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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Talkback: How to grow strawberries

Posted: 11/01/2015 at 15:28

No need to protect them Pindy as they are completely hardy.  You can move them into a cold greenhouse or coldframe if you want an earlier crop but then you need to keep them watered - one thing strawberries don't appreciate is their roots drying out.  A drawback to doing that though is you may have problems with aphids as those will be kiiled by frost but will love greenhouse conditions.


Posted: 11/01/2015 at 14:36

Spending winter as a caterpillar is a very common method of surviving for many moths and butterflies. They usually hide in the leaf litter or under plants such as foxgloves and verbascums which offer good protection.  Examples include: Dingy Skipper, Chequered Skipper, Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Common Blue, Northern Brown Argus, Small Copper, Green Hairstreak, Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary, Pearl-Bordered Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Marsh Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Wall, Mountain Ringlet, Scotch Argus, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Small Heath and Large Heath.  Those are from the SW Scotland butterfly site:

Species will differ in south Wales which is a lot warmer!


Windy - get your pots secure...

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 19:46

How annoying Tootles - expensive too as large pots don't come cheap.

I've just wired my automatic vent in the greenhouse closed as they tend to flap in very strong winds which can smash the glass, shortly after which the entering wind tends to blow the fixed panes out..

Can anyone recommend a good quality cold frame...

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 19:39

I agree, if you or family/friends have any basic DIY skills, they are very easy to make.Mine is made from decking planks with a sheet of twinwall polycarbonate used as a sloped hinged lid and was cheaper and is stronger than anything commercially available that I have seen.  Here's a previous thread on this topic:



Tree identificagtion

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 19:30

Possibly a typo or misspelling?  Have a look through the Acer name wiki and see if anything comes close:



The One Show - Quirky Gardens

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 18:49

Pity you aren't looking for quirky gardeners!  There are plenty of those here, myself included!

Apple tree

Posted: 07/01/2015 at 19:24

Hi eddie, now is perfect but it depends on why you are pruning.  A few tips:

Winter pruning will encourage growth, so prune young apple trees now to help develop their shape.  The harder you prune weak growth, the stronger is will grow in the coming year, so if a tree is weak on one side prune that side back more (but don't reduce branches by more than about 50%.)

Late summer pruning will help to restrict growth, so only prune branches which are too vigorous then.  Once an apple tree has grown to the size you want, this is the only time you should prune it.

I made a pretty comprehensive post about apple tree pruning a year or two ago which some members found helpful.  I'll try and find it and will post the link.

(Animal monitoring device project) Idea feedback

Posted: 07/01/2015 at 19:12

Hi Ben,

Most video cameras, including webcams and 'board cameras' have an infra-red blocking filter which can often be removed.  Sometimes the IR-block is glued to the bottom of the lens (usually the case with web and board cams) but can be removed if you are careful.  I do this both in my line of work (university technician) and in my other hobby (astrophotgraphy.)  It is much cheaper than buying a special IR camera which, ironically, are standard cameras with no added IR-blocking filter so should really be cheaper!  Most imaging sensors (either CCD or CMOS based) are naturally sensitive in the IR region but the IR-block is added to give more natural colours in daylight.  If you use monochrome cameras, that isn't an issue of course.

If you would like any detailed advice in this area, feel free to send me a personal message by clicking on my avatar and clicking 'Message'.

Garden Journal/Diary

Posted: 06/01/2015 at 19:05
GemmaJF wrote (see)

I've started mine in a word document this year. I tried a spreadsheet last year but didn't keep it up-to-date for very long. I've gone much more visual in the word document and paste any useful articles or add links etc. 

So far it is a diagram of my veg plot from last year and the plan for rotation this year. Then I've listed each daily job I've done.

When I get my seeds sorted out I will put down the sowing and estimated harvest times for each month and see how that works out.

Not sure how to upload a file directly to a forum post, but would be happy to post it up if there is a way.


Word is a good bet as it is likely to still be around in 10 years and the files can be read by lots of other software.  It's important to consider this aspect as gardening-specific software is rarely well maintained and when you need to get a new computer it is often incompatible with new operating systems, so you end-up losing everything.  Mine is still all in a book-bound notebook but it's rather tatty now!


Grow your own beer...

Posted: 06/01/2015 at 18:52

Do read up on growing hops Fruitcake as they can quickly overwhelm a garden.  You can get some smaller varieties which only grow to 10ft (3m) but most will happily grow to 15-20ft (5-7m) or more!

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: 867
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: 1072
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