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BobTheGardener


Latest posts by BobTheGardener

DIY heated propagator

Posted: 10/02/2014 at 18:30

Heheh - just a tad before my time, Alan.  It was Geoff Hamilton (God rest his soul) who inspired me most in garden DIY type stuff.  I have a 4mx2m polytunnel coming later this week (if it turns up this time!) so will probably bung up a few photos of that while I'm erecting it.  No doubt I'll be making some modifications..

Aphids ... at this time of year?

Posted: 09/02/2014 at 16:13

Let's hope so - hardly any last year but suspect Mother nature has it covered!

Group 3 clematis pruning

Posted: 09/02/2014 at 16:09

I've started on mine now too, DD & FG, both group 2 and 3.  Much earlier than I normally do but some are putting on serious growth and many of the 2s are already too leggy.  If those I have cut back hard start to shoot from below ground and there are frosts forecast, I'll give them a good mulch which all clematis appreciate anyway.  There seem to be a few casualties in particularly wet areas which are showing no signs of life and have dead stems so those have been cut back to below ground level.  Looks like some clematis shopping may be on the cards.

Aphids ... at this time of year?

Posted: 09/02/2014 at 15:58

Not really, NG - Leicestershire - being well inland usually means I get harder frosts than those nearer the coast.  That particular clematis has never known when to stop though - it just keeps flowering until the frost gets it.  Unfortunately (not sure if that is the right word!), there have only been 2 or 3 nights when there has actually been a frost this winter and then only -2C.  Copious amounts of rain, wind and general miserable weather but no frosts to speak of so a lot of bugs (both good and bad) will have survived when they would normally have a high mortality.

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.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 5    Views: 237
Last Post: 25/10/2014 at 22:29

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
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Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

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

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
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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! 
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Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

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

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
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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: 812
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 452
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: 507
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 264
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39

Oops!

Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 563
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 584
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31

DIY heated propagator

Making one from scratch 
Replies: 48    Views: 4610
Last Post: 30/06/2014 at 19:57

Cost of bird food

bulk vs supermarket 
Replies: 31    Views: 1811
Last Post: 10/02/2014 at 12:33
1 to 15 of 25 threads