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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

It Is Not Spring Yet !!!

Posted: 19/02/2013 at 18:50

-3.3C at 6.30am this morning (nr Leicester)  It was below freezing in the unheated greenhouse, too.  Coldframe fared better at +2C.  Still a month of Winter to go, don'tchaknow..

What is this plant

Posted: 18/02/2013 at 23:06

Nut, I also thought it might be an ice plant and was just going to ask about the leaves! Sedums would be about that size at the time when a peony flowers.

what can I put in compost

Posted: 18/02/2013 at 22:39

Super Gran, All shredders can get blocked, particularly by putting in too much soft green wet stuff all at once.  Over the years, I've learnt to feed it with a balanced diet (bit like myself, really!)  I keep two piles of stuff, one 'wet' and one 'dry' and put some 'wet' stuff in, followed by about 4 times as much 'dry'.  I find this keeps it from blocking too often, but some stuff (eg pampas grass, sweetcorn leaves) contains long tough fibres and these tend to get wrapped around spinning parts, so I try to avoid putting in stuff like that  (I chop it in to small bits with secateurs instead.)

what can I put in compost

Posted: 18/02/2013 at 19:32

I forget not everyone has a shredder, Geoff!  One alternative for twiggy stuff like rose prunings is hitting them a few times with a hammer/mallet on a stone surface which crushes them nicely.

what can I put in compost

Posted: 18/02/2013 at 19:20

Hi Bev,  Rather than separate, you want to mix things up well.  Ideally, about 80% dry stuff to 20% soft green matter.  Turn the whole lot regularly and in about 3 months you will have some good stuff!  Any of the things you mention are fine, but avoid perennial weed roots (eg dandelion) and don't add cooked food (attracts rats.)

Care & maintenance of elderly Bramley apple trees.

Posted: 18/02/2013 at 18:39

Pruning of very old apple trees is usually limited to removing dead and diseased wood.  If you find any dead branches, cut them back to healthy wood, and also remove any cankerous growth.  Here's the RHS advice on renovative pruning:

If there isn't any dead wood, I'd be extremely tempted to do nothing.  One other idea might be to plant a new tree of another variety and graft some scions or buds from the old Bramley trees onto it.  RHS fruit tree grafting advice:


Raised beds with Clay soil

Posted: 16/02/2013 at 22:29

In order to improve the structure of clay soil, you can add organic matter like compost and grit/sharp sand, but it is a lot of hard work.  Clay soil is naturally very fertile so no need to add fertiliser.  One problem with weed membranes is that while they do stop weeds growing they also prevent the normal process of worms taking down leaves, and other organic matter which collects on the surface, into the soil.  Personally, I'd remove the barrier and put a few inches of compost on top of the soil as a surface mulch.  Over time this will become incorporated into soil by worms and as you plant things.  As long as you replace the surface mulch with more compost after planting, and as it is gradually taken down by worms, it will help to keep weeds at bay.  "Lazy mans" gardening if you like, but a very natural process!

berry colour

Posted: 16/02/2013 at 21:56

Could it be that they aren't fully ripening?  That might happen if they are growing without enough sun.  They would have been given perfect conditions in the nursery of course.  One thing worth trying is to feed them with a high potash feed which will help any kind of fruit to ripen.  Acid conditions make it harder for plants to take in nutrients like potash, so the ericaceous compost nearby might have had some effect by raising the acidity of adjacent soil enough to make potash uptake difficult (just a guess really.)

New deliveries

Posted: 16/02/2013 at 18:04

Just got back inside after the first decent day for gardening I've had this year.  It was a good job as I had 3 young cherries and an apple tree as well as 3 roses (all bare root) delivered in the last couple of days and they need to be planted ASAP of course.  It took me longer to decide where to put them than it did to actually plant them though!  Also got started on some clematis pruning and, after looking around, there's a lot more of that needed in the days ahead..  Signs of life everywhere - growth sure does speed up when the weather picks up even slightly at this time of the year!

could this be the cause?

Posted: 15/02/2013 at 20:12

We once had similar which were fruit flies and were coming from an orange which had rolled unnoticed behind the washing machine.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 281
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 295
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 158
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: 144
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 458
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 267
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: 510
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 349
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: 424
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 205
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39


Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 507
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 513
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31

DIY heated propagator

Making one from scratch 
Replies: 48    Views: 3717
Last Post: 30/06/2014 at 19:57

Cost of bird food

bulk vs supermarket 
Replies: 31    Views: 1539
Last Post: 10/02/2014 at 12:33

Wild Garden (Community Channel)

On Freeview/Sky 
Replies: 5    Views: 472
Last Post: 10/12/2013 at 12:21
1 to 15 of 24 threads