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Latest posts by BobTheGardener


Posted: 19/10/2013 at 18:18

Hi all, just managed to finish planting 150 crocus, 25 hyacinth and half a dozen heuchera into my new beds before the rain started - it really came down hard in very visible sheets!  No need to water anything in now in though.

Help needed with Twisted Hazel Tree

Posted: 19/10/2013 at 18:04

I agree with Dove.  The black leaves may just have been coated with honeydew from aphids.  This thin layer of sugars excreted by the aphids usually does turn black at this time of the year when a kind of black mould grows on it.  If it's that it won't harm your tree and the leaves will fall off very soon anyway as hazels of all kinds are losing  their leaves right now.  

What tree is this?

Posted: 19/10/2013 at 13:57

Andrew, yes, that is definitely hawthorn.  However, don't worry about putting poisonous plants or berries onto your compost heap.  The bacteria in compost heaps will happily break down any type of plant material into harmless compost and there is absolutely no danger of any plant poisons remaining and being taken up into your vegetables when the compost is later used on them.


Preparing bed for onions

Posted: 18/10/2013 at 23:27

No, Madeleine, I start them off in Spring.  I've tried Autumn planting with a few things (onions and broad beans come to mind) but they never do very well for me - having clay soil probably doesn't help - I would imagine if you have lighter, better drained soil it would worth trying though.

To Manure or not to Manure

Posted: 18/10/2013 at 21:55

Yep, comfrey brew is excellent stuff.  Nettle tea has more nitrate so more suited to leafy veg and comfrey is more balanced so perfect for flowers and fruit.  Either will work extremely well on your broccoli but I'd use the nettle on the broccoli and save the comfrey for tomatoes etc.

Preparing bed for onions

Posted: 18/10/2013 at 19:06

Onions are greedy feeders so adding anything rich in nutrients to the soil will help.  I also use fish, blood and bone and mix a few good handfulls into a bucket of home made compostm with each set getting a trowelfull when they are planted out (I start them in modules in the cold GH.)   The resulting onions are pretty consistently tennis-ball sized, sometimes larger.

To Manure or not to Manure

Posted: 18/10/2013 at 18:42

If the patch has had one good lot of manure in it this year that should be good enough.  Broccoli and other brassicas needs Nitrogen and that is being supplied by the dead roots of the runner beans which 'fix' their own Nitrogen from the air (actually it's symbiotic bacteria which grow in bean root nodules which do the business.)  If you want to give the broccoli a boost once it is planted, use a high-nitrate fertiliser such as nettle tea, chicken pellets or use growmore pellets if you don't mind using non-organic fertilisers.

Blackberries bush

Posted: 17/10/2013 at 23:40

Hi Gemma, No need for any pruning yet.  The stems which grew this year will produce sideshoots which will flower and produce fruit next year.  Once they have, you cut the whole fruited stem right back to the ground.  Every Spring new shoots will also grow from just below the soil near the base and these will fruit the following year so you should tie these in to supports as they grow.  More detailed advice from the RHS is here:


Willow Tree fungi problems

Posted: 17/10/2013 at 21:08

Agree 100% with Dove.  I had a 70 foot tall rotting Ash tree blown down several years ago.  It totally destroyed 2 greenhouses and 5 or 6 fence panels, wrecked the conservatory and took a few tiles off of the roof.  The appearance of Honey fungus and a branch dropping in Autumn were the only signs of an otherwise healthy looking tree.  It turned out that the entire centre of the trunk was rotten, leaving just a few inches of solid wood beneath the bark.


Posted: 16/10/2013 at 18:52

Good news Matt - with the dark nights approaching you can get some stuff done in the garden while you're off.  I'm now limited to a few minutes after I get home from work so have to squeeze it all in at the weekends.  150 crocus to go in my new raised beds this weekend - I think I'll just keep sticking a handful of fingers & thumb in the soil and pushing the bulbs in the holes - at least they'll get planted in groups of 5 and planting things in odd numbers is supposed to look best!

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 283
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 295
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 158
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: 144
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 458
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 268
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: 514
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 350
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: 424
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 205
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39


Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 507
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 514
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31

DIY heated propagator

Making one from scratch 
Replies: 48    Views: 3717
Last Post: 30/06/2014 at 19:57

Cost of bird food

bulk vs supermarket 
Replies: 31    Views: 1540
Last Post: 10/02/2014 at 12:33

Wild Garden (Community Channel)

On Freeview/Sky 
Replies: 5    Views: 473
Last Post: 10/12/2013 at 12:21
1 to 15 of 24 threads