Latest posts by BobTheGardener


Posted: 04/09/2016 at 12:58

The most common way to grow grape vines is the rod and spur method.  With this method there is one main stem which is permanent and the side shoots which grow from it each year produce the fruit.  All of the side shoots are cut back hard each winter when the vine is dormant and I do mine in November or over the Christmas holiday period if I forget to do it earler.  Starting where the side shoots come from the main stem (which will probably be quite old and gnarled), count two buds along each side shoot and cut it just beyond the 2nd bud.  You will and up with just the main stem with very short side shoots.  It is vital to do this before growth starts in the spring otherwise the vine will bleed from the cuts.

Vines can be very vigorous and the side shoots on mine will grow 6ft+ in a season if I let them!  To control growth and produce larger fruit, cut the shoots back to two or three leaves past the forming bunch of grapes which will appear in late spring or early summer.  Only let the vine produce one bunch from each side shoot and snip off and others.  Further pruning may be required as more shoots are produced from the joints of the remaining leaves - you can just pinch those shoots out leaving one new leaf on each.

There are other pruning methods depending on how the vine has been grown, the Guyot system being the other main one.

Gardeners world going to try an hour long

Posted: 02/09/2016 at 22:04

I think it was an unqualified success and am really looking forward to the next one.  The hour long formula is far superior and a massive improvement.  Well done BBC!

Adam Frost is great and I look forward to seeing much more of him in the future but I'll admit to being rather jealous of his new blank canvas!


Posted: 01/09/2016 at 19:18

There's a good article on the T&M site about pinks which may help:

Poorly Jostaberry

Posted: 01/09/2016 at 19:00

Looks like leaf miners.  Remove all affected leaves and regularly lightly cultivate the soil around the base as these insects often pupate in the soil below after dropping out of the leaves.  I would put down a couple of inches of well rotted manure as a mulch in about a month's time which will feed it for next year.  They do take a few years to start fruiting so worth persevering with, especially as picking the fruit is so easy because of the lack of thorns.  Watch for the birds when it does start though!

Last edited: 01 September 2016 19:01:33

Could someone ID these trees please?

Posted: 01/09/2016 at 18:48

The first one looks like Goat Willow to me and the rest all remind me of Bird Cherry.

Storing allium bulbs

Posted: 01/09/2016 at 17:39

Agree with obelixx, planting as soon as you get them is best.  Apart from a few fussy bulbs (esp. those which won't survive our wet winters as they are native to different climates), bulbs only deteriorate when left dry and unplanted.

Is it safe to plant a crabapple tree next to a manhole cover?

Posted: 01/09/2016 at 15:02

Lift the cover and see which way the drain goes.  If it goes under your flowers then I wouldn't risk it.  If it goes from your house to the road then you'll probably be ok if you plant it further over as you already mentioned.

What is your weather like? (2)

Posted: 01/09/2016 at 14:54

Perfect weather here too - about 24C, sunny with a light breeze and 50% humidity.  About time I had some nice weather whilst on hols!

Summer fruiting raspberries

Posted: 01/09/2016 at 14:51

The pear is suffering from pear rust - remove every affected leaf and either burn or put in domestic waste.  Also pick up any fallen leaves and do the same.  This year has been particularly bad for pear rust and all of my trees have been affected to some extent.  The disease has two hosts and overwinters on Junipers, so if there are any of those in your or neighbouring gardens, it'll be back next year.

The raspberry has 'white drupelet disorder' which is thought to be caused by too much sun (UV damage - a bit like sunburn to us) on the fruit, so it could be the position is a little too open and sunny for them (raspberries can take a fair amount of shade and still crop well.)  I grow my rows orientated north-south which helps as the canes then shade each other to some extent.

Will these figs ripen in time?

Posted: 01/09/2016 at 14:39

If they don't grow any bigger and stay pea-sized there is a chance they will survive the winter and will grow and ripen next year.  If they carry on growing this year they won't ripen or survive the winter so best removed.  See RHS advice, here:

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Border design by Spanish bluebells

Random plantings 
Replies: 1    Views: 154
Last Post: 14/05/2017 at 14:32

Unknown bird

Came home this evening to find this 
Replies: 4    Views: 270
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: 179
Last Post: 02/04/2017 at 20:01

Winter soft fruit pruning

Some things to do now 
Replies: 4    Views: 272
Last Post: 04/02/2017 at 17:52

'Dramatic' music in TV programmes

Increase in noise! 
Replies: 37    Views: 1382
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: 6746
Last Post: 03/12/2016 at 00:32

Gardener's World about to start now!

Replies: 16    Views: 940
Last Post: 14/07/2016 at 16:55

Cutting ID

I thought these were philadelphus 
Replies: 3    Views: 456
Last Post: 11/07/2016 at 17:34


Hope it finds it's way home 
Replies: 3    Views: 517
Last Post: 26/04/2016 at 18:22

Vine weevils

..ate all of my winter carrots! 
Replies: 8    Views: 1458
Last Post: 01/01/2016 at 22:01

Huge pest problem

Don't think netting will work 
Replies: 10    Views: 1098
Last Post: 19/12/2015 at 21:00

Renovate or remove privet hedge?

Replace or cut back hard? 
Replies: 17    Views: 2501
Last Post: 20/09/2015 at 13:33


No real rain here for weeks 
Replies: 11    Views: 745
Last Post: 07/06/2015 at 18:41

Little Red Devils (Lily beetles)

They're about now! 
Replies: 1    Views: 749
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 17:03

Christmas has come early

New trees 
Replies: 9    Views: 1402
Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52
1 to 15 of 40 threads