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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Squash Query

Posted: 07/09/2013 at 16:08

Hi Tina, it's best to leave them on the vine as long as possible.  Once all the leaves die or there is a frost forecast then harvest them all as they won't keep if they get frosted.  Most squashes change colour in some way when ripe.  I suspect the yellow stripes on your particular variety will turn to a deep orange when they are ready and the green will get darker.  Squashes will keep for several months indoors - I put them on my conservatory windowsills where they look very decorative.

How does this overwinter in yorkshire ?

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 19:01

Hi lucky3, the RHS says it tolerates dryness and chalk, so a wet acidic moorland might be a challenge.  I would think keeping the worst of the wet from the roots would be the best bet - cold doesn't seem to be an issue as it's hardy throughout the BI.  Perhaps your mum could try cutting it back hard and covering the root area with something waterproof over Winter?  Alternatively, planting it on top of a mound might work.

Gardening Books

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 18:54

Also the RHS "Encyclopedia of Gardening" is just packed with information on just about everything - it's a "must have" for new gardeners in my humble opinion.

Will a shelter help my kiwis to ripen ?

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 18:46

Green Beanz, go to the top of the page and there is a box "search this site" - type kiwi and press the search button - I just got 39 results.  I have about 5 or 6 kiwi plants I grew from the seeds of shop-bought fruit about 6-8 years ago.  I've never even had a flower so you are way ahead of me (in Leics.)!  I've never pruned them properly though but suspect my best bet is to buy a self-fertile variety and get rid of the ones I have.

honey fungus

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 18:36

My commiserations, LondonColin.  There are several species of Armillaria and some are far more damaging than others - sounds like you have a nasty.  All I'll say is that there is something called Armillatox and if you use it to clean the moss from any paths or patios etc around the affected areas, any accidental overspill into the soil might have a surprising effect.  Do think about the negative effects on wildlife and natural soil organisms before you slosh anything like this soap-based patio cleaner around though.

No fruit showing on Butternut Squash in polytunnel

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 18:20

Ging, some of the acorn-shaped winter squashes stay green even when ripe - but taste exactly the same as the classic butternut shaped ones.  If they are butternut-shaped then they're not yet ripe as Italophile says.  Unless they're from saved seed in which case all bets are off - not sure what colour or shape an acorn/butternut cross would likely be!

what to grow next year

Posted: 05/09/2013 at 19:32

Sandra, those are both fairly tricky veg to grow well.  Sweetcorn needs a good Summer in the UK and cucumbers (at least greenhouse types) are prone to a number of pests and diseases and need a lot of tlc.  I would look for F1 seeds that have been specifically bred to be grown in the UK.  These cost more but it's generally worth it. I had good results with sweetcorn 'Lark' a few years ago and cucumber 'Carmen' cropped well in the GH (but the seeds were over £1 each and only 2 of the 4 germinated!)

Are there any other veg you really like?  I'm not saying you shouldn't try sweetcorn and cucumbers - everyone has to learn by actually trying things - but there are lots of easier things to grow as well - don't want you having a 3rd disappointing year!


Posted: 05/09/2013 at 19:13

Cheers bigolob.  I think I'll try a few extra varieties of mid-size ones that I haven't tried before next year as an experiment too.  I expect going for heirloom varieties would likely be the best bet for good flavour.  Italiophile - do you have any recommendations?

Clematis "Dr. Ruppel"

Posted: 04/09/2013 at 19:10

Hi Jan, you're doing everything right but they do take a couple of years to get going.  Prune it in late February to early March:  Starting at each growth tip, follow it back until you find a pair of strong buds and prune it just above them.  If any of the stems have outgrown their alloted space, prune back to a lower pair of buds, but bear in mind that the flowers will come from those buds.  Also remove any weak or obviously dead growth at this time.  I give them a handful of bonemeal immediately after pruning mixed into in a mulch of compost.  Start feeding with clematis feed (or tomato feed) in late Spring.  Your soil pH is perfect.

Starting from Scratch - Shrubs Recommendations

Posted: 03/09/2013 at 23:49

Japanese acers like Bloodgood will give a nice bit of red colour, are slow growing and pretty much maintenance-free.  They like a bit of shade as long as they don't get early morning sun (so avoid an east-facing aspect.)

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 77
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39


Polytunnel growing 
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Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
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Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31

DIY heated propagator

Making one from scratch 
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Last Post: 11/02/2014 at 11:06

Cost of bird food

bulk vs supermarket 
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Last Post: 10/02/2014 at 12:33

Wild Garden (Community Channel)

On Freeview/Sky 
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Last Post: 10/12/2013 at 12:21

Front garden revamp - before and after photos

Redsigning weedy crazy paving 
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Last Post: 21/10/2013 at 20:16


Flowering in September 
Replies: 7    Views: 460
Last Post: 13/09/2013 at 13:20


The sparrows have had a good breeding season 
Replies: 15    Views: 562
Last Post: 07/10/2013 at 09:26


Replies: 4    Views: 319
Last Post: 10/08/2013 at 11:31

ID trumpet flower

Replies: 8    Views: 412
Last Post: 18/06/2013 at 11:41

Bee spotting

Have you seen any bees yet? 
Replies: 61    Views: 2006
Last Post: 11/04/2013 at 18:55

New deliveries

Tree and shrub planting 
Replies: 4    Views: 373
Last Post: 16/02/2013 at 19:01

Flower ID

Pink flowered perennial 
Replies: 4    Views: 692
Last Post: 10/07/2012 at 16:52

Oh no, lily beetles are back!

More of warning than a plea for help.. 
Replies: 21    Views: 6597
Last Post: Yesterday at 22:14
15 threads returned