Jim Roberts

Latest posts by Jim Roberts

4 returned

Broccoli flowering?

Posted: 09/07/2014 at 19:48

I bought some sprouting broccoli seeds from B&Q earlier this year, planting them in late April. They've grown fast and are now a good 50cm tall or so, with plenty of large leaves.

The heads started forming a few weeks back, however on the packet it says to harvest next February/March, so I assumed I just needed to leave them. I've noticed tonight that one of the heads has started to flower, with a few yellow flowers showing through. I've read elsewhere that this is a bad thing!

So, for the plants that haven't flowered yet, do I need to harvest the heads and other sprouts now before they start to flower? If so, why did it say Feb/March on the packet?!

And the plant that has started to flower, is that now beyond usefulness or should I remove the head and keep it going?

Advice much appreciated.......


Peach leaf curl

Posted: 07/05/2014 at 19:23

I bought a dwarf peach tree last spring and placed it, in its pot, against a south-facing stone wall in my garden in the north of England. It did really well, and after some thinning out of the fruit at various stages, produced several really good, juicy peaches towards the end of the summer.

I did read about peach leaf curl, and had intended to keep the tree covered during the winter to prevent it from appearing. However, foolishly, I didn't get round to doing so and this spring the plant seems to have been struck down by a particularly bad bout of the disease. I have had to remove many leaves (perhaps 75% or so). Even leaves that look OK will, a couple of days later, show the signs.

I have given up hope of getting any fruit from the tree this year - it is looking decidedly forlorn and defoliated. I am now trying to decide what to do in order to prevent the tree dying or at least losing too much of this year's growth. I see two options:

1. Remove the young peaches that have now appeared post blossom (so the tree doesn't put any energy into growing fruit) and keep removing affected leaves. However, I am concerned that the disease doesn't seem to be subsiding, and I will have to keep removing leaves for the rest of the summer, weakening the tree.

2. Remove the young peaches, and spray now with Bordeaux mixture. My hope is that this would halt the continued spread of the leaf curl, and at least allow the tree the rest of this spring/summer to grow and recover. However, all the advice I have read says to spray peach trees with Bordeaux mixture in the autumn and again during the winter. Could I harm the tree by spraying at this time of year?

Advice appreciated!



Tree advice

Posted: 23/05/2013 at 14:05

I have a small, south-facing front garden in the north-east of England that I’d like to make a little bit more private by planting a few small trees/shrubs around the perimeter.


One of the prospective locations is shown in the photos below. I recently removed a huge lavender bush and have replaced it with 3 small lavender plants which I intend to keep under control by pruning them. Behind the lavender plants I’d like to plant a tree or shrub. Ideally this needs to be:


-          Fast growing;

-          Not grow too big (max 2 metres?) or be too difficult to control;

-          Not send out roots for more than about 2 metres (to prevent damage to my house/the neighbour’s house);

-          Be tolerant of full sunlight – the garden is something of a sun-trap;

-          Be tolerant of cold weather and strong winds – this is northern England!


I was thinking about something like a red acer, but have no idea if that would meet all the above requirements……..





Safe to plant bay tree near house?

Posted: 04/05/2013 at 14:35

I bought an ornamental bay tree today. It's about 1m in height and pruned to create that "lollipop" shape.

I was planning on keeping it potted, but am tempted now just to plant it in the garden. However, our garden is quite small, so it would be within 3m of our house. 

I would like to allow the tree to grow a little taller, perhaps to 1.5m and then keep it pruned back. Is it likely that the roots would ever grow out to such an extent that the foundations of the house would be put at risk?

4 returned

Discussions started by Jim Roberts

Broccoli flowering?

Replies: 1    Views: 626
Last Post: 09/07/2014 at 19:57

Peach leaf curl

Replies: 7    Views: 1787
Last Post: 10/05/2014 at 09:20

Tree advice

Replies: 9    Views: 1673
Last Post: 24/05/2013 at 12:05

Safe to plant bay tree near house?

Replies: 2    Views: 1836
Last Post: 04/05/2013 at 16:17
4 threads returned