Gardening | This week's jobs with Brian Kidd
Brian sets you to work…
• If you enjoyed potted hyacinths indoors and the flowers are now fading, keep the compost moist but when the flowers have turned brown, remove all the dead ones but leave the green flower stem. Plant the whole group out in the garden straight away, don’t wait until the leaves die off. If you do this without breaking up the roots, the bulbs will naturalise.These bulbs are best not grown indoors in pots again. The quality of the blooms is usually pathetic.
• If all the leaves on pots of poinsettia have fallen off, it may not be your fault. It was probably over-watered before you bought it or it was too cold where it was on sale. Make the best of the red bracts on top of the plant. Pick some sprays of evergreens or some pieces of conifer and stick these into the compost in the pot.
• Did you remember to buy and install a soil warming cable in the greenhouse? A lot of you did because there are only a few left at local garden centres.
• Germinating seedlings must have good light. If there is insufficient light, the stems will become long, thin and weak. Wash the glass of the greenhouse. Flash, the bath cleaner, makes this job easier. When rinsing. Add two tablespoons of vinegar in a gallon of water to the rinsing water. This gets rid of limescale in our local water.
• In the greenhouse, hang up yellow traps just above the plants. Give the plants a gentle shake occasionally and any whitefly will fly on to the sticky traps.
• If you have frogs or toads in the greenhouse, they will need water so they may spawn. A sunken dustbin lid filled with water fits the bill. The rim must be at the same level as the soil otherwise they won’t be able to get in and out.
• Don’t leave it too late – there are only seven weeks left to move trees and shrubs.
• Prune blackcurrant bushes. Remove the wood which fruited. You will see where the fruit was because there will be fine stems left behind where the fruit was last summer.
• Remove the lowest side shoots on gooseberries so the fruit will grow on clear stems. This helps enormously when you are bending down picking the berries.
• Prune HT and floribunda roses in the next fortnight. Cut stems back hard, down to outward-pointing buds. Give the bushes a feed using Vitax Q4 pelleted fertiliser forked in and a teaspoon full of Epsom salts and hoe this in. Epsom salts encourages excellent leaves and reduces blackspot.