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Latest posts by BobTheGardener


Posted: 17/02/2015 at 22:56

Parsnips really need to be grown from seed and sown in-situ.  Plug plants will always produce twisted roots as the parsnip grows from a single main root which goes straight down very early in the plants life.  It cannot do that when started in a module.  I grew 16 in a 50x50cm, 70cm tall container last year filled with 50/50 sharp sand and multi-purpose compost mixture.  Three or four seeds per planting position, thinned to one if several germinated (which takes a few weeks - don't give up if nothing seems to be happening.)  I also very successfully grow carrots in the same way, but sow them in closely spaced rows (10cm apart) and thin the seedlings to about 3cm apart along the row.  It's surprising just how many carrots you can grow in a container! 

Purple sprouting broccoli

Posted: 16/02/2015 at 22:40

Hi Jason, most brassicas like to be really well firmed in when planted, otherwise they tend to bolt and go to seed.  For that reason, they are better in the ground.  If you don't have much space, I would seriously consider growing something else rather than purple sprouting broc.  It does take up a lot of space for the amount of crop you get back.  Over the last few years I've been growing root crops like carrots and parsnips in containers and bags.  You can get a surprisingly large number in a relatively small space and this leaves room in my veg beds for the brassicas.

water pump size

Posted: 16/02/2015 at 22:22

Pumps are rated by flow and 'head', which is the height that they are capable of pumping water to from the reservoir.  You should choose one with a 'head' rating of at least 1.5 times the vertical distance from where the pump is (usually at the bottom of the reservoir) and the outlet (eg the hole where the fountain spurts from.)  The flow (usually in gallons per hour) you need depends on the size of the hole the fountain spurts from, roughly 1 inch=100 GPH, half inch = 50GPH etc.  The most important number is the 'head' (aka rise) though - too small and you'll get nothing, too large and you'll be shooting water up into the sky!  This page may help:


Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 16/02/2015 at 19:36

I do the same as you Perki but every 3 or 4 years replace the lot.  Part of the reason for doing this is that Ash tree roots growing under the GH keep growing upwards into the beds and sucking out nutrients (and a lot of water!) and I can't cut them back properly without clearing the borders out completely.  Even though I line the bottoms and sides with 2 or 3 layers of old compost bags, the Ash tree roots still come through!

strawberry bare roots

Posted: 16/02/2015 at 19:21

If they are anything like the wild strawberries growing here DorsetUK, they will be happy.  I have to treat them as weeds or they just take over areas.  As you say, they seem to grow in anything!

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 16/02/2015 at 19:07

Hi Perki, my garden isn't that big but this year I need to replace the soil in the borders in my greenhouse (takes about 20 bags), and re-invigorate my three 5x2m veg beds with the farm yard manure.  I'm also raising a couple of my flower borders by about 6 inches (I garden on clay which just keeps 'eating' all of the top dessing I keep putting on.)  I also have a ton of containers.  All I can guarantee is that I'll still run out of compost at some point later in the year!

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 16/02/2015 at 18:47

Had 72 bags of compost and FYM delivered today.  Unfortunately the pallet (which was stacked 6ft tall) was left in the road rather than put on my drive, so I have just got in after moving the lot..  I'll certainly sleep well tonight, but whether I can get up tomorrow morning is another matter!

strawberry bare roots

Posted: 15/02/2015 at 18:28

I've not used flower pouches for strawberries, but have grown them in hanging baskets.  The main hassle is keeping them watered - they are thirsty plants.  The upside is that the fruit is kept away from slugs and the ground, so you will lose less to pests and rotting. 

Curious bulbous thing

Posted: 15/02/2015 at 16:41

What's the large onion-like bulb to the right?  It could be a set from that - many alliums produce small bulbs at the top father flowering instead of seeds.  When the stem falls, they take root.

strawberry bare roots

Posted: 15/02/2015 at 16:34

Strawberries are completely hardy so can go outside.  However, growing them under glass at this time of year will give you a slightly earlier crop.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener


No real rain here for weeks 
Replies: 11    Views: 229
Last Post: 07/06/2015 at 18:41

Little Red Devils (Lily beetles)

They're about now! 
Replies: 1    Views: 257
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 17:03

Christmas has come early

New trees 
Replies: 9    Views: 868
Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 12    Views: 657
Last Post: 27/11/2014 at 21:12

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 610
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 572
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 445
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: 691
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 613
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: 1073
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: 1054
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: 750
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05
1 to 15 of 28 threads