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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

How do I prune this plant?

Posted: 16/04/2013 at 19:56

I'd say it's pampas grass, too.  Cut it back hard now, but if you see any small leaves growing at the base, try not to cut the tips off as unlike most plants, grasses grow from the base not the tip, so you'll see damaged tips all year.  Also watch out for this stuff - as well as having the razor sharp edges, I grew one from seed and it eventually became a real monster and grew to 3m x 3m from a base of about 1 square meter.  They are too big to dig out when that size and only a stump-grinder will rid you of the roots, if you ever tire of it and want to plant something else.


Posted: 15/04/2013 at 23:53

"Of course I can carry one more worm!"


Getting rid of Bindweed

Posted: 15/04/2013 at 20:57

If (when!) you find it growing amongst other plants that you don't want to accidentally kill with the glyphosate spray, train it to grow up a cane.  After a couple of weeks you can slip the cane out and bundle the bindweed into a plastic bag, spraying it inside the bag to prevent the wind blowing the spray about.

What have I got here?

Posted: 14/04/2013 at 23:55

Looks like a Chionodoxa, nutcutlet.  They're usually blue but do come in other colours (well, white and pink, anyway!)


Posted: 14/04/2013 at 12:34

Just in for a cuppa after transferring lots of tomatoes from the modules they germinated in to small pots.  I wish I would just stick to one seed per module with toms but no, I always seem to insist to myself that an extra seed per module is insurance when sowing them.  They all germinate of course (1), meaning I either have to make sacrifices (which I hate doing) or spend 4 times as long (very) carefully separating!

Sunny (but windy) here, very warm (currently at 19C)  Rain due at about 3pm though..

(1) except for those where I only planted one seed...

Raised beds with decking boards

Posted: 13/04/2013 at 22:59

Hi Lorraine, That is an old article.  You can no longer buy pressure-treated wood containing arsenic and chromium as they have been banned for such use.  It doesn't help that authors of articles on the web rarely put a date on them!  Here's a more up to date one:

Just about everyone (including me) uses pressure-treated softwood timber for building raised beds and planters as untreated wood will rot in very short order, unless it is one of the more rot-resistant hardwoods, such as oak, cedar or redwood etc.  Those are all prohibitively expensive for many of us though.

Your idea of lining it with polythene is a good one.  I would also recommend painting it with a water-based wood treatment such as fence paint.  Look for a waterproof one as that will help seal it against any possible leaching of the miniscule amounts of copper which are used in the pressure treatment.

Growing Under Plastic Sheeting

Posted: 13/04/2013 at 18:56

I agree, nutcutlet.  It is useful to help with the initial clearing of a badly weed infested patch, but hand-weeding will always be necessary and is the best way.  I especially don't agree with the permanent laying of membrane as some councils and builders do as it just goes against nature, ruining the soil and natural soil ecosystem (eg starving worms for a start.)  I much prefer using a good depth of mulch as this suppresses weed seedling germination and the perennial weeds are easy to see so can be removed as soon as they poke their heads through.  A mulch will also feed the soil with little need to provide any extra feed. Win-Win.

Growing Under Plastic Sheeting

Posted: 13/04/2013 at 18:29

Many will have recently germinated from weed seeds in the soil because the sheeting has helped warm the soil up.  Others will be perennial weeds like dandelion which start coming up at this time of the year.  Because they will be unable to photosyntensize due to lack of light (I presume they are mostly white/yellow in colour?), they will die as long as you leave the sheeting in place.  To kill all weeds using weed suppressing membrane, you may need to leave it in place for a whole season.  As soon as you plant anything or turn the soil, dormant weed seeds will be brought to the surface though, so membrane is not a panacea.  There's an old gardeners saying that goes "One year's seed is seven years weeds." which is effectively how long it takes of diligent weeding before an area is as weed free as it is possible to make it.

If you have plants ready to go in, I would suggest making slits in the sheet and planting through it for now.  You could hide the sheet with bark chippings for the time being.  Keep peeking under the sheet and when the ground is clear later in the year, remove the bark and cut the rest of the sheet up (so you don't damage anything you have planted) to remove it.

old greenhouse uses??

Posted: 12/04/2013 at 00:41

Hi LeighAnne, is it an aluminium frame?  If so, the glass is held in with wire clips.  Be extremely careful though as old horticultural glass is very brittle and tends to easily break in long extremely sharp pieces when handled, so you need to be well protected all over your body.  If the frame is undamaged, it would be possible to reglaze it, perhaps with polycarbonate replacement panels as those are child-safe.  If you advertised an aluminium framed greenhouse on freecycle as "free but must be dismantled by collector and all broken glass taken away", I have no doubt it would go to a good home and you wouldn't have to pay someone to dismantlle/dispose of it for you.

Old rotten wooden greenhouses are a different matter.

Seeds are up

Posted: 11/04/2013 at 23:28

Lots of stuff sown in the cold greenhouse popping up now.  Cosmos the fastest of those - 4 days.  It's a good job as I have absolutely no space left at all now on windowsills or in the conservatory.  The only no-shows so far are celeriac and nicotiana suaveolens, but the latter came with double the number of seeds as the supplier had noticed low germination rates in testing.  Can't say either will be missed if they don't germinate.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Christmas has come early

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Plant ID quizzes

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Watering dried-out pots

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Only fto be read by your household's main gardener! 
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Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
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A week of rain = jungle garden!

It's been too wet to really do anything outside.. 
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Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

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Last Post: 24/04/2014 at 11:30

Check your delphiniums for caterpillars

Look for distorted and damaged leaves near the tips 
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Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
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Polytunnel growing 
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Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
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Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31

DIY heated propagator

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Last Post: 30/06/2014 at 19:57
1 to 15 of 26 threads