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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Apple tree

Posted: 21/09/2013 at 22:31

I agree goldfinch2 - the apple will never do well planted that close to a mature Magnolia.  I guess whoever planted them didn't realise just how big some Magnolias can grow - a common oversight.  Modern grafted Magnolias are much more well behaved.  I grow a number of apple trees grafted onto dwarfing rootstock and they are very productive - there's a huge range of 'patio' fruit trees these days so you should be able to find something which will suit whichever way you wish to grow one.

Glass Cullet

Posted: 21/09/2013 at 22:22

Water has one of the highest specific heat capacities (the ability to absorb, store and release heat energy) and is higher than glass so perhaps using glass containers filled with water would be the most efficient.  I use 2l plastic pop bottles filled with weak comfrey solution as the brown colour helps to trap the sun's energy.  It also means I always have plant food handy within the greenhouse, too.   If anyone is interested in this (which is something the Victorians used to do I believe), there is information in the link below (even if they do seem to be calling it a 'new' idea!)


mini greenhouse

Posted: 21/09/2013 at 14:39

Also make sure it's fixed down well - you don't want all of your hard work destroyed by it being blown over (or away!) in a Winter storm.

Infestation of Thousands of tiny caterpillars

Posted: 21/09/2013 at 14:37

They're almost certainly larvae of one of the sawflys which feed on Birch.  They may feed on other trees but almost certainly won't attack garden plants.  If you must use insecticides, look for one which mentions it treats sawfly and caterpillars.  If you want to be organic, either leave them be and wonder at the magnificence of nature or google for 'organic sawfly control'.  A spray made from rhubarb leaves steeped in water may work but be careful as it is equally poisonous to humans (contains oxalic acid.)


Pruning Fruit Trees

Posted: 20/09/2013 at 19:10

Theresa, yes, but not now as you risk introducing a disease know as silver leaf which is often fatal to the tree.  It's best to avoid pruning altogether if you can but if you must prune, do it when they are in growth in the Spring or Summer, never Autumn or Winter.  Restricting growth can be as simple as rubbing-off some buds at the right time.  If you need to remove long branches, you do that in Spring, but doing that will promote rapid new growth so you then prune this new growth back in the Summer.

Read through the RHS plum pruning advice below and see what best fits for your tree:



Qqqqqqqquite exciting........

Posted: 19/09/2013 at 19:44

Just checked and can't track them by the internet, unfortunately, Panda but I'll certainly post a pic or two when they arrive.

Kiwi plants

Posted: 19/09/2013 at 19:37

Pruning also helps apparently, as was mentioned in a similar thread a few days ago (although I've never tried so all I get are leaves and red shoots, but I find those attractive anyway!):



Qqqqqqqquite exciting........

Posted: 19/09/2013 at 19:29

I know they're not your favourites, Verdun, but I got a message that 660 tulip bulbs had been despatched on Monday and I'm like you with the anticipation!  They are mixed, so the first thing I'll be doing is commandeering the dining table to sort them out as well as I can.  I've done this pretty successfully before as each type tends to have a slightly different colour or shaped bulb.  I even do this with mixed seeds with the help of a magnifying glass and a toothpick!   While my garden is very 'cottagey', I do think some grouping of plants improves the effect quite dramatically.

Talkback: How to plant bulbs

Posted: 19/09/2013 at 19:20

You want twice the depth of soil above the bub as the bulb is tall.  That is, if a daff bulb is 5cm tall, dig a hole 15cm deep and place the bulb at the bottom which will then have 10cm of soil above it when you fill the hole in.

storage during winter veg and fruits

Posted: 19/09/2013 at 19:16

Potatoes and onions can be kept in hessian or paper sacks and stored in a dark, cool but frost-free place for several months. Carrots and parsnips can be stored in a bucket of damp (but not wet) sand, but are perhaps best left in the ground until needed.  Other things like calabrese, peas, beans etc should be picked at their best, blanched (see below) and frozen.  I usually 'open freeze' them and then place in plastic bags once they are hard which prevents them all sticking together in one lump.

Blanching means to drop into a large pan of boiling water for about 2 minutes and then taken out and immediately plunged into a large bowl/pan of iced water.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 98
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: 103
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 394
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 185
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: 425
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 282
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: 334
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 171
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39


Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 465
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 479
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31

DIY heated propagator

Making one from scratch 
Replies: 48    Views: 3172
Last Post: 30/06/2014 at 19:57

Cost of bird food

bulk vs supermarket 
Replies: 31    Views: 1272
Last Post: 10/02/2014 at 12:33

Wild Garden (Community Channel)

On Freeview/Sky 
Replies: 5    Views: 426
Last Post: 10/12/2013 at 12:21

Front garden revamp - before and after photos

Redsigning weedy crazy paving 
Replies: 24    Views: 1560
Last Post: 21/10/2013 at 20:16


Flowering in September 
Replies: 7    Views: 598
Last Post: 13/09/2013 at 13:20
1 to 15 of 22 threads