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BobTheGardener


Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Chitting potatoes- have I got this right?

Posted: 30/01/2014 at 19:09

Hi Rachael, you can get seed potatoes online or from garden centres and even places like Wilkinsons.  There is no real need to chit potatoes - trials have shown that while it can give a slightly earlier crop, unchitted potatoes grow perfectly well anyway.

Potatoes don't actually enrich the soil but are said to "help break it up", improving the soil structure.  My thinking on that one is that you dig the soil to plant them, then earth them up as they are growing and finally have another good dig to harvest your crop.  That's a lot of cultivation and probably explains why they "help to break-up the soil"!

 

Raspberries

Posted: 30/01/2014 at 19:00

They do prefer a slightly acid soil Cherry3, so you do need to get that test done.

Have you been feeding them with anything?  Raspberries are quite hungry plants and need something high in phosphates to fruit well.  I would recommend mulching them with 2-3 inches of well rotted farmyard manure in early spring but if that's not available, use fish, blood and bone and a layer of multi-purpose compost as a mulch.

If your soil turns out to be alkaline, you could also try feeding them with an ericaceous feed such as one meant for rhododendrons and azaleas which would also be a good feed for your blueberries.  You'll need to keep using this permanently though as chalky soils will always revert to becoming alkaline over time, even if you dig a big hole and fill it with ericaceous compost!

 

Will apple/fruit trees produce fruit this year if I hard prune this year?

Posted: 30/01/2014 at 18:29

They will still produce fruit on any fruiting spurs or the tips of branches which you haven't pruned off.  The easiest way to tell is to look for buds.  Fat buds will become flowers and thin buds will become leaves.

DIY heated propagator

Posted: 29/01/2014 at 18:17

Hi Alan, I have already bought the soil warming cable and thermostat but progress will have to wait until the weekend as it's dark when I get home from work.

Talkback: Valerian

Posted: 29/01/2014 at 18:14

Just be careful where you let it seed.  If you have any gravel and it gets in there (even if the gravel is on top of membrane) you will never be rid of it!  It also stinks when rotting at the end of the season so best not grown close to entrances.  It is quite nice for what is a rampant weed for me though .

Unproductive fruit trees ?

Posted: 28/01/2014 at 22:02

Try clearing the ground around the base of their trunks so there is open soil (no grass especially) within a metre all round and gently fork-in some well rotted manure or garden compost with added food (eg fish, blood and bone.)  I think they could be a bit starved of food which has been taken by other plants growing too close.  They might be being shaded out a bit by the taller trees surrounding them, too.

Shredder Bosch AXT2000HP

Posted: 28/01/2014 at 18:34

Berghill, are they plastic gears (might sound daft but hey often are these days)?  If so silicone grease will be OK.  Mineral oil based grease will damage them.

Edit: the reason I ask is that plastic-safe grease is often bright green.

anyone know of a good gardening quizz book to challenge myself

Posted: 27/01/2014 at 21:42

Hi Jenny, also try using google to search for "gardening club" and your town/city or county.  Pages and pages of them when I tried it.

Poly tunnel water harvesting.

Posted: 27/01/2014 at 21:21

Hi James, I've a polytunnel on the way so have been thinking about this myself and have decided to use cheap household plastic guttering.  What I'm going to do is hammer some vertical wooden stakes in along the long sides so that they are about 3" away from the tunnel sides.  Then fit plastic gutter clips to the inside face of the stakes to hold a length of plastic guttering against the polytunnel wall at the point the curved roof becomes vertical (ie about 3ft above the ground.)  Finally, I'll run polytunnel sealing tape along the length to seal the join where the gutter touches the tunnel wall to ensure water runs into the guttering.  B&Q 76mm Mini Line guttering is pretty cheap so might use that.

apple canker

Posted: 26/01/2014 at 17:24

If you can find any of the things mentioned in the RHS apple canker control page which Dave mentioned:

http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?pid=63

they may help a little but there is no cure as such.  A lot of the chemicals mentioned are no longer available though.  Any time over the winter while the tree is dormant is fine for pruning out the damaged areas which I think is probably your best bet if you want to try and save the tree.  Hard pruning will encourage lots of 'water shoots', most of which you'll want to remove in the summer, but you can let a few develop into new branches and fruiting spurs.  Advice from the RHS on this (called 'renovative pruning') is here:

http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?PID=279

Good luck and hope you can nurse it back into health.

 

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 5    Views: 123
Last Post: Yesterday at 22:29

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: 338
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 197
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: 184
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 502
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 312
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: 693
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: 485
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 246
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39

Oops!

Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 543
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 558
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31

DIY heated propagator

Making one from scratch 
Replies: 48    Views: 4248
Last Post: 30/06/2014 at 19:57

Cost of bird food

bulk vs supermarket 
Replies: 31    Views: 1718
Last Post: 10/02/2014 at 12:33
1 to 15 of 25 threads