Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Help on a plant ID please

Posted: 11/02/2017 at 19:17

Looks like ground elder to me.  The roots are very invasive and the only real ways to control it are to either dig out the roots completely (almost impossible as any little bit left will regenerate) or to use a herbicide.

No doubt some will say leave it alone or that you can eat it, but having had to deal with this in my own garden I would urge you to srongly consider spraying the whole area with glyphosate based weedkiller in late spring and repeating as necessary.

Last edited: 11 February 2017 19:18:50

Growing shubs close to fence to limit spread

Posted: 10/02/2017 at 18:57

Agree, all too big really, especially the mahonia which needs to be big to look good IMO.  The yellow Choisya Ternata 'Sundance' isn't as strong a grower as the normal one so might be OK, especially as they respond well to pruning.  Here's the RHS list of smaller shrubs to look through:

Ivy Eating Insects.

Posted: 08/02/2017 at 18:47

I'll second that B3!

Can I halve chitted potatoes?

Posted: 08/02/2017 at 18:39

Yes you can as long as there are some 'eyes' on each half.  Best to cut them a few days before planting to give the cut faces a chance to callous over.

Growing melons in a raised bed

Posted: 07/02/2017 at 18:56

The 'growhouse' covering will definitely help - I've grown melons in a polytunnel and an unheated greenhouse with reasonable success.  They do take up a lot of space though and I wouldn't try more than 3 in a bed that size and ideally only 2.  If you can provide some support they can be tied-in to it and be grown vertically, but you will then have to support the fruit too (old tights or netting works.)  Follow the growing advice carefully about nipping out the shoots etc. or you'll end up with a sprawling mass of vine and leaves with little or no fruit.  RHS growing and pruning advice here:

One tip I can give is about when to harvest - use you nose!  They smell really sweet when ready.

Good luck if you give them a go.

What could this be?

Posted: 06/02/2017 at 22:50

SBK brushwood killer or Deep Root tree stump killer will definitely see it off.  Drill vertical holes into it and pour it in neat to be sure (cover with a bit of duct tape to keep wildlife and pets safe.)  Don't cut it off and concrete over until you are certain it is dead though - new growth will easily break through an inch or two of concrete!

Plant losses, phormium, fatsia japonica

Posted: 06/02/2017 at 22:43

Are you sure it's not a two-legged pest?

What could this be?

Posted: 06/02/2017 at 22:33

If the leaves are something else then it could be buddleia which is another tree which likes to grow in such places.  The smell test is diagnostic for elder though.  Buddleia leaves are slightly furry when young and don't really smell.  It's difficult to tell scale from the photo but if the stump is less than 2 inches in diameter, I wouldn't be worried about structural damage.  The stump must be killed though.

What could this be?

Posted: 06/02/2017 at 22:10

If those leaves belong to it, it could be a sambucus nigra (elderberry) which are notorious for growing in places like that.  However, there is little evidence of elder causing damage to foundations.  If the roots penetrate drainage pipes they can eventually block them but if there are no signs of drains being blocked then a regular dose of a brushwood killer such as SBK will kill it and the remaining stump will rot away after a few years - much quicker than (say) an ash tree sapling (which is another common tree which likes to seed itself into similar situations, but far more damaging.)

To be sure, crush a leaf between your thumb and fingers - if it smells highly pungent then it is almost certainly elder and not a great worry.

Growing sweet potato

Posted: 06/02/2017 at 18:58

Hi Chris, I tried large (15cm long), well developed plugs of 3 different varieties which were recommended for UK conditions (purchased at quite some cost as I recall) and grew them in a polytunnel in Leics.  The top growth was excellent but, come harvest time, the resulting crop of tubers was very disappointing.  Others on here have had better results though.

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