Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Growing melons in a raised bed

Posted: 07/02/2017 at 18:56

The 'growhouse' covering will definitely help - I've grown melons in a polytunnel and an unheated greenhouse with reasonable success.  They do take up a lot of space though and I wouldn't try more than 3 in a bed that size and ideally only 2.  If you can provide some support they can be tied-in to it and be grown vertically, but you will then have to support the fruit too (old tights or netting works.)  Follow the growing advice carefully about nipping out the shoots etc. or you'll end up with a sprawling mass of vine and leaves with little or no fruit.  RHS growing and pruning advice here:

One tip I can give is about when to harvest - use you nose!  They smell really sweet when ready.

Good luck if you give them a go.

What could this be?

Posted: 06/02/2017 at 22:50

SBK brushwood killer or Deep Root tree stump killer will definitely see it off.  Drill vertical holes into it and pour it in neat to be sure (cover with a bit of duct tape to keep wildlife and pets safe.)  Don't cut it off and concrete over until you are certain it is dead though - new growth will easily break through an inch or two of concrete!

Plant losses, phormium, fatsia japonica

Posted: 06/02/2017 at 22:43

Are you sure it's not a two-legged pest?

What could this be?

Posted: 06/02/2017 at 22:33

If the leaves are something else then it could be buddleia which is another tree which likes to grow in such places.  The smell test is diagnostic for elder though.  Buddleia leaves are slightly furry when young and don't really smell.  It's difficult to tell scale from the photo but if the stump is less than 2 inches in diameter, I wouldn't be worried about structural damage.  The stump must be killed though.

What could this be?

Posted: 06/02/2017 at 22:10

If those leaves belong to it, it could be a sambucus nigra (elderberry) which are notorious for growing in places like that.  However, there is little evidence of elder causing damage to foundations.  If the roots penetrate drainage pipes they can eventually block them but if there are no signs of drains being blocked then a regular dose of a brushwood killer such as SBK will kill it and the remaining stump will rot away after a few years - much quicker than (say) an ash tree sapling (which is another common tree which likes to seed itself into similar situations, but far more damaging.)

To be sure, crush a leaf between your thumb and fingers - if it smells highly pungent then it is almost certainly elder and not a great worry.

Growing sweet potato

Posted: 06/02/2017 at 18:58

Hi Chris, I tried large (15cm long), well developed plugs of 3 different varieties which were recommended for UK conditions (purchased at quite some cost as I recall) and grew them in a polytunnel in Leics.  The top growth was excellent but, come harvest time, the resulting crop of tubers was very disappointing.  Others on here have had better results though.

growing carrots in containers

Posted: 06/02/2017 at 18:48

Yes and as HC says, sand or fine grit rather than gravel or they will fork.  They will grow in pure sand if you give them a regular liquid feed but I usually grow them in 50/50 sharp sand and used compost.

Last edited: 06 February 2017 18:48:39

Winter Aconite

Posted: 06/02/2017 at 18:44

What will kill them is being baked in dry soil in summer.  They are woodland plants so need shade in summer and soil which doesn't dry out.  If you can provide that, I think it trumps pH by a large factor.

Outside Cucumbers

Posted: 05/02/2017 at 16:51

Watering will be the biggest problem.  Cucumbers can be grown in pots but they have to be large ones.

Rejuvenate Dracaena Massangeana

Posted: 05/02/2017 at 14:45

It is unlikely to sprout new shoots now that it has shooted from the bottom - all of the energy is going into that shoot.  You could try removing the bottom shoot and trying to root that to produce a second plant (put it in a pot of a 50/50 mix of compost and grit or perlite.)  The bare stem should then produce new shoots, hopefully from further up.  New shoots come from swellings on the stem and I think I can see one near the top. 

Last edited: 05 February 2017 14:46:54

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Accidental greengage

Wrong variety but happy 
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Last Post: 29/07/2017 at 16:32


Seems hedgehogs are breeding in my garden 
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New greenhouse

Building greenhouse from start to fruition 
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Last Post: 09/07/2017 at 16:13

Border design by Spanish bluebells

Random plantings 
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Last Post: 14/05/2017 at 14:32

Unknown bird

Came home this evening to find this 
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Last Post: 10/05/2017 at 20:19

Garden photos April

By month so folk can see what is in bloom for reference purposes. 
Replies: 1    Views: 222
Last Post: 02/04/2017 at 20:01

Winter soft fruit pruning

Some things to do now 
Replies: 4    Views: 324
Last Post: 04/02/2017 at 17:52

'Dramatic' music in TV programmes

Increase in noise! 
Replies: 37    Views: 1559
Last Post: 23/11/2016 at 22:23

Autumn foliage photos (2016)

Thought I'd start a thread just for our photos 
Replies: 69    Views: 7261
Last Post: 03/12/2016 at 00:32

Gardener's World about to start now!

Replies: 16    Views: 1016
Last Post: 14/07/2016 at 16:55

Cutting ID

I thought these were philadelphus 
Replies: 3    Views: 518
Last Post: 11/07/2016 at 17:34


Hope it finds it's way home 
Replies: 3    Views: 586
Last Post: 26/04/2016 at 18:22

Vine weevils

..ate all of my winter carrots! 
Replies: 8    Views: 1522
Last Post: 01/01/2016 at 22:01

Huge pest problem

Don't think netting will work 
Replies: 10    Views: 1185
Last Post: 19/12/2015 at 21:00

Renovate or remove privet hedge?

Replace or cut back hard? 
Replies: 17    Views: 2767
Last Post: 20/09/2015 at 13:33
1 to 15 of 43 threads