Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Painting a bird bath

Posted: 17/07/2016 at 16:48

Masonry paint would be ok but don't paint the inside of the bowl as they release toxins into water. I prefer the weathered look of garden ornaments myself but that's just personal taste of course.

Last edited: 17 July 2016 16:48:27

Sweet Pea Know How

Posted: 17/07/2016 at 16:14

Mine have (at last!) started to do something!  I started them in January in a cold greenhouse and planted them out several weeks ago where they just sat doing absolutely nothing.  A few days of nice weather and.. bingo.

Round circles appearing in lawn

Posted: 17/07/2016 at 15:29

If fungi (fairy rings), you will generally also see a greener outer circle to the patch.  If that isn't present then pansyface may well be right.

Grape leaves

Posted: 17/07/2016 at 15:24

PS, Magnesium deficiency is common in grape vines and spraying with Epsom salts dissolved in water is the recommended remedy.  Over-use of high potash fertilizers can actually cause magnesium deficiency (I mention this in case you have indeed been feeding it!)

Last edited: 17 July 2016 15:24:48

Grape leaves

Posted: 17/07/2016 at 15:15

Loss of colour between veins is usually a sign of nutrient deficiency (iron, manganese or magnesium.)  Have you been feeding it regularly?  If not, try using a tomato feed as these generally include the trace nutrients mentioned above.  As a short-term fix, spraying it as well as watering it in could be of benefit.  In the longer term, mulching the area around the roots with well rotted farmyard manure in the autumn should provide for its needs.

If it's a new(ish) wall, there is also the possibility that lime from the cement is making the soil a bit on the alkaline side, making it harder for the vine to take up nutrients.  Again, the FYM should help with that.

If only the oldest leaves are affected it could simply be those leaves are reaching the end of their life but a good feed would be a good idea in any case.

Which is best?

Posted: 17/07/2016 at 14:55

Depends what they are and where you are (eg Basil rarely does well in the ground in the UK and toms are hit-and-miss depending on the weather) but in general, in the ground is best.  That way the roots can spread as they like, there is much less chance of them becoming short of water and nutrients as well as the secondary benefits of symbiotic soil bacteria and fungi.  Of course, there can be negative effects such as soil-borne pests and diseases.

Of those you mention I would say the beans are better in soil, tomatoes better in pots and cucumbers are 50/50 but need large pots if grown that way.  Brassicas always better in soil.

In my experience the best way of preparing soil is to dig-in well-rotted manure in the autumn and then lay a mulch of the same over the top before winter.  The soil will then be easy to lightly cultivate in spring when you can sow seeds or plant out veg started off in modules and/or pots.

Any idea what this is?

Posted: 17/07/2016 at 14:42

I don't recognise it but it has the look of an orchid (although it probably isn't.)

Does putting slate on your pots help keep the soil moist?

Posted: 17/07/2016 at 13:21

Yes.  A layer of slate IS a mulch.

Evaporation is all about the surface area which is exposed to wind and sun.  Bare soil (millions of small particles) has a much greater surface area than a layer of slate/gravel/pebbles.

Rock is generally impervious to water so water cannot move upwards through it as the surfaces dries.  This is not the case for bare soil and water will travel upwards from the soil below as it evaporates from the surface.

Last edited: 17 July 2016 13:27:09

Ants in the greenhouse

Posted: 16/07/2016 at 23:34

Try nematodes.  Apparently ants will not tolerate nematodes near their nest and will move it.  No toxic effects so will not affect your figs.  Look for 'nemasys no ants'

Advice on scruffy aubretia, please

Posted: 16/07/2016 at 22:01

Best to cut them back (ie give them a bit of a haircut) immediately after flowering, which would usually be about late May/early June.  It might be a bit late to do it now and you could lose a lot of next year's blooms.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Winter soft fruit pruning

Some things to do now 
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Last Post: 04/02/2017 at 17:52

'Dramatic' music in TV programmes

Increase in noise! 
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Last Post: 23/11/2016 at 22:23

Autumn foliage photos (2016)

Thought I'd start a thread just for our photos 
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Last Post: 03/12/2016 at 00:32

Gardener's World about to start now!

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Last Post: 14/07/2016 at 16:55

Cutting ID

I thought these were philadelphus 
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Last Post: 11/07/2016 at 17:34


Hope it finds it's way home 
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Last Post: 26/04/2016 at 18:22

Vine weevils

..ate all of my winter carrots! 
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Last Post: 01/01/2016 at 22:01

Huge pest problem

Don't think netting will work 
Replies: 10    Views: 1007
Last Post: 19/12/2015 at 21:00

Renovate or remove privet hedge?

Replace or cut back hard? 
Replies: 19    Views: 2186
Last Post: 20/09/2015 at 13:33


No real rain here for weeks 
Replies: 11    Views: 690
Last Post: 07/06/2015 at 18:41

Little Red Devils (Lily beetles)

They're about now! 
Replies: 1    Views: 711
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 17:03

Christmas has come early

New trees 
Replies: 9    Views: 1335
Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 12    Views: 1121
Last Post: 27/11/2014 at 21:12

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 1166
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 1160
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28
1 to 15 of 37 threads