QUESTION TIME

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It's amazing what you can achieve with a broom handle, a pinch of seed and... children.

BRIAN KIDD: Get the children in your life to do the hard work

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Q: We bought a mimosa in a pot last Christmas and it bloomed in February. It was amazing. I wrote to you and you told me how to prune it and I did exactly what you suggested. My wife brought it into our conservatory two weeks ago and since then quite a few of the flower buds have fallen off. What are we doing wrong?

Q: We bought a mimosa in a pot last Christmas and it bloomed in February. It was amazing. I wrote to you and you told me how to prune it and I did exactly what you suggested. My wife brought it into our conservatory two weeks ago and since then quite a few of the flower buds have fallen off. What are we doing wrong?

P and KG, Horndean.

A: Give the pot some water as soon as the compost feels dry and the problem will be resolved. Check every other day.

Q: I had a piece of ginger left over and put it into a pot and the most wonderful leaf has

emerged. I’m delighted. I live in a flat and this will be a nice house plant. It is in a 3in diameter pot. It will need a bigger one. When should I re-pot it and which compost please?
JD, Southsea.

A: I love letters like yours - well done! Don’t do anything dramatic, just keep doing what you are doing at the moment but in April re-pot into a 5 in diameter pot in a loamless compost with plenty of crocks in base of the pot.

Q: I am going to sow some meteor early peas in cells because I read your jobs for the week which I follow to the letter. You said keep the seeds out of the way of mice.

How do you do this?
FP, Cosham.

A: Mice eat peas and sweet pea seeds as if the are sweets ! Put the seed trays on the tops of buckets turned upside down. The mice can’t climb up the sides of plastic buckets.

Keep the buckets away from shelves otherwise mice run along the shelves and drop down on to the seed trays.

JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND

n The colder weather is doing a great job in breaking down the clods of soil which were dug over a few weeks ago. Keep off newly-dug soil otherwise the surface will be sticky and cling to your shoes.

n Try to get tulip bulbs in during the next few days, This is an excellent time to plant them because they are far less likely to have slug damage – the cold weather induces slugs to go to sleep for a while.

n Fork around the parsley and thyme plants to ensure you have proper stuffing for the turkey or chicken at Christmas.

n The leaves on the Brussels sprouts continue to look brown or yellow at the base of the plants. Take off these leaves and put them into the compost heap.

Brussels sprouts which look as if they are rotting will recover in spring. The rotting is due to the very wet weather we experienced in October. In March, the ones which look as if they were rotten will burst out into Brussels sprout rosettes which are delicious, just as good as spring cabbage.

n Spring cabbages which should be ready for picking in May need protection from pigeons and slugs. Get nets for the pigeons and pellets for the slugs. The nets will stop the birds getting the pellets.

n Have you taken down the runner bean canes yet? No? Nor have I, but mean to do it this week with a bit of luck!