Latest posts by BobTheGardener

How to tackle completely overgrown garden?

Posted: 30/12/2013 at 00:23


Turned it the right way up for you Georgina.   Looks like you have a lot of potential there (and a lot of hard work) but it will all be worth it!


Peas - Sticks - Canes - Wire Netting

Posted: 29/12/2013 at 17:08

You'll soon be a master of it, Newboy2!  You're doing the right thing by trying lots of crops and will soon find which things work on your allotment and which don't - few sites are suitable growing every type of veg.  A friend of mine can't grow peas for the life of him and he's been trying them for 30 years - I'd have given up long ago!

Peas - Sticks - Canes - Wire Netting

Posted: 29/12/2013 at 16:14

Hi KEF, I use netting mainly for convenience (and usually lack of enough spare sticks/canes!)  I think weeding depends on what weeds you happen to be 'infested' with - two of my beds are fairly weed free now after many years of hoeing but one has creeping buttercup which has to be hand-weeded to keep any kind of control. 'Orrible stuff!

Seed compost

Posted: 29/12/2013 at 15:53

The main difference is that seed compost doesn't contain much nutrient which can be bad for young seedlings.  Having said that I have used sieved MP compost mixed with sharp sand for donkeys years and have had no problems at all growing from seed.  

Peas - Sticks - Canes - Wire Netting

Posted: 29/12/2013 at 15:48

You might want to go for taller posts than 3 foot ones as many peas grow to about 4-5 feet high.  I would use 3 posts for a 14ft long row and remember to drive them in to the ground well - about 18 inches deep so take that into account when deciding the post length - 5 foot long posts would give you a 3 feet 6 inches tall 'wall'.  With peas I dig a shallow 2 inch deep trench next to the bottom of the netting and sow the seeds about 2 inches apart.  I also sow a dozen or so pots (3 seeds to a pot)  to fill any gaps where they don't germinate in the ground (or get eaten by mice etc!)

Peas - Sticks - Canes - Wire Netting

Posted: 29/12/2013 at 14:07

I put a post at each end of the row so make a wall.  If you attach a piece of galvanised garden wire between the top of the two posts, you can tie the netting to that every foot or so which will help to stop it sagging too much in the middle.  I generally use plastic pea/bean netting which is very cheap.

Peas - Sticks - Canes - Wire Netting

Posted: 29/12/2013 at 13:52

Wire or plastic netting stretched between two reasonably strong poles/posts will work (the crop can be very heavy and prone to wind blowing the whole thing over.)

To Fleece or Not To Fleece

Posted: 29/12/2013 at 13:45

I've divided your list into groups which may help. 

These are generally problem/pest free so don't need protection when young: sweetcorn, celery, leeks, asparagus, runner beans, broad beans, peas, spring onions, potatoes.

These need protection from pests (main ones in brackets) and are best protected: parsnips, carrots (carrot fly), caulis, broccoli (caterpillars, woodpigeons.)

Of course, there are exceptions - leeks may be prone to leek moth for example but that's comparatively rare.  Some things don't transplant well, so always sow direct (carrots, parsnips.)

Other advice I can give is to not start some things off too early, such as runner beans and peas;  If there are late frosts like last year you will be unable to plant them out and will be left with leggy plants which will never crop well - later sowings always quickly catch-up anyway.  If you grow Aquadulce Claudia broad beans you can sow them now and plant out on a mild day - they will survive frosts and snow to give you an early crop and can be replaced with your brassicas when they are ready for planting out.  Plan the asparagus bed to be there for at least 10 years so prepare the soil really well and don't cut any spears in the first year and just a few in year 2.


Spots on herbs

Posted: 28/12/2013 at 16:31

Could well be.  You could try bringing one indoors, putting it on a large piece of white paper and brushing over the foliage a few times with your hand.  Any thrips should fall onto the paper.  Whatever the pest is, I'm not sure what you can do unless these are plants kept only for decoration as you wouldn't want to spray chemical controls onto anything you will use in cooking.

How to tackle completely overgrown garden?

Posted: 28/12/2013 at 16:00

As Dove says, if you want to get started asap, I'd choose the bramble infested area and dig as many bramble roots out as you can.  Doing that will also help drainage for the lawn which is important if you want a healthy lawn.  If you then level and lay the lawn on this area, the regular mowing of the grass will weaken and eventually kill and remaining brambles which will appear from the roots you missed (and there will be some!)  Spot-treat any particularly vigorous remnants by painting on a glyphosate-based weedkiller as Hostafan said.

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