermometer on top before covering with the lid.  That should give me a good idea of how warm the compost in the trays will actually reach when the sand is at 25C.  Fingers crossed!

DIY heated propagator

Posted: 01/02/2014 at 22:34

Next was a 2" layer of sharp sand:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36875.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

Now for the tricky part!  Somehow the cable needed laying evenly so it covered the whole area without any loop touching another loop or any crossing cables as these would cause hot-spots.  The trick here was to plug the cable in for 10 minutes to let it warm up, making it more flexible.  However, it wouldn't stay in place even if I patted it into the damp sand, so I came up with an idea - use pieces of decking to temporarily hold it in place - these will be removed later:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36876.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

Clever, eh?!   Now I filled the gaps between the bits of wood with more sharp sand which would hold the cable in place:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36877.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

removing the wood left it like this, ready for adding the rest of the sand:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36878.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

DIY heated propagator

Posted: 01/02/2014 at 22:21

I used a 6m long Parasene soil heating cable as this is the recommended length for a 4'x2' propagator and is rated at 150W:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36873.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

it needed feeding through 13mm a hole (there is a blue seal on the end of the cable which needs to go through the hole) in the side which was made 2" (50mm) from the bottom of the propagator:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36874.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

DIY heated propagator

Posted: 01/02/2014 at 22:10

Next would be to line it with insulation so that the heat would be retained.  I had a roll of polystyrene insulation which was left over after fitting a laminated wooden floor in my conservatory (which has a concrete floor.)  This stuff is very cheap and ideal for the job:

 

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36870.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

First layer stapled in place:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36871.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

Second layer now stapled (with galvanised 12mm staples) and trimmed:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36872.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

 

DIY heated propagator

Posted: 01/02/2014 at 22:01

 

 

I worked out that it would take 4 x 25kg bags of sharp sand to fill it to the required depth (4 inches: 2 inches below the heating cable and 2 inches on top.)  As that meant the whole thing would weigh over 100kg, very sturdy support would be needed!  I used 50x50mm (2x2 inch) timber to make a frame and used steel legs from an old office desk I found in a skip:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36863.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

Pic below is it in place on top of the frame:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36864.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

DIY heated propagator

Posted: 01/02/2014 at 21:53

Hi all, before I post pics of all the latest work done today, here's one of how I decided on the exact size of base to make.  I originally wanted it to be roughly 4ft x 2 ft to fit the space available in my shed but decided to make it an exact fit to multiples of standard seed trays by laying them out on the plywood I used for the bottom then adding 2 x the thickness of the decking boards used for the sides.  This is how it turned out:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36862.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

 

best-potato-to-grow

Posted: 01/02/2014 at 20:36

My OH won't eat them with the skins on Alan!  Personally, I don't even mind a bit of soil left on things I eat!  We couldn't be more different really.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 300
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 296
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 160
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: 146
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 462
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 271
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: 527
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 351
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: 426
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 206
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39

Oops!

Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 513
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 516
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31

DIY heated propagator

Making one from scratch 
Replies: 48    Views: 3747
Last Post: 30/06/2014 at 19:57

Cost of bird food

bulk vs supermarket 
Replies: 31    Views: 1556
Last Post: 10/02/2014 at 12:33

Wild Garden (Community Channel)

On Freeview/Sky 
Replies: 5    Views: 474
Last Post: 10/12/2013 at 12:21
1 to 15 of 24 threads