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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Recycling things to use in the garden

Posted: 26/02/2013 at 23:08
Miss C wrote (see)

Fruit punnets already have holes punched in so are useful as planting trays or for cut and come again salad leaves in the house.  Plastic take away tubs also get used as plant trays in our house.

I use those too and also sometimes put one on top, sticking a bit of tape long the join on one side, effectively making a mini-propagator.

That's shallot!

Posted: 26/02/2013 at 22:44

Hi Verdun, Yes, the shallot bulbs will send out several shoots each and slowly 'split' with usually 6-8 new bulbs forming in a circle, so I grow them about 8-10 inches apart.  Like onions, they're greedy plants so give them plenty of feed.  I usually trowel a bit of fish, blood and bone into each planting position. Given a reasonable summer, they can produce a really good crop!

Early sowing

Posted: 26/02/2013 at 18:50

The good news is you can bury the stem of both brassicas and tomatoes, planting them up to the first leaves but, IME, it's always better to wait a bit before sowing unless you have a very well lit place which remains between 5C and 15C.  The windowsill in an unheated room is usually about right.  Centrally heated rooms are too warm.  To maximise light, you can place part of a cardboard box covered in tin foil behind them, so the front of the seedlings get light directly from the window and the back of the plants get light reflected from the foil.

It Is Not Spring Yet !!!

Posted: 26/02/2013 at 18:33

Same happened to me in the greenhouse last weekend, Joyce.  I removed the old soil from the borders and then realised I had no feeling left in my fingers.  It's supposed to be a bit warmer in there, too!


Posted: 26/02/2013 at 18:27
Leggi wrote (see)
There isn't an option to insert smileys on an iPhone or iPad, you can guess some but it would be useful if the smart technical people would change the settings for us to be able to use the site in full.

Yes, someone should contact Apple and tell them to make their devices work with existing standards!

Grape vine for my band stand....

Posted: 24/02/2013 at 16:43

Good luck, Tilley, and do heed their advice about preparing the planting hole well as effort put in there now will pay huge dividends later.  Vines really, really need to develop a good root system for the first few years, so if any bunches of grapes form in the first couple of years (and certainly the first year), do cut them off, however tempting it is to leave them on!  With new vines, letting them fruit in their first year may exhaust the stored energy in the wood and it will then take much longer to establish (or may even die!) 


Posted: 24/02/2013 at 14:34

Nettle 'soup' will be high in nitrogen, so use on leafy crops like lettuce and brassicas.  Comfrey will be better as a general feed, especially for fruiting plants like tomatoes as it has a higher potash and phosphate content than liquid feed made only from nettles.  I use comfrey feed on everything though, with great results.  An easy-peasy rule of thumb for dilution is to water it down until it is the colour of weak tea.  I make comfrey liquid in a large covered bucket.  I simply ram it full of leaves which I crush as I put them in, then fill to the top with water.  That makes a strong concentrate after a few weeks but I keep it at the bottom of the garden while rotting (it stinks to high heaven!) and then transfer to 2 litre plastic 'pop' bottles until it is needed.  I've found by experience that it still works just as well after 3 years and probably has an unlimited 'shelf life' when in sealed bottles.

Climbers for east-facing wall

Posted: 23/02/2013 at 17:46

Many clematis will grow fine in shade.  Scroll down this RHS page to "cultivar selection":

A selection specifically for full shade being sold here:



Talkback: Creeping buttercup

Posted: 23/02/2013 at 11:34

Not only does it spread by runners, but also by seeds which stay viable in the ground for many many years and germinate every time the soil is turned, so leaving it for those fleetingly pretty yellow flowers is not a particularly good idea!  The damn stuff also keeps growing all winter and is a nightmare on my clay soil;  Clearing it from the veg plots is a constant battle.  Not a fan. 

Grape vine for my band stand....

Posted: 23/02/2013 at 00:40

Hi Tilley, I have large vine 40-50ft long, but don't know the variety as it was here when I moved in.  The RHS have some tips for growing outdoor vines with a short list of cultivars here:

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Christmas has come early

New trees 
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Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

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

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
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Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

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

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
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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! 
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Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

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

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
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Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 21:44

A week of rain = jungle garden!

It's been too wet to really do anything outside.. 
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Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 524
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: 563
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 301
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39


Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 602
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 641
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31

DIY heated propagator

Making one from scratch 
Replies: 48    Views: 5768
Last Post: 30/06/2014 at 19:57
1 to 15 of 26 threads