London (change)
Today 17°C / 16°C
Tomorrow 18°C / 13°C


Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Ground cover between veg?

Posted: 23/12/2014 at 17:57

Have to agree with scroggin and verdun as I also grow veg with closer spacing than usually recommended so they effectively keep the weeds down themselves.  One other reason is they grow smaller;  I used to grow cabbages almost the size of footballs but with only the two of us there was always a lot of waste or the excess had to be kept in the fridge.  With closer spacing I now grow them to the size of large grapefruit which is the perfect size for us and means everything is that much fresher - nearly all veg come straight from the garden to the pot.

Camera Corner

Posted: 22/12/2014 at 23:31

I know what you mean Charlie.  At least he wasn't convinced it was a 'UFO' which Jupiter is often reported as! When the atmosphere is unstable even bright planets can 'twinkle' like stars, showing muliple changing colours and can even seem to move about a small amount which often causes confusion.  There are some great mobile phone apps now which allow you just to point your phone at the sky and it tells you what you can see.  Quite amazing technology really!

ID please - unknow bulb

Posted: 22/12/2014 at 16:42

I'd guess arum lily too, perhaps one of the more tender types with spotted leaves, judging by the shoot.

Raspberry Canes

Posted: 22/12/2014 at 14:07

Hi Yorkshire Lass, there should be small buds on redcurrants at this time of year.  If you think it might be dead, use your thumbnail to scrape away a little bit of the bark on a stem.  It should be green underneath.  If it is brown, try a few more stems but if you don't see any green anywhere it might be a dead.

If you do find some green, then it should start growing in about March and the small rather insignificant flowers appear not long after the new leaves, in about April.

Here is the RHS link about growing redcurrants:

There are no real rules as far as returning plants, but if one is clearly dead and doesn't show any growth or performs poorly even though you have followed their instructions, then state this when complaining and most suppliers will exchange for another or alternative plant, supply vouchers to the value of it, or give you your money back (their preferences are usually in that order!)

Having no transport, I always buy online and there is an excellent thread called 'the good guys' where members have recommend suppliers who they have had good experiences in using.  Local GCs can be a bit of a lottery - some are excellent, some not.  You can tell by asking about the plants you are interested in - if they don't seem to know much then avoid.


Posted: 21/12/2014 at 15:44

Daffs not even poking through yet here, but I'm in a bit of a frost pocket and it did hit -3.5C recently which would have put the mockers on any ideas they had of coming up early!  Plenty of crocus showing although none in flower so far.  On the plus side one of my young vibernum bodnantense 'Dawn' is covered in buds, some now opening and the red Witch Hazel (Rubin) is already in flower.

Pruning an apple tree

Posted: 20/12/2014 at 13:04

Yes MJ, that's exactly where I would cut it.  Leave a small part of the old branch proud of the trunk as cutting completely flush will damage the branch collar and inhibit healing;  You want to cut just flush with the end of the branch collar.  Don't try and cut the whole thing off in one go as that could be dangerous and also lead to tearing a strip of bark from the trunk.  Make an undercut a few inches away from the bottom of the branch first, to avoid any possibility of tearing the bark.  These links should help:




Posted: 20/12/2014 at 11:34

The reason comfrey is so full of nutrients is that its tap roots go well down into the sub-soil (a metre or more) and extract minerals from that, something most herbaceous plants cant do as the majority only send roots into the topsoil.  I have several 'stands' of comfrey so I can crop them at different times - it's fantastic stuff and the bees love it.

Shed treatment query

Posted: 20/12/2014 at 11:25

Modern water-based wood treatments are very good and will prevent water penetrating, especially if you use several coats.  However, storing paper based products in an unheated outbuilding can lead to issues due to the large variations in humidity and temperature which can lead to condensation.  Anyone who leaves steel tools out in an unheated garage or shed knows that they will rust, even if it is perfectly dry as humidity in the air causes water to condense on them when they become cooler than the air in there.  A layer of insulation on the inside walls and roof should help, such as rockwool or insulated sheeting such as Celotex.  Both of those would need a layer of something covering them, such as thin plywood.  You would ideally run a dehumidifer in there which would require a mains supply. An alternative would be to keep everything in air-tight plastic boxes.

Some links which may help:



Pruning an apple tree

Posted: 19/12/2014 at 21:13

I completely agree with nut and would remove the whole branch on the right, right back to the trunk.  Because it is growing from very low on the trunk, it may even be from below the graft and that would explain why it is so vigorous compared to the rest of the tree (which seems fairly well shaped.)

Christmas has come early

Posted: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Well done Verdun, your tactic of mentioning that plants are "on their last legs" always seems to pay off!

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Renovate or remove privet hedge?

Replace or cut back hard? 
Replies: 19    Views: 497
Last Post: 20/09/2015 at 13:33


No real rain here for weeks 
Replies: 11    Views: 290
Last Post: 07/06/2015 at 18:41

Little Red Devils (Lily beetles)

They're about now! 
Replies: 1    Views: 319
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 17:03

Christmas has come early

New trees 
Replies: 9    Views: 923
Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 12    Views: 703
Last Post: 27/11/2014 at 21:12

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 652
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 624
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 491
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: 429
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 751
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 662
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: 1136
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 770
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: 1214
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 464
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39
1 to 15 of 29 threads