London (change)
Today 18°C / 11°C
Tomorrow 17°C / 11°C


Latest posts by BobTheGardener

What's the star in your garden right now

Posted: 28/07/2013 at 16:42

Clematis 'Polish Spirit' is looking great right now - the two pics below are taken from opposite sides of the fence:

 Tree lillies (left), clematis Hagley Hybrid (centre), General Sikorski (right):

 Hagley Hybrid in full bloom:

 Quite pleased with my sweet peppers (conservatory), too:


can i eat last years crop of potatoes

Posted: 28/07/2013 at 15:53

Hi Sherry,  If you mean there were potatoes left in the plot and these have now grown and produced full size plants, each old parent (aka seed) potato will have developed a new crop of young potatoes by now which are fine to eat.  The parent potato will normally have rotted away at this time of the year - those are the ones (one per plant) to avoid.

Not sure what these plant is...

Posted: 28/07/2013 at 14:30

Can you take a photo of the whole plant Sam?  Lots of leaves look alike when detached and it's easier if we can see the growth habit.

Talkback: How to grow purple-sprouting broccoli

Posted: 28/07/2013 at 11:50

Nutcutlet is right.  There are several varieties but the ones I think you mean are sown and grown in just the same way (and at the same time) as any other brassica, but they go dormant when the weather gets cold.  Being fully hardy they survive the winter.  They then start throwing up spears in early spring, which are produced from the stored energy in the fully grown plant.  Effectively it is a biennial - grows one year and flowers, seeds and dies the next.  We simply eat the flowers before they open.

How to deal with old gravel?

Posted: 28/07/2013 at 11:34

Also be aware that weedkiller doesn't kill moss.  If you wanted to re-use them, an hour in a concrete mixer while spraying them with a jet-hose would do the trick but would be a messy job, something to which Fairygirl has alluded - you would likely end up being saturated with dirty back-spray!  If you have heavy/clay soil then digging them in to flower beds would benefit the soil.  They also make an excellent drainage layer at the bottom of raised beds if you are considering making any.


Posted: 28/07/2013 at 11:23

Hi John, the answer is "it depends"..

Received wisdom says that once you have 4 or 5 trusses that you should pinch-out the tops of the plants which will prevent any more flower trusses being produced.  However, you only want to do this if all of the lower trusses have already set fruit which may not be the case - I have had years in which the bottom two trusses failed to set so doing that would have resulted in a very small crop.  My advice is to nip out the tops once you have 4 or 5 trusses of SET fruit, or when the tops of the plants have reached roof level or have otherwise out-grown the available space.  The other consideration is the weather and time of the year - if there isn't enough time left for new fruit to grow and ripen then you don't want the plant to waste energy producing fruit which will never ripen.  That one is a judgement call as it depends on local growing conditions.  Commericial producers with heated greenhouses grow tomato plants to 20+ feet tall for instance.

What's the weather like in your area?

Posted: 27/07/2013 at 21:32

According to my weather station 27 mm (over an inch) in the last hour and still going strong! (Leicestershire)

Tomatoes not Ripening

Posted: 27/07/2013 at 17:27

I'd need a lot of convincing that any of those things can have any impact on ripening.  I started mine late this year (sown on Good Friday) and they are ripening just fine.  I have 10 varieties including 'heritage' Italian, so the seeds are likely to have come from all over the world.

What is different this year is the compost which has been available.  Most of the common suppliers are using new formulas because of the upcoming restriction on using peat as a base.  Luckily, the one I use hasn't changed yet.  Are you using commercial compost and if so does it appear any different this year to previous years?  Are you growing more than one variety so we can eliminate a bad batch of seeds?  I feel sure this can only be a cultural matter.

PS, once the temperature goes above about 27C, this will slow down growth just as low temperatures will, so the recent hot weather may not actually be helping!

where do I find this strange onion?

Posted: 27/07/2013 at 02:47

Other common (or maybe not so common these days!) names are 'tree onions' and 'walking onions'.

dead wisteria but possible

Posted: 26/07/2013 at 19:40

It depends whether the original was grafted.  If so, the new shoot from the roots will be different.  If it wasn't a grafted one, the new shoot will grow into an identical form.  Either way, it will likely take a few years before it will flower again though - just keep up with the recommended way of pruning.

I know this may not help but I had a similar experience with one of my Wisteria but the new shoot eventually died too, about 2 seasons later.  When I dug it out I found the roots had been attacked by Honey Fungus.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Little Red Devils (Lily beetles)

They're about now! 
Replies: 1    Views: 149
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 17:03

Christmas has come early

New trees 
Replies: 9    Views: 803
Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 12    Views: 599
Last Post: 27/11/2014 at 21:12

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 541
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 481
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 342
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: 319
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 629
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 534
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: 993
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 607
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: 691
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 359
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39


Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 678
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 725
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31
1 to 15 of 27 threads