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Latest posts by obelixx


Posted: 20/07/2013 at 19:36

The flowers are much less compact than green broccoli and the stems are more tender so do pick the heads now before they open and turn yellow.  In future, pick them younger.  They'll keep on cropping.

Mine have just produced their first edible heads which is earlier than usual but I planted mine earlier on purpose so I'd get crops before they get frozen to death in winter.  Haven't managed to over winter any winter brassicas for the last 6 years it's been so cold here.

Rhubarb. When/how to split the crowns?

Posted: 20/07/2013 at 16:19

Wait till autumn when the stalks and leaves have died down then dig it up - you'll need to dig deep to get it intact - and split it with a saw or a bread knife depending on the size.

Replant at the same depth as before in holes which you have prepared with plenty of well rotted manure and garden compost to help with moisture retention and feeding.  Give them plenty of psace so they can grow big and strong.   Water in well and then cover with a good pile of more well rotted manure to keep the crowns protected over winter.   You should be careful not to pick too many stems in the first year after transplanting as new plants will need energy from the leaves to build up a good root system.  They should certainly not be forced in the first year after planting.

Ants in plant pots

Posted: 19/07/2013 at 17:52

It's pretty hard to get rid once they're in and they can kill the plants with their tunnelling.

Water them wel, if possible by sinking the pots in a bucket of water and waiting till the air bubbles stop then allow to drain.   Water again with a solution of one small bottle of essential oil of cloves in 5 litres of water.  They hate the smell and will move on.  Keep your pots moist in future and use the oil of cloves form time to time.

It works on borders too but is best after wetting the soil as it soaks in better rather than running off the top.   

Weed control

Posted: 16/07/2013 at 19:09

I don't like weedkiller either but do resort to it on paths and empty beds but all my horsetail is in mixed beds so spraying is not an option.  I'll just keep pulling till it gives up or I move which won't be for years in either case.


Weed control

Posted: 15/07/2013 at 09:51

I can only sympathise.  I have this stuff in three beds at the fornt now and also find it doesn't respond to chemical attack and digging just makes it worse and i think the log wet spring has made it even more prolific than usual this year.

I'm just pulling up every stalk I see at regular intervals in the hope it will eventually weaken and give up or at least stay under control.   It can take me a few hours though as the beds are quite big.  

It's easier when the soil is moist so last night I watered one of the beds in preparation for pulling today.   I then leave all the extracted plants to dry out for at least a week and then they go in the dust bin or on a bonfire - never in the compost heaps. 


Which Hozelock Automatic Watering System?

Posted: 14/07/2013 at 16:57

A few years ago I bought a watering system with central pods from which small tubes came out and were pegged into individual pots.  The pods were attached to the tap and had a timer.  However I had so many pots it became a nigtmare sorting out all the little extensions and some visiting critter dislodged a couple of the tendril feeders and I lost plants .    I couldn't bring myself to go through it all the next year.

I now collect all my pots together at the back of the house and put a sprinkler on a timer to go off for 30 minutes every night.   I carefully check the reach of the spray so everything gets some water.  It works a treat and is simple and easy and I can add or reduce the number of pots just by changing the reach of the sprinkler.

The timer is a simple Gardena T1030 and I now have it connected to a Y fitting so I can run two hoses and water the greenhouse too.   I've just got back to find all the plants looking very happy despite a week of heatwave.   Just need to put them all back weher they belong now - when they've dried out a bit and aren't as heavy!


Dead Heading Roses

Posted: 14/07/2013 at 16:47

If it's a repeat flowering rose you need to cut off the flowers as soon as they go over and either lose their petals or turn brown.  Cut each one back to a set of leaves coming from the stem.   Give it a feed of liquid rose or tomato feed to encourage new flowers.

However, if it is an old fashioned rose or a rambler that flowers just once in a season, dead heading means you will lose any hips that will look decorative in autumn and also feed the birds.   

Ask the neighbours if they can remember whether it flowers again.  Failing that, dead head half and feed it and see whether you get new flowers or good hips and then you'll know for next year.

Come autumn, give it a good mulch of well rotted manure and/or garden compost and next spring give it some blood, fish and bone or pelleted chicken manure or special rose food to help it make more flowers. 



Posted: 14/07/2013 at 16:41

Lots of clematis now come without tendrils.  I have 3 integrifolias, a purple leaved recta something plus an Arabella, a Hendryetta and a lovely blue one whose label I have lost - all without tendrils.   Alyonushka was another but she was didn't like my winters.


HELP! plant identifying its ruining my life

Posted: 14/07/2013 at 16:32

Doesn't the law say you can prune any neighbouring plant which overhangs your garden space as long as you give back the prunings to the owner? 

I don't see why you can't spray a menace which is coming over and invading and ruining your garden, especially if you happen to need to spray weeds in your won and his just get in the way because they're invading.    Do it when he's out, although with all those windows covered in Boston creeper I don't see how he could see you at it.    He might however take his revenge later when you do get some good plants of your own in the garden so..........

Take the advice to consult the local environment officer about waste and rubbish and rats too and they may just serve an order on him.  If he doesn't clear it up, they will and they'll send him the bill.

And then spray if you have to.



Non- flowering Acanthus Mollis

Posted: 14/07/2013 at 16:19

They are best treated mean as they flower best in poor soils.   While we were looking for this house we rented one and neighbours had 3 fine specimens growing in gravelly soil at the foot of a brick gate post.  They flowered their socks off every year and were stunning so I planted 3 when we started this garden.

I have extremely fertile loam soil and only ever get lush, healthy foliage.

We've just got back from hols in the Charente region of France where we saw masses of them in roadside verges in villages and at the foot of garden walls - full sun, well drained, alkaline gravelly soil, not a lot of food or water and flowering magnificently.

This autumn I will move mine to the one bit of poor soil I have, right on the edge of the road, well drained and in full sun.    Fingers crossed for flowers next year.

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