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BobTheGardener


Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Aphids ... at this time of year?

Posted: 09/02/2014 at 15:46

I've just found some outside, on a Group 2 clematis (Elsa Spath) which has decided it's time to flower!  Flower buds 2-3 inches long, I kid you not.  Decided to prune it back.  We can only blame the mild temperatures this winter and cross fingers that 2014 isn't going to be the "year of the aphid"!

Backfilling hole for laying lawn

Posted: 08/02/2014 at 23:39

That does make it a bit clearer.  As there is concrete around the edges I think you do need a good drainage layer.  The cheapest would be to get the ballast etc from a local builder's merchant.  Free-draining materials such as ballast, gravel, sharp sand, pea shingle etc all cost about the same - it's the delivery cost you need to keep an eye on.  To put a 15cm layer down in an area of 2.6 x 2.4m will require almost exactly 1 cubic metre, which is the size of a "tonne bag" (aka "builder's bag" or "Jumbo bag".)  You don't need "decorative" materials which cost more.

DIY heated propagator

Posted: 08/02/2014 at 22:42

The lid is only for when the propagator is turned off in summer and not in use, David, so I can recover the space taken for use as a normal growing bench.  As I'm using individual seed trays which have their own clear lids for propagating plants, I didn't see the need to build a transparent raised lid to cover the whole thing.  As seeds in each tray will germinate at different times, I can remove each tray cover, as required, giving me much finer control than having one huge clear cover would.

Clay soil improver

Posted: 08/02/2014 at 22:32

Any bulky organic matter like this will help in the long term but anything uncomposted like wood chippings will deplete the nitrogen levels in the soil (as nitrogen is taken in as they decompose), so plants will not grow very well for a year or so if you dig it in fresh.  Much better to compost the chippings first, adding as much green matter as you can lay your hands on to provide the nitrogen required for them to decompose.  You can also add other high-nitrate sources such as urine or high-nitrate fertiliser as a compost accelerator.

I think raised beds are an excellent solution for a clay slope though and you can use them to terrace the slope, making it a much more useful area to grow things in.

Chinese redbud trees

Posted: 08/02/2014 at 18:05

I think you'll be ok with some formative pruning while they're young but probably best to leave them to it once that is done and would lay-off with the MG.  Yes, they do seem a bit finicky - I don't normally grow things which are picky but got carried away when I was plant shopping and think they must have, erm, "accidentally fallen into the basket"!

Cost of bird food

Posted: 08/02/2014 at 17:15

Hooray, the goldfinches have turned up after going awol for a few weeks. 

They are so colourful when the garden is looking a bit drab.  The feeders are starting to be emptied much quicker now than over the last few weeks too.

No Aconites yet

Posted: 08/02/2014 at 17:05

Hopefully they will appear.  Being woodland plants they do need shade in the Summer to emulate tree foliage and stop them drying out.  I didn't provide that the first time I grew them and only one came up the next year.

HEATED PROPOGATOR

Posted: 08/02/2014 at 15:37

It looks like a Sankey Growarm 300 Propagator Kit. If so, that is definitely capillary matting.   Nice bit of kit with the temperature control.

DIY heated propagator

Posted: 08/02/2014 at 13:16

 

 

 

Hi David, as promised, here are photos of the lid.

The underside has a couple of battens to locate it properly and stop it sliding off:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/37193.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

Lid in place:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/37194.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

I also discovered that the cheap (£3.50 from Wilko) windowsill propagators fit perfectly - more by luck than judgement though! :

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/37195.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

The small module trays in those are ideal for small batches of seeds, so I'll definitely be using them this way for my toms, peppers etc.

Greenhouse help

Posted: 08/02/2014 at 12:07

John, if whatever you choose has an optional aluminium base, I strongly suggest you spend the extra to get it.  They add a lot of rigidity which helps prevent the frame warping over time if the ground/paving/brick below settles which is a big cause of cracked panes.  I'd also go for the safety glass, especially if you have very young or old folk about, or if you might ever decide to move it in the future.  Horticultural glass is a nightmare to remove after a few years as it becomes brittle and panes often break into large and extremely sharp pieces. 

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 372
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 337
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 194
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: 181
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 501
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 311
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: 692
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 412
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: 484
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 245
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39

Oops!

Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 541
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 557
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31

DIY heated propagator

Making one from scratch 
Replies: 48    Views: 4215
Last Post: 30/06/2014 at 19:57

Cost of bird food

bulk vs supermarket 
Replies: 31    Views: 1713
Last Post: 10/02/2014 at 12:33

Wild Garden (Community Channel)

On Freeview/Sky 
Replies: 5    Views: 513
Last Post: 10/12/2013 at 12:21
1 to 15 of 24 threads