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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Greenhouse heating

Posted: 23/11/2015 at 19:12

I think SG is about right Yviestevie, they can tend to turn off a bit too quickly because of the warmer air nearby recirculating.  A thermostat is better as you can place it further away.  I have a heated bench made with soil warming cable and a thermostat which keeps the roots at a set temperature and that seems to work well, especially with a bit of fleece draped over the pots.  I don't have that many really tender things to keep going over winter though.

Greenhouse heating

Posted: 22/11/2015 at 20:57

John, you can buy inexpensive greenhouse fan heaters which have a thermostat built-in.  They are splash-proof and many have a 'frost' setting so they only come on enough to keep the temperature above zero.

If you want something more sophisticated with more precise control over temperature, then have a look here:


Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 22/11/2015 at 20:49

I know what you mean Pat.  I collected some cotoneaster berries a couple of years ago and they nearly all germinated.  I now have a dozen cotoneasters in pots taking up room and absolutely no space available to plant them!  I really enjoy the challenge of germinating perennial and shrub/tree seeds though and don't think I'll be changing any time soon!


Posted: 22/11/2015 at 19:10

Hi Susan, the bright red flowers are the giveaway that it is a non-hardy type (almost certainly Cyclamen persicum.)  Those are best grown indoors, or at least dug-up, potted and kept indoors well before the first frost.  The hardy types for oudoor use are almost all pink/purple or white and have small flowers about 1.5 to 2cm in size.

Garden centres etc sell the large flowered non-hardy types as annuals so unless you dig them up and look after them over the winter they will die.

Sprout harvesting

Posted: 22/11/2015 at 18:34

You can leave sprouts in the ground as long as you want to during Winter as they are completely hardy.  If fact many folk think they taste better once they have been exposed to a hard frost.  They will hardly grow at all at this time of the year so you shouldn't get problems with the sprouts opening-up (aka 'blowing').

Planting Viburnum × bodnantense Dawn, WHEN?

Posted: 21/11/2015 at 14:34

Just noticed the one I planted in autumn last year is in flower:

Looks a bit sad as it's about to lose it's leaves after last night's cold wind but is flowering like a good 'un for such a young shrub.   The smell is gorgeous!

Bare root agapanthus

Posted: 21/11/2015 at 14:02

They prefer slightly acid to neutral (pH 5 to 7) but are not fussy although I wouldn't risk planting in pure ericaceous which will be about pH 4 to 4.5.  The issue with acid soil is that it prevents the take up of certain nutrients.

Grease bands

Posted: 20/11/2015 at 12:45

Probably not, or not much.  Grease bands are primarily to prevent ants climbing trees to 'farm' aphids and to stop Winter moth caterpillars, neither of which are a cause of maggots in fruit.

Maggoty fruit is caused by flying insects, such as the Codling moth and Plum moth.  You can buy hormone traps for those which can help a little but are primarily intended to tell you when to spray with insecticide.  If you don't want to use insecticides then try the hormone traps alone and you might get a little less damage.

Or just close your eyes when you eat the fruit!

frost and soil

Posted: 20/11/2015 at 12:36

Fully agree.  Unless we have a prolonged period below freezing, frost only penetrates a few milimeters into soil and probably won't affect soil under membrane at all.  When exposed frozen clumps of soil thaw, the thin layer affected by frost will crumble and be washed off by the next rain, exposing a new layer to be broken down by the next frost.

Is this fungus

Posted: 16/11/2015 at 00:29

If it is only affecting that branch then removing it might well save the tree.  Cut the branch off at the collar, close to the trunk in midsummer.  Instructions here:

The second photo down on this page shows the collar:

Don't be tempted to remove the branch until early to mid summer otherwise the bacterial canker could spread or the tree could be infected with silver leaf disease which would definitely finish it off.

Hope it works Tony.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Renovate or remove privet hedge?

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They're about now! 
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New trees 
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Have fun identifying plants! 
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Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

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

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
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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! 
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Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 786
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 695
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: 1176
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 833
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: 1295
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 507
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39
1 to 15 of 29 threads