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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Tomato pests

Posted: 30/08/2013 at 19:10

The tomato moth caterpillar is seriously good at hiding.  This is the first year for many that I've been free of it - hooray!  They like hiding in a vertical position against stems, canes etc. during the day.  If you go in with a torch in the night, you have a better chance of catching them and if it's really quiet may even be able to track them down by listening for them munching away.

Get it off your chest

Posted: 30/08/2013 at 19:04

I can't even get my OH out in the garden which, according to her, is simply a jungle of injurous throny stinging plants populated entirely by spiders and wasps.  Because of that I constantly have to tell her what NOT to buy at the supermarket as she has no idea what I grow until it arrives in the kitchen.

We really couldn't be more different - she loves soaps and films while I generally only watch documentaries and science programs.  Oh, and I'm white and she's black just to complete the set!

problem parsnips

Posted: 29/08/2013 at 21:42

Hi Terry, yes carrot fly does indeed affect parsnips in exactly the same way - these two veg are closely related.  The most effective protection is to grow them under fleece.  Other possibilities are to surround them by a barrier at least 18 inches tall (carrot fly are believed to not fly above this height) or to grow a row of 'sacrificial' carrots and hope the fly prefers them to the parsnips.


Posted: 29/08/2013 at 20:03

Courgette plants aren't male or female - they normally produce both male and female flowers but some individual plants can be 'shy' to fruit (from female flowers) for a multitude of reasons from genetics through food available at the roots, competition with other plants, amount of light and temperature.  In other words it's a bit of a lottery really!

Lots of folk have poor runner bean crops this year - some covered in flowers but not being pollinated as bees were sucking the nectar by piercing the base of the flowers instead of climbing inside - cheating!


Posted: 29/08/2013 at 19:40

All you can do now is keep it watered and hope.  Or nip round the local garden centre and surreptitously replace it with one looking as similar as possible and talk about the "miracle cure" you managed to find online..   Ten year olds aren't easily fooled though!

Newbie Help on fungus

Posted: 29/08/2013 at 19:31

Hi Emelia, That is indeed lichen on the very old/dead wood of the rose and lavendar (pics 1 and 5) - nothing to worry about.  Lavendar needs regular pruning to prevent them getting leggy and full of old wood like that, so it's probably been neglected and is now well past its prime - might be time to let it go.  The old dead wood on the rose needs cutiing off when you prune it next Spring.  However, the yellow stuff on pic 2 is some kind of fungi - cut that (dead) branch off flush with the main stem now.  The stems of the buddleia are just old and do go like that.  To keep them tidy you should prune all stems on buddleias back hard in Spring and they will sprout fresh new growth.  The specks on the apples are where a wasp, or bug has had a 'taste', or where a moth has laid an egg.  Normally they are only surface blemishes, quite edible and nothing to worry about.  There is a small possibility that a wasp or moth has laid eggs inside though, so when they are ripe simply peel the skin off where the marks are - if no sign of grubs, no problem.

Help! Crows feasting on my apples

Posted: 29/08/2013 at 19:08

How to cook a crow:

Build a fire and when it is burning well, throw in a couple of rocks and the crow.  When the rocks go soft the crow is ready to eat.

(Adapted from an Australian joke)

Moving Black currant bush

Posted: 29/08/2013 at 19:02

Sybille, now is not the best time to move shrubs like blackcurrant - best to wait until late Autumn.   They are tough plants though, so if you must move it now it would very likely be OK as long as you kept it well watered for the next 6-8 weeks. You want to dig a circle all the way around it and take as much root (with soil still attached) as possible.  The bigger the root-ball the better.  They also grow incredibly easily from cuttings - cut branches that are at least a foot long from a main stem and remove all of the leaves.  Trim the bottoms with a cut straight across and then trim the tops with an angled cut so you are left with 'sticks' about 9-10 inches long.  Plant them so that 2/3rds of the cutting is under the soil.  Wait.  


Posted: 28/08/2013 at 20:13

Hi Lyndab, that's quite an unusual colouring for a starling though I'm sure you're right, looking at the chest plumage.  I think the bee/wasp is actually a hoverfly.

Newbie Help on fungus

Posted: 28/08/2013 at 20:01

The stuff on the apple tree is a lichen as others have said.  However, even the fastest growing lichen only grows at 1cm per year, so I think the other plants you mention are covered in something else - most probably powdery mildew.

Lichen will only grow where the air is of excellent quality as it is killed by pollution so having it is a good sign.

Powdery mildew on the other hand is a pain:


Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Little Red Devils (Lily beetles)

They're about now! 
Replies: 1    Views: 185
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 17:03

Christmas has come early

New trees 
Replies: 9    Views: 818
Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 12    Views: 612
Last Post: 27/11/2014 at 21:12

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 556
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 506
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 366
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: 336
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 645
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 560
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: 1014
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 630
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: 801
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 376
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39


Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 700
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 745
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31
1 to 15 of 27 threads