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BobTheGardener


Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Flatworms?

Posted: 02/02/2014 at 22:45

GM, I have read that if you put a sheet of non-clear polythene (eg an old compost bag) on the ground and weighed down by stones, NZ flatworms will congregate underneath it.  If you want to photograph them to get a positive ID then you could try that - best to be sure as you don't want to be killing any of the good guys.

DIY heated propagator

Posted: 02/02/2014 at 22:19

Hi Daintiness, I have made a lid using the same exterior grade plywood as the base so once I don't need the heat any longer it will be turned off, the lid fitted and it'll become just a normal bench (which I'll be growing peppers on, as it happens!)

DIY heated propagator

Posted: 02/02/2014 at 22:04

Hi Clueless,  thanks for posting that as I just realised I made a mistake in the text above - I actually used a 12m cable, NOT a 6m one!

As long as you can fit that 12m of cable into your 100cm x 80cm hot bed without any of the cable touching itself, you will be fine as long as you do use a thermostat.  It will have the advantage of heating up quicker but won't use any more electricity as the thermostat will turn it off as soon as the sand reaches the set temperature.

 

When is the best time to prune Group 3 clematis?

Posted: 02/02/2014 at 18:04

Tricky, chicky, this year!  I normally wait until the end of Feb or mid-March, depending on the weather.  Cutting them back encourages them to start shooting and there's always a danger of a hard frost killing the new growth.  If you do it now and there are no hard frosts them you'll get early blooms but if we get hit by an actual winter arriving then you'll regret doing it now.  Personally, I'm leaving mine for now.

Confused by my group 3 clematis

Posted: 02/02/2014 at 15:58

Go for that low single bud, cloud8.  I cut most of my group 3 right down to the ground and they produce new shoots from below ground level.  As group 3 produce flowers on new growth, the more new shoots you can encourage from the base, the better. 

Amaryllis

Posted: 02/02/2014 at 14:14

Once they have flowered you need to water and feed the leaves as these are building the bulb up for the next set of flowers.  When the leaves die-back naturally, the dormant stage has been reached and you let the compost dry out.  When the bulb shows signs of life again, re-pot it into fresh compost and it should flower again.  If it doesn't, the bulb didn't build itself up enough when last in leaf.  In that case, simply feed and water it while in leaf again until it dies back naturally. After the next dormancy it will almost certainly flower.  Sometimes when you first get them they can take a while to settle into the dormancy-flower-leaf/bulb growth pattern as they will have been forced to flower artificially to suit the sale time of the shops.

DIY heated propagator

Posted: 01/02/2014 at 22:59

Thanks Mike!  If everything goes to plan the living room windowsill will be free of seed trays this spring for the first time ever, which I'm sure will please my other half!

DIY heated propagator

Posted: 01/02/2014 at 22:47

The final top 2" layer of sand was then completed:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36879.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

and depth checked:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36880.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

Finally, this is it with 8 seed trays in position.  Each one is effectively a propagator in it's own right so that it's lid can be removed when seeds show signs of germination, without affecting any of the other trays.  To the right you can see the thermostat - this is a fancy one I already had and the probe is on a cable so can be placed inside a seed tray rather than in the sand if I wish.  However, it is really an overkill and the standard Parasene thermostat would be fine:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36881.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

I've set the thermostat to 25C as a test tonight and will check in the morning.  I filled one seed tray with compost and put my max-min thermometer on top before covering with the lid.  That should give me a good idea of how warm the compost in the trays will actually reach when the sand is at 25C.  Fingers crossed!

DIY heated propagator

Posted: 01/02/2014 at 22:34

Next was a 2" layer of sharp sand:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36875.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

Now for the tricky part!  Somehow the cable needed laying evenly so it covered the whole area without any loop touching another loop or any crossing cables as these would cause hot-spots.  The trick here was to plug the cable in for 10 minutes to let it warm up, making it more flexible.  However, it wouldn't stay in place even if I patted it into the damp sand, so I came up with an idea - use pieces of decking to temporarily hold it in place - these will be removed later:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36876.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

Clever, eh?!   Now I filled the gaps between the bits of wood with more sharp sand which would hold the cable in place:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36877.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

removing the wood left it like this, ready for adding the rest of the sand:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36878.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

DIY heated propagator

Posted: 01/02/2014 at 22:21

I used a 6m long Parasene soil heating cable as this is the recommended length for a 4'x2' propagator and is rated at 150W:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36873.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

it needed feeding through 13mm a hole (there is a blue seal on the end of the cable which needs to go through the hole) in the side which was made 2" (50mm) from the bottom of the propagator:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/36874.jpg?width=288&height=350&mode=max

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
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Oops!

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DIY heated propagator

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Flowering in September 
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The sparrows have had a good breeding season 
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why-all-the-hyphens-in-post-titles

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Last Post: 10/08/2013 at 11:31

ID trumpet flower

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Bee spotting

Have you seen any bees yet? 
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New deliveries

Tree and shrub planting 
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Flower ID

Pink flowered perennial 
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Oh no, lily beetles are back!

More of warning than a plea for help.. 
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Last Post: Today at 00:47
15 threads returned