Gary Hobson

Latest posts by Gary Hobson

Is Vermiculite dangerous

Posted: 10/05/2012 at 10:41

I do use Vermiculite myself. I use it to cover germinating seeds.

I had never heard of any connection with asbestos. Although, on reflection, Vermiculite is quite dusty, as you handle it.

I'm no expert on asbestos, and related issues.

However, I found this on the web:

"Mesothelioma [an aggressive cancer that is known only to be caused by asbestos exposure] incidence is also known to be high in commercial gardeners and other occupations which deal with large amounts of loose vermiculite. Note the appearance of the vermiculite. If it seems to carry a great deal of residual dust, dispose of it outdoors. Read the label as most manufacturers of vermiculite mark their products packaging with “Non Dusty” labels. Based on current information, there is no evidence that vermiculite currently available for horticultural purposes (e.g. potting plants) is a health risk when used as directed."

I suppose that the key phrase is 'when used as directed'.

So don't shake up a bag in a confined space, and then breathe the stuff.

Oh no, lily beetles are back!

Posted: 09/05/2012 at 12:24

I found about a dozen beetles on my lilies at the weekend. I got rid of them all very safely by crushing them. There were also a similar number of ladybirds in the same lilies, as you can see on these shots:

 If you spray with the intention of getting rid of lily beetles, you will inevitably destroy beneficial insects too.

Provado, which is commoly used to control lily beetle, is one of the sprays that contains a controversial insecticide, Neonicotinoid, which, some claim, is dangerous to bees. See, for example: Bee Killers (Soil Association)

I have a lot of lilies, and always mangage to control the beetle by checking the plants regularly, and removing the beetles by hand. Fortunately the beetles are bright red, so they are easy to spot, and they don't seem to make any attempt to fly off, so are easy to catch. Then it's just a matter of......

Talkback: Dandelions

Posted: 08/05/2012 at 12:18
louiseww wrote (see)
.... Bees love dandelions... If you want a riot of colour and not a regimented display as seen in council flower beds, leave them alone for the insects who love them ...

The point about insects needing nectar is very important.

Just at the moment, there are not that many other flowers providing nectar.

I have a patch of long grass. Every garden should have one. I took these snaps this morning:

I'm sure other people can grow dandelions better than I can. 

When I took this snap, I didn't realise that a ladybird had also sneaked into the photo (at the bottom left corner):

Oak Tree Planting

Posted: 07/05/2012 at 10:37

Bonsai enthousiasts actually try to grow oak trees in shallow bowls.

There's some thoughtful technical stuff, written by an expert, here:
Collecting and Repotting English Oak for Bonsai

Garden Gallery

Posted: 07/05/2012 at 09:46

We had one reasonably sunny day on Sunday (in Warwickshire), and the lily beetles came out in force:

I've no idea what these think they're doing:

Not pleasant, but necessary:

There were quite a lot of ladybirds on the lilies too. So people who resort to spraying do need to very careful. Manual execution is far more reliable.

Depression and how gardening saved me

Posted: 07/05/2012 at 07:52
lydiaann wrote (see)

... I had to take part in a short word-association session, answering - as is the norm - immediately with one word....

Spontaneous word-association is a reliable way of discovering what the subconscious mind 'really thinks' about things. Dreams are another. You have no rational control over either.

One of the pioneers of those ideas and techniques was Carl Jung. He was a great believer, not so much in gardening, but in the power of nature to heal the mind. A really interesting book, a collection of writings by him, is called 'The Earth Has a Soul'. You can see that book on Google Books here: The Earth Has a Soul

One of my favourite quotes from that book is: 'I derive a great deal of pleasure from growing my own potatoes'.

That quote is here: Carl Jung: Growing My Own Potatoes

Oak Tree Planting

Posted: 07/05/2012 at 05:43

Thanks for giving us the link.

That web page doesn't actually say that the Oaks are 2 years old, merely that they are pot-grown and 6ft.

