London (change)
Today 8°C / 4°C
Tomorrow 6°C / 3°C


Latest posts by BobTheGardener

The One Show - Quirky Gardens

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 18:49

Pity you aren't looking for quirky gardeners!  There are plenty of those here, myself included!

Apple tree

Posted: 07/01/2015 at 19:24

Hi eddie, now is perfect but it depends on why you are pruning.  A few tips:

Winter pruning will encourage growth, so prune young apple trees now to help develop their shape.  The harder you prune weak growth, the stronger is will grow in the coming year, so if a tree is weak on one side prune that side back more (but don't reduce branches by more than about 50%.)

Late summer pruning will help to restrict growth, so only prune branches which are too vigorous then.  Once an apple tree has grown to the size you want, this is the only time you should prune it.

I made a pretty comprehensive post about apple tree pruning a year or two ago which some members found helpful.  I'll try and find it and will post the link.

(Animal monitoring device project) Idea feedback

Posted: 07/01/2015 at 19:12

Hi Ben,

Most video cameras, including webcams and 'board cameras' have an infra-red blocking filter which can often be removed.  Sometimes the IR-block is glued to the bottom of the lens (usually the case with web and board cams) but can be removed if you are careful.  I do this both in my line of work (university technician) and in my other hobby (astrophotgraphy.)  It is much cheaper than buying a special IR camera which, ironically, are standard cameras with no added IR-blocking filter so should really be cheaper!  Most imaging sensors (either CCD or CMOS based) are naturally sensitive in the IR region but the IR-block is added to give more natural colours in daylight.  If you use monochrome cameras, that isn't an issue of course.

If you would like any detailed advice in this area, feel free to send me a personal message by clicking on my avatar and clicking 'Message'.

Garden Journal/Diary

Posted: 06/01/2015 at 19:05
GemmaJF wrote (see)

I've started mine in a word document this year. I tried a spreadsheet last year but didn't keep it up-to-date for very long. I've gone much more visual in the word document and paste any useful articles or add links etc. 

So far it is a diagram of my veg plot from last year and the plan for rotation this year. Then I've listed each daily job I've done.

When I get my seeds sorted out I will put down the sowing and estimated harvest times for each month and see how that works out.

Not sure how to upload a file directly to a forum post, but would be happy to post it up if there is a way.


Word is a good bet as it is likely to still be around in 10 years and the files can be read by lots of other software.  It's important to consider this aspect as gardening-specific software is rarely well maintained and when you need to get a new computer it is often incompatible with new operating systems, so you end-up losing everything.  Mine is still all in a book-bound notebook but it's rather tatty now!


Grow your own beer...

Posted: 06/01/2015 at 18:52

Do read up on growing hops Fruitcake as they can quickly overwhelm a garden.  You can get some smaller varieties which only grow to 10ft (3m) but most will happily grow to 15-20ft (5-7m) or more!

Parsnip problems!

Posted: 06/01/2015 at 18:36

Could be any of the above, with too rich a soil being high on my list of suspects.  Parsnips definitely need to be sown in-situ and will deform like those in the photo if transplanted from seed trays etc., as Mark says.  I would never buy root crops in plug form for that reason.

When I grow them in raised beds, it's in a 50/50 mixture of sharp sand and multi-purpose compost with fish, blood and bone fertiliser tickled into the surface a few weeks after they have started growing strongly.  That method has never failed me yet (perfect for carrots, too.)

plum tree or pear tree?!

Posted: 05/01/2015 at 01:51

I agree, pear trees can be rather picky and are prone to disease so I would opt for a plum.  One of the best is 'Victoria' which would be quite appropriate for you, Victoria!

Help - what animals are in my peace lily?

Posted: 05/01/2015 at 01:48

They are the coverings from the seeds which fall from the flowers so nothing to worry about at all.  The actuals seeds are black in colour.  See this photo:

Tree help

Posted: 02/01/2015 at 17:30

I'd also certainly have that felled as it looks dangerously off-balance to me and could come down in a gale.  Look at it as a chance to plant a new tree (or three!)

fragrant flowers

Posted: 01/01/2015 at 21:30

One of the prettiest is the easy to grow Petunia.  The trailing 'Surfinia' varieties are widely available as plugs or you can grow from seed if you want a bit more of a challange.  They smell wonderful and give excellent displays in pots or hanging baskets etc.

Night stock (Matthiola bicornis) is possibly the most fragrant plant which is easy from seed but is rather bland looking.

One of my favourites from seed is Zaluzianskya capensis which open in the evening and release a magnificent and unique scent.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Vine weevils

..ate all of my winter carrots! 
Replies: 8    Views: 720
Last Post: 01/01/2016 at 22:01

Huge pest problem

Don't think netting will work 
Replies: 10    Views: 536
Last Post: 19/12/2015 at 21:00

Renovate or remove privet hedge?

Replace or cut back hard? 
Replies: 19    Views: 832
Last Post: 20/09/2015 at 13:33


No real rain here for weeks 
Replies: 11    Views: 394
Last Post: 07/06/2015 at 18:41

Little Red Devils (Lily beetles)

They're about now! 
Replies: 1    Views: 428
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 17:03

Christmas has come early

New trees 
Replies: 9    Views: 1013
Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 12    Views: 808
Last Post: 27/11/2014 at 21:12

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 777
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 724
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 596
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: 508
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 859
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 759
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: 1247
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 921
Last Post: 24/04/2014 at 11:30
1 to 15 of 31 threads