Latest posts by BobTheGardener

looking for help.

Posted: 27/11/2015 at 12:36

It's a Dracaena, Todd.  The most common issue with them is over-watering.  You don't need to water them until the top 2 inches of compost is bone-dry (stick you finger in to test.)  They also don't like direct sunlight, but do need a reasonable amount of natural light.  Feed then with something like Baby Bio plant food mixed according to instructions every fortnight during spring and summer.  They also need re-potting into fresh multi-purpose compost every 2 to 3 years.

If you think over-watering could be the issue, don't water it now until the compost dries out and re-pot it in spring.  You can cut it back at that point and new growth will come from the cut stems, but it does take several weeks before you see the first signs of buds forming on the bare stems.  The bits of stem you cut off can be potted-up to make new plants.

I had one about 6 feet tall and cut it back as described earlier this year.  This is it now with 2 of the babies:



Posted: 27/11/2015 at 12:02

Yes, really annoying when that locking catch keeps engaging by itself!  I removed the screw and put a small extra washer on it before replacing so it now much stiffer and stays in the unlocked position while I'm using them.

Dahlia tuber looking odd

Posted: 27/11/2015 at 11:57

Sounds like crown gall, a bacterial disease:

I would advise disposing of it and the soil from that pot too.


Recommend a good bird food?

Posted: 25/11/2015 at 00:19

Jo, yes it's fine in ordinary seed feeders, causes no blockages.

Recommend a good bird food?

Posted: 24/11/2015 at 19:04

After trying many, many types over the years, I've settled on Johnston and Jeff's "Premium Wild Bird Food Wheat-free with Suet" which everything seems to like and is also husk-free so absolutely no mess.  There is nothing at all left when the feeders are empty and I mean nothing!

Contents from the label: PREMIUM WILD BIRD FOOD A high energy husk-free mix with no wheat, enhanced with suet pellets. Canary Seed, Natural Groats, Milo, Millet, Wild Seeds, Suet Pellets, Sunflower Hearts, Sorghum, Rapeseed, Peanut Nibs, Aniseed.

Greenhouse heating

Posted: 23/11/2015 at 19:12

I think SG is about right Yviestevie, they can tend to turn off a bit too quickly because of the warmer air nearby recirculating.  A thermostat is better as you can place it further away.  I have a heated bench made with soil warming cable and a thermostat which keeps the roots at a set temperature and that seems to work well, especially with a bit of fleece draped over the pots.  I don't have that many really tender things to keep going over winter though.

Greenhouse heating

Posted: 22/11/2015 at 20:57

John, you can buy inexpensive greenhouse fan heaters which have a thermostat built-in.  They are splash-proof and many have a 'frost' setting so they only come on enough to keep the temperature above zero.

If you want something more sophisticated with more precise control over temperature, then have a look here:


Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 22/11/2015 at 20:49

I know what you mean Pat.  I collected some cotoneaster berries a couple of years ago and they nearly all germinated.  I now have a dozen cotoneasters in pots taking up room and absolutely no space available to plant them!  I really enjoy the challenge of germinating perennial and shrub/tree seeds though and don't think I'll be changing any time soon!


Posted: 22/11/2015 at 19:10

Hi Susan, the bright red flowers are the giveaway that it is a non-hardy type (almost certainly Cyclamen persicum.)  Those are best grown indoors, or at least dug-up, potted and kept indoors well before the first frost.  The hardy types for oudoor use are almost all pink/purple or white and have small flowers about 1.5 to 2cm in size.

Garden centres etc sell the large flowered non-hardy types as annuals so unless you dig them up and look after them over the winter they will die.

Sprout harvesting

Posted: 22/11/2015 at 18:34

You can leave sprouts in the ground as long as you want to during Winter as they are completely hardy.  If fact many folk think they taste better once they have been exposed to a hard frost.  They will hardly grow at all at this time of the year so you shouldn't get problems with the sprouts opening-up (aka 'blowing').

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