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Latest posts by BobTheGardener


Posted: 08/09/2013 at 19:44

I agree with waterbutts and would also suggest improving what you have.  Clay soil is usually very fertile just difficult to work with.  Digging-in as much organic matter as you can lay your hands on (eg mushroom compost) and adding grit will really help.

Transplanting japanese acer

Posted: 08/09/2013 at 19:37

Hi Ian, now is an excellent time to re-pot them.  For permanent plantings like this, the best stuff to use is John Innes number 3.  I usually use 2/3rds JI #3 and 1/3rd JI#2 as that mix is a bit lighter making moving large containers/pots a bit easier.

Nettle Fertiliser

Posted: 08/09/2013 at 16:03

Nettle fertiliser is high in Nitrogen, so is good for leafy things, like brassicas, lettuce, sweetcorn etc.  Anything which fruits needs a bit more Potash - comfrey feed has a better nutrient balance for those.  You can of course use nettle feed on such veg, but dilute it more and add some potash (eg Sulphate of Potash at the recommended dilution) or you may get lots of leafy growth at the expense of fruit.

Pampas grass

Posted: 08/09/2013 at 12:32

Hi Los, when they get really big they are difficult to deal with.  I needed to get rid of mine and had to use a chainsaw to cut it back to a stump.  If you do that it may or may not grow back.  As I wanted rid of mine I just kept using glyphosate on any new growth and it finally died after 2 years - I grow clematis over the stump as I couldn't dig it out - hopefully it will eventualy rot away.  If it is in an open space like a lawn (and not next to a fence like mine) you can set light to the dry stuff in the centre and burn it off.  It will almost certainly grow back but will be much tidier for 3-4 years when you can burn it off again.  I'd recommend wearing leather golves and a leather jacket when tackling it manually or you'll get cut to shreds.  If you do want it out, you may need a stump grinder to get the roots out if it it a big one.

Too much Miracle gro

Posted: 07/09/2013 at 22:54

One thing worth trying is lots of water - say watering the area every day for a week or two.  Nitrates naturally get washed out of soil by rain which is why we have to replace them by using compost or fertilisers etc.  This will only work if you have relatively light free-draining soil - a heavy clay soil will just get waterlogged and your plants won't like that either.

In the long term you are much better off by improving the soil naturally for example by mulching the surface with a layer of compost.  This will be taken down into the soil by worms and as it is broken down by natural bacteria in the soil it will provide all the food your plants need.  As a bonus, the mulch will help prevent the soil drying out so you won't have to water as often.

Squash Query

Posted: 07/09/2013 at 19:13

Green Magpie, there are a lot of different kinds of Winter squashes with all sorts of shapes and colours and some folk call them all butternuts.  If the seed was saved from a squash grown last year, it could be a cross between two different Winter squash varieties and there's no telling what colour or shape it will be.  It will still very likely be very good to eat but the taste may not be as good as a pure-bred variety.

Andrew, if they get frosted they are still good to eat but won't keep.  You can harvest them and ripen them indoors on a sunny windowsill but they are best ripened on the vine if you can.  If the vine is looking the worse for wear and the leaves are already going yellow then you may as well harvest them now as they won't grow any larger with no food coming from the leaves.

Squash Query

Posted: 07/09/2013 at 16:08

Hi Tina, it's best to leave them on the vine as long as possible.  Once all the leaves die or there is a frost forecast then harvest them all as they won't keep if they get frosted.  Most squashes change colour in some way when ripe.  I suspect the yellow stripes on your particular variety will turn to a deep orange when they are ready and the green will get darker.  Squashes will keep for several months indoors - I put them on my conservatory windowsills where they look very decorative.

How does this overwinter in yorkshire ?

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 19:01

Hi lucky3, the RHS says it tolerates dryness and chalk, so a wet acidic moorland might be a challenge.  I would think keeping the worst of the wet from the roots would be the best bet - cold doesn't seem to be an issue as it's hardy throughout the BI.  Perhaps your mum could try cutting it back hard and covering the root area with something waterproof over Winter?  Alternatively, planting it on top of a mound might work.

Gardening Books

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 18:54

Also the RHS "Encyclopedia of Gardening" is just packed with information on just about everything - it's a "must have" for new gardeners in my humble opinion.

Will a shelter help my kiwis to ripen ?

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 18:46

Green Beanz, go to the top of the page and there is a box "search this site" - type kiwi and press the search button - I just got 39 results.  I have about 5 or 6 kiwi plants I grew from the seeds of shop-bought fruit about 6-8 years ago.  I've never even had a flower so you are way ahead of me (in Leics.)!  I've never pruned them properly though but suspect my best bet is to buy a self-fertile variety and get rid of the ones I have.

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1 to 15 of 27 threads