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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

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!

What new veg varieties have you tried?

Posted: 16/10/2013 at 18:42

I grew calabrese Kabuki for the first time this year and was impressed.  It was grown with close spacing but still produced good sized heads which were followed by sideshoots when cut.  I'd recommend successional sowing though as I had a glut!


Posted: 15/10/2013 at 19:06

Hi Mazza, best to prune during December or January when the tree is completely dormant.  When you cut it back, always do it flush with an existing sideshoot or the main trunk if removing a whole branch.  Acers don't really like being pruned much, so try to make as few cuts as possible - better to take a large section/branch out than trim lots of small bits at the end of branches.


Anyone know what this is

Posted: 15/10/2013 at 18:57

Hi Raymond, not it's not poisonous if it is Honey Fungus which is in fact edible, but I wouldn't risk eating it unless identified in-person by an expert.  Interestingly there aren't actually that many deadly fungi in the UK, but there are a lot that will make you very ill.

Front garden revamp - before and after photos

Posted: 15/10/2013 at 18:47

Thanks for all the kind comments everyone!

As for plants, that's where the real fun starts isn't it!

I have a couple of clematis in mind for the bed below the trellis and might try a semi-exotic fruit tree in the one by the door - in the existing bed there is already a peach which does well as the front of the house is South-facing.  Lots of bulbs will be going in first (well, they will if the blummin' things ever arrive - still no sign of them from VM!) Also fancy a weeping cherry in the centre of the large bed.

The soil was bought from rolawn - half is their fruit and veg mix (which had a lot of what looked like very well rotted horse manure in it) and half is their border mix.  As you say Verdun, prep is itally important - one thing I've learnt over the years about both DIY and gardening is that money and time spent on preparation always pays back far more thank you realise - a £10 plant in a £10 hole will do far better than a £20 plant plonked in an unprepared hole!

Front garden revamp - before and after photos

Posted: 13/10/2013 at 18:11

Hi all, In the Summer I decided it was finally time to 're-do' my small front garden and drive.  The 30 year old crazy paving layed by the previous owner was beyond repair and the wood (cut from a fallen Ash tree about 15 years ago) which supported my raised beds had finally rotted away.  On other threads I promised to post some before and after pics, so here they are.




 I put 2 layers of weed membrane down followed by 2 layers of landscaping fabric to proect against puncture by the blue slate chippings.  Next door is infested with ground elder, so needed to make sure that doesn't find its way into my new beds (but it probably will, eventually!)

What new flower seeds are you going to grow in 2014

Posted: 12/10/2013 at 23:59

Haven't decided yet (just getting the catalogues in for the usual nights of Winter browsing - it's not quite the same doing on the web!)  I usually grow hardy perennials, shrubs and trees from seed which can be quite challenging but very rewarding as the natural variation you get in seed sown plants can produce unique specimens.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Little Red Devils (Lily beetles)

They're about now! 
Replies: 1    Views: 135
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 17:03

Christmas has come early

New trees 
Replies: 9    Views: 792
Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 12    Views: 588
Last Post: 27/11/2014 at 21:12

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 531
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 472
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 330
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: 314
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 620
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 523
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: 980
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 597
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: 663
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 356
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39


Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 662
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 713
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31
1 to 15 of 27 threads