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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Talkback: How to grow aubergines

Posted: 02/04/2015 at 13:59

Try hand-pollinating them Catherine.  The problem with growing them under cover is that the insects can't easily get to them.  Take a small very soft brush (like an artists paintbrush or make-up brush) and gently push it into the centre of every open flower.  If you do that every day, most of the fruit should set providing other conditions are right.

Storing tulip bulbs

Posted: 02/04/2015 at 12:45

James, No - plant them now and let them grow.  They may still flower but if they only grow leaves, just feed them and let the leaves die back naturally and the energy the leaves produce will build-up the bulb for next year.  As it is so late, I would plant them in good compost in pots and add some slow release fertiliser.  They will simply wither away and die if stored.

Rat free bird feeding

Posted: 02/04/2015 at 11:58

Hang the feeders from a horizontal wire stretched between two stout uprights, or trees.  If you have the feeders at least 1 metre from each end, even squirrels have trouble let alone rats.

Contrast or clash; complement and safe

Posted: 02/04/2015 at 10:31

Mine is 'cottagey', so anything goes colour-wise, but the main long borders are east-facing against tall fences or tall hedges, so more thought goes into giving each plant/shrub suitable growing conditions than the colour scheme;  If the plant is happy, so am I and I think there is nothing which catches the eye more than a struggling, sick or generally unhappy plant and that detracts from everything else in the area.  I do group plants though and try to put tall stuff at the back and short at the front, which is usually as far as I go with respect to design.  

Leaf curl

Posted: 01/04/2015 at 18:59

Just in case anyone is thinking of getting a Peach tree, Avalon Pride show excellent resistance to peach leaf curl.  I only have to remove a dozen or so leaves each year and it produces excellently flavoured, very juicy, 'shop-size' peaches.

cottage garden

Posted: 01/04/2015 at 18:49

I have always struggled with rudbeckia, echinaceas, galliardia and the like on my much-improved clay soil.  Those are all finicky plants and simply don't like growing in some areas, especially if it's somewhere with a lot of winter wet and/or a frost-hollow.  However, there are plants which will give you equally gorgeous blooms such as dahlias (as long as you lift them in winter),  delphiniums (both perennial and annual types), foxgloves etc.  Another 'trick' is to grow young plants on in large 2-3 litre pots for a year or two before planting them out.  Large mature plants fare much better in less-than-ideal conditions than small ones.

Identify Plants

Posted: 01/04/2015 at 18:29
Voyagerxp wrote (see)

I've been having problems with my pics not zooming, don't know why.


Keep them under 1MB in size and they should zoom OK.

problems with keyboard

Posted: 31/03/2015 at 19:11

Try clearing your browser cache.  That helps with most devices when you get this sort of problem, whatever they are.  If you don't know how to do it on a Kindle Fire:


Talkback: How to increase tomato yields

Posted: 31/03/2015 at 19:03

Gardener's Delight are one of the best flavoured of the older varieties, so you should be in for a pleasant surprise.   Modern hybrid cherry-sized varieties like Sungold are sweeter and have more flavour too, but the seeds won't come true if you save them.

My top-tip for flavour is to avoid over-watering and over-feeding.  As our resident tomato expert Italiophile says, give them 'tough love' and they'll reward you!

Removing raspberry runners

Posted: 30/03/2015 at 19:32

Nope, but it's worth severing the runners, effectively giving you separate clumps of canes, as once a plant gets a virus (usually transmitted by aphids), the virus can travel along the runners.  I have kept some autumn bliss from the original stock I got about 25 years ago by digging-up 'rougue' runners and replanting where I wanted them.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener


Hope it finds it's way home 
Replies: 3    Views: 197
Last Post: 26/04/2016 at 18:22

Vine weevils

..ate all of my winter carrots! 
Replies: 8    Views: 1007
Last Post: 01/01/2016 at 22:01

Huge pest problem

Don't think netting will work 
Replies: 10    Views: 653
Last Post: 19/12/2015 at 21:00

Renovate or remove privet hedge?

Replace or cut back hard? 
Replies: 19    Views: 1135
Last Post: 20/09/2015 at 13:33


No real rain here for weeks 
Replies: 11    Views: 495
Last Post: 07/06/2015 at 18:41

Little Red Devils (Lily beetles)

They're about now! 
Replies: 1    Views: 516
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 17:03

Christmas has come early

New trees 
Replies: 9    Views: 1106
Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 12    Views: 909
Last Post: 27/11/2014 at 21:12

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 884
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 823
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 690
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: 597
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 974
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 869
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: 1356
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42
1 to 15 of 32 threads