BobTheGardener


Latest posts by BobTheGardener

fruit border help/advice needed

Posted: 16/09/2013 at 23:50

I would agree that going for early cropping varieties of whichever fruit trees you decide on is a good idea as it will give them more time to ripen in the shady conditions.  Most fruit trees can be trained to have a long trunk with a 'lollipop' or larger head simply by progressively pruning the lower branches off almost flush with the trunk while it is young.  Remove a third of the leader each Winter just above a strong shoot which will turn into a new leader.  Winter pruning will make pruned branches grow more strongly in the Spring.  Once the tree has reached the maximum height you want, you can Summer prune the leader each year which will restrict its growth.  Trees trained this way are sometimes called 'minarette' or 'columnar' fruit trees.

As it happens I have bought a few (normal type) trees from the company waterbutts mentioned and have been pleased - large, well-grown young trees which were very well packed for delivery.  Whoever you decide to buy from, give them a ring, explain what you are trying to achieve and ask them which rootstock they would recommend for the variety you are after to achieve the height you want - any good supplier will be happy to help.

 

honey fungus

Posted: 16/09/2013 at 23:17

Sorry, I mis-read and missed the bit about it not being in your garden.  Annoying as there's a lot less you can do about it if your neighbour is just going to let things (literally) rot!  One thing which might help is to keep the soil cultivated next to the hedge, effectively creating a barrier between the tree and your garden.  Digging will break any rhizomorphs which radiate out from the tree and try to cross the strip.  The rhizomorphs can't live when disconnected from the main fungal body.  From the pdf you can see that sandy soil inhibits rhizomorph growth whereas peaty soil promotes it so if you dig plenty of sharp sand into the strip it will do two things: keep it easy to regularly dig-over and also help to restrict the spread of the tendrils.  You can probably find annuals which can thrive in the sandy soil of such a protective strip.  Good luck and I hope you don't lose your fruit trees and bushes.

honey fungus

Posted: 16/09/2013 at 18:55

If you have the tree (including roots) removed, this may help.  Honey Fungus requires a home/base of dead wood to grow from.  If this 'home' is rotten wood within your old cherry tree, complete removal of the tree and roots followed by cultivation of the soil in the area might well rid you of the problem.  If the infected roots aren't removed as well as the tree, it could remain a problem for many years.  You might find this fact sheet (pdf) useful:

http://www.gov.gg/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=4797&p=0

 

Planting Potatoes

Posted: 13/09/2013 at 23:45

The only way to have home-grown potatoes most of the year is to grow all of the types above but many more maincrop than the rest.  Store the maincrop ones in sacks in a cool dark place.  By doing this I manage to not have to buy potatoes for about 10 months on average but haven't quite made a full year.

Caterpillars

Posted: 13/09/2013 at 23:28

Could it be a Buff-tip moth caterpillar?  Quite a big moth.

Leeks

Posted: 13/09/2013 at 23:11

It's caused by spores of the leek rust fungus which are blown in by wind.  As the particular rust which affects leeks spends its whole time on living plants and doesn't survive on dead leaves, it's likely it was blown from another infected plant in the surrounding area.  Leeks are one of the few veg that can be growing at any time of the year, so there's always a host around somewhere.  I had it on my leeks about 10 years ago but never before or since.

Help needed plant/weed

Posted: 13/09/2013 at 22:14

A fine example of a weed called Fat Hen which produces abot 20,000 seeds so it's not surprising they get everywhere and probably in the compost of the plant you were given!  Here the link on this site:

http://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/problems/weeds/fat-hen/467.html

 

Grape vines

Posted: 13/09/2013 at 19:07

Hi Jacqui, yes it will much prefer being in the ground to a pot.  You can plant it out at any time, but now is ideal.  Congrats of finding a home you are happy to finally settle in!  

Bilberry

Posted: 13/09/2013 at 12:29

Good idea about the windbreak, Obeliixx - now you've mentioned it I think I'll do the same with fleece and leave the frame up so it can be netted after the bees have done their job to prevent the birds scoffing the lot!  I was thinking of building a proper fruit cage and moving everything into it but, like you, I don't mind the birds having a fair share.  However, I've a feeling the wood pigeons equate the phrase "fair share" with "eat every single one even if it means getting too heavy to fly"!

re- what to grow next year

Posted: 13/09/2013 at 12:19

Simon, the 'fartichoke' thing is genetic - either you are affected or aren't.  I am, but that has never stopped me from eating them - superb roasted!  Once you plant them they are there forever though (barring glyphosate) - I still have them coming up in my fuit patch even though Ive been digging every one up as soon as I see it for 6 or 7 years.

I agree about climbing French beans but they are a bit picky about the weather so growing several types every year is good insurance against one of them giving a poor crop.  Cobra usually do well for me but were pitiful last year.

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