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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

What To Grow In a Big Box

Posted: 27/03/2015 at 10:20

You could buy a 'family' apple tree as those have 3 varieties grafted onto one rootstock with the varieties being chosen so they flower at the same time and so cross-pollinate each other.  Google "family apple tree in container" and check that the ones on offer state that they can be grown in large containers.  It is too late to buy bare-root trees now, so you will have to get a pot-grown one, which will be a fair bit more expensive, but pot-grown trees can be planted at any time.  Use John Innes No.3 compost which is formulated for permanent plantings and is heavy enough to prevent the tree being blown over by the wind.

Is it hard to rip out a mature yellow ribbon arborvitae?

Posted: 27/03/2015 at 00:29

Hi Chaz, although I don't know that particular conifer (it looks like one only usually found in the US & Canada), I do know that most conifers are relatively shallow rooted, so you probably won't have too much difficulty getting them out.  They will have depleted the soil though, so you'll need to dig-in some good stuff if you are going to plant something else in the area. 

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 26/03/2015 at 18:45

Took a couple of days leave and typically it rained for half the day! 

Still, I managed to get lots more seeds sown and had a couple of deliveries, including two bare-root globe artichokes - heaven knows where I'm going to put those as I know they grow to over a metre in all directions.. The rhubarb is finally up;  2 out of 3 crowns planted in the Autumn.  The squirrels dug up and ate the 3rd crown, as they did the previous 3 I planted the previous year, the little b*ggers!  Plan is to get the spuds in tomorrow.

Looks like i'm now growing a bell pepper...

Posted: 26/03/2015 at 10:06

Hi Lucy, Peppers are fairly easy but can't stand the cold, so the most important thing is to grow it on at a minimum of 10C in good light.  I find it's best to pot them on several times, first into a 3" pot, then 5" and finally into about a 10".  Don't pot-on into a larger one until the roots have reached the sides of the pot.  Unless we have a really good summer they need to be kept under glass so keep it somewhere heated like a windowsill until it is about 8" tall.  It's then ready for the greenhouse, growhouse or (at a push) under a large cloche.  Like tomatoes, don't feed it until the first flowers appear and then feed with half-strength tomato feed once a fortnight.  Best to hand-pollinate every flower using a small, soft paintbrush or similar.

Please help with snapdragons

Posted: 25/03/2015 at 23:12

The usual way to deal with small plug plants is to plant each one in a small pot (eg 9cm) and grow them on somewhere which is frost-free but has plenty of light until they can be planted out in the garden.  Suitable small plastic pots pots can be bought very cheaply from places like Wilko and the usual garden centres.  The reason for using small individual pots is to minimise root disturbance.  What you have done will work, but you will find the roots have all grown together when you come to transplant them, so try to cause as little damage as possible when you do that.

Snapdragons are hardy so you could actually put the tray you have made outside somewhere sheltered (eg against south or west facing house wall) but it would be best to harden them off a bit by leaving them out during the day and bringing in at night for a week or two.

Daphne perfume princess

Posted: 25/03/2015 at 22:02

Paul, I have Daphne growing in large pots and used about 60% John Innes No3 mixed with 20% ericaceous compost and 20% well rotted farm yard manure (bagged stuff from a garden centre.)  They seem to like it and are doing well but have only been in about a year so only time will tell.

Gravel/Water Trays

Posted: 25/03/2015 at 18:48

Like nut, I stand them in water until the compost on the top changes colour (darkens) and then lift them out (it usually only takes a few of minutes.)   I then don't water again until the top surface is dry all over (which can be anything from a couple of days to a week or so later, depending on how warm the greenhouse gets.)  If the compost is kept too wet, the seeds won't germinate or can die if they do.

Favourite biscuit?

Posted: 25/03/2015 at 18:43

I've changed my mind - my favourite biscuits are any type, as long as Verdun can't find them!

Why is my parffin heater making my greenhouse full of soot?

Posted: 25/03/2015 at 18:40

To tell you have it burning right, the flame should be blue.  If it is yellow, then that colour indicates Carbon (soot) is being released and you need to trim the wick and/or turn the wick down a bit.

Forsythia suspensa

Posted: 24/03/2015 at 23:53

I much prefer them growing like that.  Not a shrub for growing into neat shapes in my book.  One of my neighbours neatly trims theirs just before it flowers every year, leaving an ugly twiggy mess which eventually leafs-up at which point the hedge-trimmer comes out again.  They probably don't even know that it flowers!   They might as well grow privet - at least it would be green for the full 12 months!

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Renovate or remove privet hedge?

Replace or cut back hard? 
Replies: 19    Views: 502
Last Post: 20/09/2015 at 13:33


No real rain here for weeks 
Replies: 11    Views: 290
Last Post: 07/06/2015 at 18:41

Little Red Devils (Lily beetles)

They're about now! 
Replies: 1    Views: 319
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 17:03

Christmas has come early

New trees 
Replies: 9    Views: 923
Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 12    Views: 703
Last Post: 27/11/2014 at 21:12

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 652
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 624
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 492
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: 429
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 752
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 662
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: 1138
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 770
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: 1214
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 465
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39
1 to 15 of 29 threads