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BobTheGardener


Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Talkback: Growing strawberries

Posted: 05/07/2013 at 19:15

scousegarden, strawberries ideally need planting in October and will produce the following July and August.  You might still get a few this year, but they won't crop properly until next summer, so don't give up on them - they will get better each year until they are about 3 or 4 years old, then they really need replacing as viruses build up in them.  If it throws out any runners (long thin shoots with little leaves on the end, pin the end down in a pot of compost with a U of bent wire and that will usually grow into a new plant - for free!  Once it has good roots, you can cut the runner from the mother plant.

Peonies

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 23:24

I usually cut them off before winter sets in and get a great display so don't think protection is needed.  I do it then so they have more time to compost as they do take a while to break down in the heap.

Strawberry Growing Experiment

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 23:08

Hi little-ann, I have tried them in growbags but found it difficult to provide enough water - I'd water them before work and often found them wilting by the time I got home (must have been one of those rare summers when we actually had some sun!)  I always grow them outside - no room in the greenhouse.  If you have to use containers, I'd recommend at least 30cm pots, or using large (60 or 70l) bags of multi-purpose compost rather than growbags as they will allow the roots to grow fully and they hold more water.  You can cut a bag in half to make two 30 litre half bags as 'pots'.  Use good compost eg JI No.2 or even No.3 as they will be in there for 3 years.  Weekly feeding (I use comfrey feed, but tomato feed is fine) is essential once the flowers appear.

Help please - rust hollyhocks

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 19:54

I agree with Paula - nothing to lose in trying the fungicide.  They look close to flowering which will take the eye away from the leaves.  If you try and grow them again next year, best to try a different spot in the garden - you might be lucky!

Field maple

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 19:51

I agree, likely gall mites.  No need to do anything (not that there is any treatment.)

Google "maple gall mites" for more info.

Help please - rust hollyhocks

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 19:12

The good news is that this proves you have excellent air quality - the problem doesn't occur in heavily polluted areas!  It won't spread to anything else but other hollyhocks.  The bad news is that there's nothing you can really do.  I love hollyhocks but cannot grow them any longer as they get devasted by hollyhock rust every time now.  It might be worth looking for resistant varieties but I've just had to give up.

blackberries

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 19:05

Hi Alan, yes, good to eat straight from the plant when fully ripe and great for pies, jam etc and do have very large fruit.  I also grow Loch Ness, which is similar in all respects - pictures of those two and lots of other varieties on this page:

http://www.hargreavesplants.com/blackberryVarieties.asp

 

Pear tree problem

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 18:55

Hi donside, that is actually very good news as you shouldn't let a fruit tree produce any fruit in its first year so that the roots can develop properly.  If all those pears were left to grow, it would probably kill the tree, or at least exhaust it and prevent it establishing properly.  Personally, I would either remove the rest of the fruit, or just let 2 or 3 of them mature.  It is quite likely they will drop off anyway. 

Growth from graft

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 18:51

Magnolia rootstocks are usually randomly chosen seedlings of known hardy varieties and Japanese magnolia rootstocks are often used for dwarf trees.  Magnolia champaka and M. acuminata are commonly used but don't have very showy flowers - the former is usually grown for timber.

 

blackberries

Posted: 03/07/2013 at 19:49

Waterbutts is right - some varieties grow huge!  This is my 3 year old 'Apache' thornless one, on an 8ft x 6ft frame:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/26674.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

 Close-up of developing fruit:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/26675.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

 When they say plant 2m apart, they mean it!

 

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