Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Recommend a good bird food?

Posted: 24/11/2015 at 19:04

After trying many, many types over the years, I've settled on Johnston and Jeff's "Premium Wild Bird Food Wheat-free with Suet" which everything seems to like and is also husk-free so absolutely no mess.  There is nothing at all left when the feeders are empty and I mean nothing!

Contents from the label: PREMIUM WILD BIRD FOOD A high energy husk-free mix with no wheat, enhanced with suet pellets. Canary Seed, Natural Groats, Milo, Millet, Wild Seeds, Suet Pellets, Sunflower Hearts, Sorghum, Rapeseed, Peanut Nibs, Aniseed.

Greenhouse heating

Posted: 23/11/2015 at 19:12

I think SG is about right Yviestevie, they can tend to turn off a bit too quickly because of the warmer air nearby recirculating.  A thermostat is better as you can place it further away.  I have a heated bench made with soil warming cable and a thermostat which keeps the roots at a set temperature and that seems to work well, especially with a bit of fleece draped over the pots.  I don't have that many really tender things to keep going over winter though.

Greenhouse heating

Posted: 22/11/2015 at 20:57

John, you can buy inexpensive greenhouse fan heaters which have a thermostat built-in.  They are splash-proof and many have a 'frost' setting so they only come on enough to keep the temperature above zero.

If you want something more sophisticated with more precise control over temperature, then have a look here:


Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 22/11/2015 at 20:49

I know what you mean Pat.  I collected some cotoneaster berries a couple of years ago and they nearly all germinated.  I now have a dozen cotoneasters in pots taking up room and absolutely no space available to plant them!  I really enjoy the challenge of germinating perennial and shrub/tree seeds though and don't think I'll be changing any time soon!


Posted: 22/11/2015 at 19:10

Hi Susan, the bright red flowers are the giveaway that it is a non-hardy type (almost certainly Cyclamen persicum.)  Those are best grown indoors, or at least dug-up, potted and kept indoors well before the first frost.  The hardy types for oudoor use are almost all pink/purple or white and have small flowers about 1.5 to 2cm in size.

Garden centres etc sell the large flowered non-hardy types as annuals so unless you dig them up and look after them over the winter they will die.

Sprout harvesting

Posted: 22/11/2015 at 18:34

You can leave sprouts in the ground as long as you want to during Winter as they are completely hardy.  If fact many folk think they taste better once they have been exposed to a hard frost.  They will hardly grow at all at this time of the year so you shouldn't get problems with the sprouts opening-up (aka 'blowing').

Planting Viburnum × bodnantense Dawn, WHEN?

Posted: 21/11/2015 at 14:34

Just noticed the one I planted in autumn last year is in flower:

Looks a bit sad as it's about to lose it's leaves after last night's cold wind but is flowering like a good 'un for such a young shrub.   The smell is gorgeous!

Bare root agapanthus

Posted: 21/11/2015 at 14:02

They prefer slightly acid to neutral (pH 5 to 7) but are not fussy although I wouldn't risk planting in pure ericaceous which will be about pH 4 to 4.5.  The issue with acid soil is that it prevents the take up of certain nutrients.

Grease bands

Posted: 20/11/2015 at 12:45

Probably not, or not much.  Grease bands are primarily to prevent ants climbing trees to 'farm' aphids and to stop Winter moth caterpillars, neither of which are a cause of maggots in fruit.

Maggoty fruit is caused by flying insects, such as the Codling moth and Plum moth.  You can buy hormone traps for those which can help a little but are primarily intended to tell you when to spray with insecticide.  If you don't want to use insecticides then try the hormone traps alone and you might get a little less damage.

Or just close your eyes when you eat the fruit!

frost and soil

Posted: 20/11/2015 at 12:36

Fully agree.  Unless we have a prolonged period below freezing, frost only penetrates a few milimeters into soil and probably won't affect soil under membrane at all.  When exposed frozen clumps of soil thaw, the thin layer affected by frost will crumble and be washed off by the next rain, exposing a new layer to be broken down by the next frost.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

'Dramatic' music in TV programmes

Increase in noise! 
Replies: 37    Views: 1082
Last Post: 23/11/2016 at 22:23

Autumn foliage photos (2016)

Thought I'd start a thread just for our photos 
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Last Post: 03/12/2016 at 00:32

Gardener's World about to start now!

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Last Post: 14/07/2016 at 16:55

Cutting ID

I thought these were philadelphus 
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Last Post: 11/07/2016 at 17:34


Hope it finds it's way home 
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Last Post: 26/04/2016 at 18:22

Vine weevils

..ate all of my winter carrots! 
Replies: 8    Views: 1311
Last Post: 01/01/2016 at 22:01

Huge pest problem

Don't think netting will work 
Replies: 10    Views: 949
Last Post: 19/12/2015 at 21:00

Renovate or remove privet hedge?

Replace or cut back hard? 
Replies: 19    Views: 2006
Last Post: 20/09/2015 at 13:33


No real rain here for weeks 
Replies: 11    Views: 650
Last Post: 07/06/2015 at 18:41

Little Red Devils (Lily beetles)

They're about now! 
Replies: 1    Views: 676
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 17:03

Christmas has come early

New trees 
Replies: 9    Views: 1288
Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 12    Views: 1079
Last Post: 27/11/2014 at 21:12

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 1103
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 1097
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 956
Last Post: 13/07/2014 at 18:04
1 to 15 of 36 threads