In the natural state, an oak would take 10 years, or more, to reach that height. Perhaps these oaks are raised in pots, close together, to encourage them to reach upwards. I don't know exactly how they do it.

These trees are described as 'feathered'. The explanation, in the red box at the left of the page, says 'A good, well-defined prominent leader running straight up through the young tree'. Like a feather, I guess.

Just beneath, on the same page, is the standard English Oak. Those are being offered for just £10 for a 6ft tree, in a pot, to plant at any time: English Oak Tree

The Jubilee is coming up, and many communities are thinking of planting a commemorative English Oak.

Now we know what they should do.

Practical Garening Advise

Posted: 06/05/2012 at 07:00

You've got an awful lot of videos, and when people look at the link you gave, they just see the first page of your channel. These videos all take time to watch, so people may not get to see any of the other 70. I've picked out a couple that people here might like:

This is one of Ryan's videos, planting his early potatoes:

On this one, Ryan reviews Gardeners World Magazine, and he tells you what he thinks about

On this one, Ryan shows a book that was signed and sent to him by Alan Titchmarsh, after he had met Alan:

Ryan explains plug pellets:

Most regular posters on here, already know how to sow seeds, and plant potatoes (though possibly not about fibre plugs), so their interest may be more in seeing your particular garden. You could do something liked a guided tour round your garden and greenhouse. I had a look at your video watering the seed trays in the little greenhouse. You could have had some commentary, saying what each of the seed trays were.

I do think there's a lot of future developing these ideas. A video shows a lot more than a still photo. It would be really interesting to try to get a few more board members try to make some videos, and post them in the various threads.

You need to keep learning from the videos you've made, and keep improving them, and keep trying imaginative things.

Practical Garening Advise

Posted: 05/05/2012 at 11:18

That's very enterprising.

horticultureboy wrote (see)

... have you had a look at my video`s

I haven't looked at all your videos, just a few.

The video 'A busy day in the garden' was original.

The time-lapse of the garden had an interesting title, but nothing seemed to happen. Theoretically, you could do something amazing by filming a garden changing through a year, or perhaps your cucumber seeds germinating and growing; but that's not simple.

The videos called 'Berhard and Liz's Greenhouse' and 'On the allotment' were time-lapse, and more interesting - a lot was happening. The video about sowing cucumbers was very good.

Many people on here do post photos on a monthly photo thread. The thread for May is here: May Garden Photos

But those are mostly still photos. There are very few videos, and none are as original as yours. You could take some video of your garden each month, and post it on the monthly thread.

This is setting a new standard.

I hope a lot more people will have a look at the 70-odd videos in your YouTube channel, and tell us what they think.

You can actually embed videos into your posts. So you could pick out some of those that you think people might find interesting. I didn't look through them all.

Very well done.

Oak Tree Planting

Posted: 05/05/2012 at 07:18

It makes a difference if the tree has been grown in a pot, or if it is supplied bare-rooted.

Oaks are in leaf now, so there is no way that a bare-rooted tree could be transplanted until Autumn.

However, if the tree has been pot grown, then I can see no reason why it should not be planted at any time. The tree will still need to be watered regularly. But that should not be a problem, for a single tree.

I don't think that a nursery would offer you a bare-rooted tree at this time of year.

PD68 wrote (see)

.... a tree approx 1-2 years old and apparently 5ft ish ...

You use the word 'apparently'. I'm also surprised that a 2-year old tree could be 5'. Oaks normally grow at the rate of about 1 foot per year.

Discussions started by Gary Hobson

New BBC Gardening Show looking for Kitchen Gardeners

Replies: 11    Views: 2989
Last Post: 31/03/2014 at 19:57

Hampton Court Family Garden Competition

You are invited to design a family garden which will be built this year at Hampton Court 
Replies: 8    Views: 1783
Last Post: 10/02/2013 at 15:01
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