Our gardening expert solves your problems and sets you to work
Q: There’s a gap between our patio paving and a white wall. I would like to know which plant would be best in this space which is hot and dry. What would be best now and what would be best for spring? FL, Southsea
A: Pelargoniums. Choose one colour and buy potted plants in full bloom for instant impact. At Southsea they may survive the winter but if not, use wallflowers for spring flowering. Don’t use a mixture of different plants if you want impact.
Q: My cabbage seedlings have tiny holes. The leaves are crispy and brown on some plants. What’s gone wrong? ST, Gosport.
A: Flea beetle damage. They are difficult to find as they’re tiny. Use Trappit yellow sticky cards on sticks about 12in long between the plants. Use one sticky card for every six plants. In a few days you’ll see hundreds of beetles stuck to the cards.
Q: I enclose the top of one of my indoor tomato plants which has curled leaves and there are only the veins of the leaves left. What has caused this problem? HD, Purbrook.
A: Someone’s using a lawn weedkiller. Cut off the tops and with a bit of luck side shoots will grow from below and you may get a crop. Never keep weedkiller in the greenhouse or wear shoes after treating the lawn as tomatoes are very sensitive to just a sniff of hormone weed killers.
JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND
•Ensure all types of cabbages and wallflower seedlings are dusted with ant killer dust to prevent flea beetle damage. This pest goes unnoticed until seedlings look as if they have been scorched.
•Ensure Brussels sprouts are kept moist. Water each plant and don’t water soil between the plants. This reduces weeds.
•Sow parsley seeds and you will have fresh parsley all winter.
•On the allotment sow seeds of Ambassador peas. They are mildew-resistant and ready to eat in 12 weeks.
•Thin out carrots and remove weeds. Draw up soil around the tops of the carrot roots. Water afterwards and cover the crop with insect barrier netting to prevent carrot root fly damage. There is a natural predator which kills carrot root fly. Have a look at Nymasis on your computer.
•Think about a special area for composting leaves. Leaf mould is the best alternative for peat. Lots of gardeners prefer it to peat. Leaves turn into leaf mould if they are stored in large plastic former compost bags. Because of the moisture retention, leaves turn into leaf mould in just one year.
•Mow the grass in a different direction each time it has to be mown to reduce weed growth and stop grass seed stalks bending over.
•Don’t forget to put water out for the birds.
•Almost forgot – keep taking off dead flowers to ensure new flowers will appear.
Got a question for Brian? Click here and fire away.