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Latest posts by BobTheGardener


Posted: 09/08/2013 at 21:39

Julian, I doubt anyone is going to commit themselves to saying yes, but those look like a fine example of edible Field mushrooms (Agaricus campestris) to me.  All I will say is that I would eat them!  I always do this test first:  I take a small piece of one and place it inside my mouth between bottom lip and teeth for two minutes.  If there is any burning sensation, I don't risk it.


Posted: 09/08/2013 at 21:14

Keeping the worst of the rain off of them is the main thing rather than protecting them from the cold.  However, if they germinate before the winter, things get tricky and they would need something like your plastic greenhouse, Red Dahlia.

Gill, you water once when sowing them and only need to keep the compost slightly damp after that.

Have a read about cold stratification here:




Posted: 09/08/2013 at 19:19

Many hardy perennials either require or will germinate better after cold stratification (the technical term for sowing and leaving over winter.)  The best bet is to sow half of your seeds in late autumn and the other half in spring, that way you're covered if any of the over-wintered ones fail.  A cold frame or unheated greenhouse is ideal as too much wet will often "do them in" if left in the open. 


Posted: 09/08/2013 at 18:59

Chris, the roots could have dried out a bit at a critical time during the hot weather.  Raspberries are very shallow rooted so can be affected this way.  If you mulch the ground with a few inches of compost early in the year this can help both feed them and keep the roots from drying out.


Posted: 08/08/2013 at 22:05

Those are the larvae of the infamous red Lily beetle.  The best way is to remove them manually - a messy job but if you don't kill them now they will overwinter in the soil and adult beetles will emerge, lay more eggs and both young and old will devastate your plants next year.


Posted: 08/08/2013 at 21:44

My best tool is a stainless steel wooden handled hand trowel I picked-up from wilkos many years ago.  Next best is a border fork and spade set - also stainless steel.  Those three get more use than anything else by far.  Worst are all in a drawer I rarely open and are mostly gifts from well-meaning friends and family - cheap secateurs and hand forks (never found a use for one!)


Posted: 08/08/2013 at 21:26

Yes, counted 15 Peacock butterflies on a buddlia at coffee break this afternoon.  I'm sure there were more as I could only see one side of the bush.  Wonderful.


Posted: 07/08/2013 at 22:44

Hi Tony, I think it's something to do with the file size as well as the pixel size.  If the test image below works, I'll post back with my settings.


 OK, that worked.

My camera produces pictures of 3072 x 2304 at about 3 to 4 MB each.  However, if I upload them as-is, they don't work, so I open them in Irfanview (a free PC image viewer/editor) and use SaveAs to save them as jpeg at 75% quality which keeps them the same pixel size but compresses them to about 1MB in file size.  Any other application which can do this should also work.

Hope that helps!


Posted: 07/08/2013 at 22:28

Parsnips are one of the slowest maturing veg, need sowing early and harvesting late.  I'm not expecting to harvest any of mine before the first frosts affect the top growth, so I think patience is the answer.


Posted: 07/08/2013 at 19:34

You'll need to experiment to find which varieties taste best when grown in your particular soil as they taste very different when grown in different soils, no matter what the suppliers may say.  I spent a few years buying packs of 10 seeds of 6 different varieties before I found the ones that suit both my pallate and my soil.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Christmas has come early

New trees 
Replies: 9    Views: 235
Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 12    Views: 473
Last Post: 27/11/2014 at 21:12

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 440
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 380
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 249
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: 236
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 552
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 408
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: 867
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 498
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: 541
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 286
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39


Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 585
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 616
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31

DIY heated propagator

Making one from scratch 
Replies: 48    Views: 5005
Last Post: 30/06/2014 at 19:57
1 to 15 of 26 threads