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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

New garden, new area, growing problems

Posted: 15/06/2012 at 00:26

Hi Dudley, It could - most plants prefer neutral to slightly acidic soil.  In alkaline soils, they find it difficult to take in Phsphorous, essential for fruit and veg.  Have a look here:

 and here:

While adding organic matter increases acidity slightly, it sounds like adding sulpher would be your best bet.


Posted: 15/06/2012 at 00:09

Hi Lu, Ants will not cause damage to strawberries by themselves, but if the fruit is damaged by slugs or birds, they will take advantage (as will other insects.)  It is possible that ants have decided that your growbags make a nice nest though!  To encourage them to move on and find another home, water your strawberries well and often - ants hate water and you can't really over-water strawberries in growbags.  If the birds start pecking at them (blackbirds love them), covering them with netting is about all you can do.

Lady birds

Posted: 14/06/2012 at 23:54

Ladybird populations can vary enormously in the same garden from year to year.  If the winter is mild, lots will live through it and your garden can be literally crawling with them in early spring.  They then mate, lay eggs and most will then die, but their larvae (like Marshmello shows) will hatch and eat aphids voraciously, so much so that they may have trouble finding any aphids at all.  If that happens, many will die before they reach the stage where they glue themselves to a leaf and turn into adult ladybirds in late summer, so the next year you may not see many about in early spring.  It's a cycle many predatory animals go through, known scientifically as Predator-Prey Dynamics (or more commonly "foxes and rabbits".)

Broad beans

Posted: 13/06/2012 at 22:38

Probably broad bean rust, which is fairly common but not too damaging.  This is what the RHS says about it:

In short, the beans will be fine, but don't compost the plants when you have picked them all.


Posted: 13/06/2012 at 00:26

If it is insect damage ike leaf miners or cutworms/caterpillars and you are not averse to non-organic controls, give them a spray with a systemic insecticide which will be absorbed and spread throughout the plants.  Provado ultimate bug killer is a good one.  Systemics are the only things that will work against miners, which eat the leaves from the inside, so contact insecticides are useless againt those.


Posted: 12/06/2012 at 23:51

Those lily beetles were mating, so you now need to check beneath every leaf for the eggs.  Luckily, the eggs are also bright red so easily spotted!  If you let them hatch, you'll soon find little brown gooey blobs appearing (the larvae, which live inside their own excrement - yuck!) and can devastate lily plants in very short order.  Squash on sight!


Posted: 12/06/2012 at 23:40

Delphiniums and dahlias are probably slugs and snails favourite snacks, so double-check for them.  They don't always leave obvious trails.  When you say the holes are like the wings of a lacewing, do you mean the structure is intact, but the green material between the veins is being eaten?  If so, it could be a sever leaf miner attack.  A photo would really help.


Posted: 12/06/2012 at 19:13

There's also a tiny wasp predator called Encarsia Formosa which you can buy.  The problem with using predators like these is the cost (they don't come cheap) and there is always a minimum temperature you need to maintain, which is rather tricky in an unheated greenhouse at the moment if you are in the UK!

Clematis from seed?

Posted: 11/06/2012 at 22:50

I must admit to never trying alpinas from seed, Alina.  Must give those a go - I have Frances Rivis which I think has some seed heads on at the moment, so looks like a new project!

Securing Greenhouse Base to Paving Stone Base

Posted: 11/06/2012 at 22:30

Is this on existing paving?  If so, you can drill holes in the slabs using a masonry drill and use rawlbolts to fix galvanised 90 degree angle brackets in the corners, then drill through the base sides and secure to the brackets with stainless steel bolts.  Screwfix are a good place to look for things like that.  If you are also putting down the paving at the same time, you can concrete in the angle brackets when you lay it. 

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
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Last Post: Yesterday at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
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Bob's guide to picking soft fruit

Only fto be read by your household's main gardener! 
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I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
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Check your delphiniums for caterpillars

Look for distorted and damaged leaves near the tips 
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Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
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bulk vs supermarket 
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On Freeview/Sky 
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Front garden revamp - before and after photos

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Last Post: 21/10/2013 at 20:16
1 to 15 of 23 threads