Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Sterilising compost.

Posted: 13/02/2016 at 11:50

and the OH doesn't catch you doing it..

Sterilising compost.

Posted: 13/02/2016 at 11:40

You can sterilize small quantities of compost by heating it in a microwave.


Posted: 12/02/2016 at 19:07

That's fine general advice Richard but these are less than a year old plants and I disagree with you in this instance and follow the RHS advice which says that all year old clematis, regardless of type, should be cut back to encourage more stems to shoot from the root crown.  The following is quoted from their 'Group 2' advice page:

"Unless the plant already has three or four healthy stems growing from the base, all newly planted clematis should be pruned back hard the first spring after planting. Cut back to just above a strong pair of leaf buds about 30cm (1ft) above soil level. This will encourage multiple stems which can be trained in to supports to give a good coverage."

I've been following that advice for years with excellent results.

Grease bands

Posted: 12/02/2016 at 18:57

Grease bands won't help against maggots but some years are much worse than others for the flying pests which cause maggots and that is probably what you experienced.  No harm in using them though - ants farming aphids can damage all of the young leaves and seriously weaken a tree, resulting in poor crops the following season.  I use grease bands on all of my fruit trees.

What's the difference?

Posted: 11/02/2016 at 22:18

Primrose and Polyanthus are both primulas which is the plant 'family' they are both in.  The main difference between them is that primroses have the flowers close to the leaves whereas polyanthus flowers are on longer stems.  They have been bred from the wild forms, the cowslip (Primula veris) and the common primrose (Primula vulgaris.)

What's eaten my cabbages

Posted: 11/02/2016 at 21:25

Woodpigeons, without a shadow of doubt!  They are voracious once they find unprotected brassicas and invite all of their mates to the feast once they discover your plot.  I have to net all of my brassicas these days.  They will eat a row of freshly planted brassicas in minutes, leaving just the stalks.

Brassicas like high-nitrate feeds, so nettle tea, chicken pellets or growmore pellets if not bothered about being fully organic.

Tubs and containers

Posted: 11/02/2016 at 21:18

For permanent plantings go for a mix of 75% of a John Innes #3 loam-based compost mixed with 25% bagged well-rotted manure.  Alternatively you could look at 1 tonne bags of a good topsoil and a few bags of well-rotted manure.  For very large planters I've used tonne bags of Rolawn veg & fruit topsoil and I've also used Wickes topsoil mixed with their bagged manure with excellent results.

Mystery sprouting bulbs - can they be moved?

Posted: 10/02/2016 at 18:58

Do any of those tall hollow dead stems appear to be coming from where the new leaves are appearing?  If so, you might have something really nice like nerines.

Bug identification!

Posted: 10/02/2016 at 18:50

PS, I agree that the actual damage does look like it has been made by slugs.  My ID was for the tiny insect but it probably isn't that which is causing the damage in the top pic.

Bug identification!

Posted: 10/02/2016 at 18:34

My best guess would be the larva of a thrip of some kind, especially given you are having difficulty eradicating them as they are persistent little s*ds.  I can't give any tips on fighting them as whenever I've had thrip issues the best I managed was limiting their numbers a little.   RHS advice here:


Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Gardener's World about to start now!

Replies: 18    Views: 564
Last Post: 14/07/2016 at 16:55

Cutting ID

I thought these were philadelphus 
Replies: 3    Views: 208
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 
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Last Post: 19/12/2015 at 21:00

Renovate or remove privet hedge?

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


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

Little Red Devils (Lily beetles)

They're about now! 
Replies: 1    Views: 592
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 17:03

Christmas has come early

New trees 
Replies: 9    Views: 1200
Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 12    Views: 993
Last Post: 27/11/2014 at 21:12

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 983
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 944
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 817
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: 677
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 1098
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32
1 to 15 of 34 threads