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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Pamapas Grass

Posted: 25/07/2015 at 10:26

It will be hard work and you will need to wear protective clothing as pampas grass has extremely sharp edges.  It is also tricky to dispose of as it doesn't rot down quickly in a compost heap and will wrap itself around the internals of a shredder.

I had one with a metre diameter base right next to a fence.  I cut it down to the ground using a chainsaw and then treated any regrowth with a glyphosate based weedkiller.  It was dead in about a year.  The 'stump' was then dug out using a sharp spade, pick-axe, mattock, pruning saw and copious quantities of painkiller for my back.  It doesn't need any of the type of weedkiller which will poison your soil to stop regrowth - that's not a big problem with pampas grass.

If you are fit you should be able to do it yourself in the same way, if not, consider paying a professional to get rid of it for you including removing the roots using a stump grinder.  If you can afford to do that, get several quotations.  The same firms which remove hedges will be able to do it.

Good screening tree?

Posted: 25/07/2015 at 10:07

Looking at the angles of your neighbour's windows, they will not be able to see your garden unless they open them and stick their heads out, so I personally wouldn't be at all worried about being overlooked.

Potatoes with white specs

Posted: 23/07/2015 at 19:24

I've seen this before and it disappears when the soil on them dries.  I think it's a harmless soil fungus.  Or slug eggs..

Verbena growing, holes in leaves

Posted: 23/07/2015 at 19:23

Looks like flea beetle damage.  You could try a neem oil spray or (slightly less organic) pyrethrum-based spray which is made from a natural insecticide extracted from chrysanthemums.

Red acer turning green

Posted: 23/07/2015 at 19:07

This can happen when a starved tree gets a sudden abundance of food.  As the nutrients in the JI#3 start to get used up it will sort itself out and should not look so green - next year it will probably be back to it's usual colour.   Expect strong new growth next Spring, too.

Apricot tree

Posted: 23/07/2015 at 19:00

All you can do is gently bend it and tie it to a strong upright stake using tree ties (these are essential to prevent damage to the trunk.)  As it is so young it will be flexible and as it gets older the wood will harden into the new shape.  Check and loosen the tree ties every few months if they become tight around the trunk.  Eventually it won't need the stake any longer.   Don't put the stake in too close to the base of the tree in case you damage the roots while driving it in.

Composted bark

Posted: 23/07/2015 at 18:49

I think it would be fine to use around your fruit bushes but I would hesitate to use it around brassicas because of the pH issue.  They would still grow but it might encourage any clubroot spores in your soil.  In the Autumn I would dig some into your soil and test the pH in Spring - if it is below about 6 you can always add some garden lime to sweeten the soil and bring it back to neutral (7) or even slightly alkaline if growing brassicas.  I would also mix some in with your compost heap - added sparingly it won't hurt.  The other thing you could use it for is growing blueberries - mixed with 1/3rd of your own compost and about 1/3rd John Innes #3 it would make a great growing medium for use in containers.

compost heap advice please.

Posted: 22/07/2015 at 20:14

Keep it secret B3!    I don't think I'd lend any of my gardening tools to anyone these days - I'd miss them too much if they were damaged or not returned. 

'Recycled beer' is an excellent compost accelerator by the way, so hubby can save himself a trip to the loo if no-one is looking and it will really help things along!

compost heap advice please.

Posted: 22/07/2015 at 19:37

Bit hard to recommend one but mine is an Alko and still going after about 15 years (on the 3rd set of new blades though.)  Look at the path the material goes through is my best advice - those where it goes straight through tend to clog less and feeding plenty of dry or woody stuff when also shredding soft green stuff helps.  I try to feed 80 per cent dry to 20 percent green.

Thornless Fruit Bushes

Posted: 22/07/2015 at 19:30

Probably better to have a mix rather than several bushes of a single cultivar as far as pollination goes.  I have about 6 or 7 varieties and they crop well.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener


No real rain here for weeks 
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Little Red Devils (Lily beetles)

They're about now! 
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Christmas has come early

New trees 
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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! 
Replies: 3    Views: 384
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 692
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 615
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: 1076
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 693
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: 1056
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 420
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39


Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 751
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05
1 to 15 of 28 threads