Our gardening expert tries to solve readers’ problems and compiles a to-do list for you to carry out in the coming days.
Q: I want a new lawn. Are rolls of turf the best choice? JD, Fareham.
A: They may seem expensive but they’re a good choice. Get hold of some planks and walk on them, never newly-laid turf.
Q: We planted a pot-grown rhubarb at the allotment but overnight the leaves disappeared. HK, Portchester.
A: This was certainly snails. Use crushed egg shells over the surface if you do not want to use slug pellets.
Q: My cyclamen was wonderful and I want to bring it on again. It’s in a pot outdoors. What should I do? GV, Copnor.
A: Take it out of the pot and remove all old leaves but keep the new ones. Wash the pot, dry it and repot in any loamless compost. Keep compost moist. Bring the plant indoors, put in a cold room in plenty of light and it will flower from autumn onwards.
Q: On my allotment paths there is a very invasive weed and I am wondering if SBK brushwood killer would kill it? JD, Eastleigh.
A: SBK will control and kill all broad-leafed weeds but not grass. You didn’t send a sample, but from your description the weed is ground elder and SBK will work very well.
Q: How long does it take for carrots to germinate? Mine have been in for four weeks and there are no seedlings yet. SL, Emsworth.
A: Carrots should germinate in 10 to 15 days. Sow again but keep the seed bed moist all the time.
Q:I have a geranium in a huge pot and the plant is about six feet high. My husband thinks it would be a good idea to plant it outside. What do you think? KG, Cosham.
A:It is very large but would give your garden instant impact, I would plant it outdoors and take cuttings in September as you love it so much.
JOBS FOR THE WEEK AHEAD
• Stop cutting asparagus. The stems now need to grow so the ferny leaves can send down nutrients to the roots to encourage next year’s crop. Give the plants a feed of blood, fish and bonemeal. Fork into the soil and water afterwards.
• Sow seeds of calceolaria pot plants in the greenhouse, a job often forgotten. The beautiful balloon-like flowers will bloom next spring in a frost-free greenhouse.
• Enjoy eating strawberries from the garden, but get into the habit of taking a bucket for weeds. Strawberries quickly become smothered in them.
• Keep removing side shoots on tomatoes regularly. If the bunches of fruits are heavy, use twist ties to support the trusses on the tomato canes.
• Spray outdoor tomatoes and potatoes with copper mixture to PREVENT blight, I get my leg pulled about this because I warn of blight so often BUT at least you are reading these articles!
• Start thinning grapes. Wear a hat so your hair does not contact the fruit. Hair spoils the ‘bloom’ on the skins of the fruit.
• Spray the foliage of fruit trees with plain water in the late evening to PREVENT red spider mite.
• Cut back one in three runner bean vines so the ones cut back will shoot lower on the vines. This will prolong the crop, a good idea if you are short of space. If there are no flowers on the vines and they are up to the top of the canes, remove half the leaves, give them just one ounce of sulphate of potash along every three yards of the row. Gently fork this in and water afterwards. The reason for non-flowering is that too much manure was put into the ground but this little trick will bring on the flowers.
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