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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

What's the star in your garden right now

Posted: 16/08/2014 at 14:46

The General (Sikorski) has a second flush of 'medals' with plenty more to come and is looking great today:

Staying on a blue theme, ageratums are stunning when looked at closely and look like some sort of exotic sea anemone:

In the front garden, the Helichrysums (strawflowers) are looking good, too:

Finally, this giant dahlia (which was grown from seed planted earlier this year) is now taller than me and standing proud:

I will/I won't grow that again

Posted: 16/08/2014 at 13:38

I'm going to stop growing F1 varieties of calabrese/broccoli.  Yes, they produce nice big heads which taste lovely, but they produce them all at once and I'm never happy freezing this stuff.  Successional sowing doesn't seem to work very well - those sown 4 weeks later just seem to catch-up and crop just a few days later.  

Black bugs

Posted: 16/08/2014 at 13:29

They looks like the larval stage of one of the shield bugs.  I'm pretty sure it is a bug (ie a sap sucker) rather than a beetle.  See if you can find something similar here:

probably on these pages:


Growing aquilegia from seed

Posted: 16/08/2014 at 13:10

Yes, I have one or two of those still producing the odd flower, nut.  Lesley, that's a great site.   My personal favourite is the blue and white Aquilegia caerulea - I've been trying to cross those with McKana hybrids but the genes of the yellow and red ones must be dominant as no blue with any yellow or red in them so far.

Tomato problems

Posted: 16/08/2014 at 12:56

I wouldn't worry about damage on the upper leaves - they will still be doing their job of feeding the plants so leave them unless they become diseased.

Growing aquilegia from seed

Posted: 16/08/2014 at 11:59

Guilty of over-sowing most things too nut.  It doesn't matter how many times I tell myself to sow more thinly, I always seem to know better when it comes to actually doing the deed.  I must start listening to myself (which, unfortunately, is unrelated to talking to myself!)

I give up!

Posted: 16/08/2014 at 11:51

Unless you use effective protection against slugs (which, unfortunately, means pellets as all other methods are only partially effective or worse), insurance by means of multiple redundant spare plants is the way to go.  Most decent suppliers put so many seeds in the packet that the average household couldn't possibly consume all of the produce if they were all planted and grew to full production.  For one 2 metre row, I sow 15 beans individually in 3" pots in mid April (depends on where you live - I'm in central UK- add or subtract a couple of weeks depending on location and/or weather.)   Plant out when 8 inches tall.  When planting out, push a bean seed into the soil a few inches away (insurance policy 1.)  Take the empty pots and sow another 15 beans ready to replace those which you have planted out and which will inevitably be eaten by the slugs (insurance policy 2.)  When you plant these out, push another seed into the ground a few inches away (insurance policy 3.)  Most packets have 60 seeds.  Now you know why!   

Growing aquilegia from seed

Posted: 16/08/2014 at 11:36

Same here nut, no problems ever when it comes to germinating aquilegia other than I tend to sow them too thickly and have problems separating.  I sowed some at this time last year and left them through the winter in the seed tray in a cold frame.  The roots grew so much that it was a nightmare separating them and some root damage was inevitable.  The ones sown in January actually overtook them and neither set flowered this year, so I'll also be sticking to January sowing from now on to make life easier for myself.

Gardening Buddy.

Posted: 16/08/2014 at 11:29

Bobin the Robin is always within earshot to sympathise with my mutterings and curses while I'm out in the garden.  Also a pair of hedge sparrows (dunnocks) hang around at ground level, flitting in and out of the plants as I wander around.  The house sparrows are back in force this year and around 50-60 sometimes startle me as they fly out of the hedge when I approach.  They cost me fortune in seed for the feeders but it's worth every penny to see that their numbers have increased from about 2-3 years ago when they were at their lowest (maybe 3 or 4 pairs.)  They aren't all lightweights when it comes to helping in the garden either - aphids infestations have all been cleaned by the birds whenever they appeared - I think they are used to provide liquid for their young.

Tomato problems

Posted: 16/08/2014 at 11:10

Holes/rips might be from hail damage as you mentioned storms.  Another possibility is slugs/snails - they always climb up things during extended periods of rain.  Lower leaves on tomatoes invariably start to look tatty at this time of the year anyway though - as soon as they start to turn a bit yellow you may as well cut them off.  The plants look healthy enough to me and there seems to be no sign of disease.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Little Red Devils (Lily beetles)

They're about now! 
Replies: 1    Views: 186
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 17:03

Christmas has come early

New trees 
Replies: 9    Views: 818
Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 12    Views: 612
Last Post: 27/11/2014 at 21:12

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 556
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 506
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 366
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: 336
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 646
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 561
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: 1016
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 630
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: 804
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 376
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39


Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 700
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 745
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31
1 to 15 of 27 threads