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Latest posts by BobTheGardener


Posted: 01/12/2013 at 16:21

Hi Darren and welcome!  I think the best thing to do by far is treat it as a clean sheet and dig it all over, removing every piece of root you see.  Modern weedkillers only work when the plants are in full growth, so spraying now would be virtually useless - all of the perennial weeds have already gone dormant.

Rather than tackling the whole thing in one go, I'd do it in sections but doing each section well.  That way you'll see results as you progress which is important to keep you motivated - it's all too easy to take on too much as most of experienced gardeners know only too well from their early days!

If you do it before the hard frosts set in, those will help to break up any big lumps of soil which you can leave on the top after digging it over.  When spring comes, fork-in as much compost or well-rotted (it's important it is well rotted with no straw or soggy stuff) manure as you can lay yours hand on.  General purpose multi-purpose compost is fine if you can't easily get farmyard manure or spent mushroom compost etc.

By doing it this way any plants or shrubs you plant will get off the a great start and have enough food for several years.




Posted: 30/11/2013 at 13:02

And it's Zebadee, surely?!  Zébulon in the original French version according to Wiki.  In that version, Dougal speaks broken English, so the French were doing a bit of a reverse 'Allo 'Allo! on us at the time!

hawian palm tree

Posted: 30/11/2013 at 12:50

Blairs, I'm assuming it's Brighamia insignis as those are commonly sold in GCs etc.:

Perhaps Barbara can confirm?



Planting Jasmine nudiflorum

Posted: 30/11/2013 at 12:47

Not really, Lulu - it's one of the least fussy shrubs there is.   Plant in full sun for the best flowers but it'll handle part shade.

hawian palm tree

Posted: 29/11/2013 at 21:59

Barbara, I would treat it like any houseplant:  Never overwater - if the compost feels at all damp, do not water it until it feels very dry.  Keep away from central heating if possible - most houseplants hate it.  In the Winter, keep it on a South-facing windowsill, in the Summer move it to to somewhere more shaded.  Don't forget to feed it - use baby bio etc diluted to the rate recommended on the bottle.

Cleaning plastic plant labels

Posted: 28/11/2013 at 23:52

Same experience here with the actual plastic going brittle after only one season, fidgetbones.  They really need to make them from UV-proof plastic.  UPVC as used to make windows would be ideal but google isn't coming up with anything.  I'm sure someone could make a lot of money by selling slightly more expensive but longer lasting ones - a 5 year life would be fine.  There are plenty of expensive ones (some £5 each!) but no middle ground it seems.

Talkback: How to force rhubarb

Posted: 28/11/2013 at 22:01

I was assuming the former Dove.  I think what you do is quite a common method of keeping it tender and, as you say, getting a slightly earlier crop.


Posted: 28/11/2013 at 21:41

Yes David, an early start is essential in our climate.  You must keep them above 12C at all times though, so starting early has its drawbacks.  If young plants get chilled it will usually 'set them back' and they may not do as well as seeds sown later.  I usually do 2 or 3 sowings so I have the best chance of success and grow the young plants on windowsills or in the conservatory until night temperatures in the greenhouse don't fall below 12C.  It can be challenging some years.

Choose early varieties too - this supplier has some good ones (no connection):


Talkback: How to force rhubarb

Posted: 28/11/2013 at 21:26

Any type of 'forcing' will weaken a crown.  The only reason to do it is to get an earlier crop at the expense of using up the stored energy in the crown.  I was originally done in areas where they grew thousands of crowns so they could use a proportion for forcing each year (to extend the season - ie for making money!) which, when exhausted, would be replanted and left to grow for a few years to build-up the crown again while being cropped normally.  Unless you have several rhubarb plants growing I think forcing is a waste of time for the home gardener.


Posted: 28/11/2013 at 19:06

Hope Clueless is getting better.  What's happened to FairyGirl?  Not seen any posts from her for a while..

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 363
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 327
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 186
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: 176
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 494
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 303
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: 657
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 394
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: 475
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 232
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39


Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 537
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 550
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31

DIY heated propagator

Making one from scratch 
Replies: 48    Views: 4138
Last Post: 30/06/2014 at 19:57

Cost of bird food

bulk vs supermarket 
Replies: 31    Views: 1697
Last Post: 10/02/2014 at 12:33

Wild Garden (Community Channel)

On Freeview/Sky 
Replies: 5    Views: 506
Last Post: 10/12/2013 at 12:21
1 to 15 of 24 threads