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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Is this a weed?

Posted: 28/07/2013 at 18:23

I'm pretty sure that's a weed - I recognise those black markings but cannot remember exactly what it is at the moment - possibly one of the nightshades.

What's the star in your garden right now

Posted: 28/07/2013 at 17:07

The peppers are 'Atris' and 'Gypsy' - both F1s and first time I've tried these two.  Sikorski is a really good 'doer' Verdun - similar to Elsa Spath in colour - have that too. 


Posted: 28/07/2013 at 17:03

Yes, fantastic year for them here too, Verdun.  I know what you mean about deciding which is the best taste but the fact is any home-grown tom is so much more delicious than a supermarket one that you can't really believe they are the same things!  Some of mine are so tasty they almost hurt the tongue!

pruning native trees

Posted: 28/07/2013 at 16:55

Hi Carole, as far as the hazels go, you can coppice those (ie cut right back to the ground) and they will quickly grow back without issue (and also provide you with a lot of useful wooden stakes, pea sticks etc.)  You would do that after leaf fall.  I'll leave others to advise you on the rest, but suspect you are best to wait for winter before doing any large scale pruning (except the Holly - early spring to early summer for that.)

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.

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: 805
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: 485
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 346
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: 320
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 630
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: 698
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 360
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: 727
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31
1 to 15 of 27 threads