Brian Kidd answers your questions and suggests jobs for the coming week

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This week’s posers for Brian

Q: I am having trouble with the leaves on my ivy-leafed geraniums. They are sad and have blotches. MR, Fareham.

A: The plants lack vigour. Feed them withf Maxicrop Complete fertiliser. The leaves are beginning to show signs of a fungal disease called pelargonium rust. If you spray the leaves during the evening with Systhane it will prevent further damage.

Q: My little boy has been collecting cactus plants. Is it true they should not be watered during winter? JD, Bedhampton.

A: Cacti can be given small amounts of water during the winter if your home is warm. If it is not cosy, stop watering at the end of September and start again in April giving just a little water to begin with then more when the temperature rises. I’m glad your little boy likes growing things.

Q: I am growing courgettes. One is producing good fruits, the other, flowers with long stems and no fruits. What am I doing wrong? VH, Fareham.

A: You are doing nothing wrong, bear with it. The one which has flowers with long stems is producing boy blooms which are needed to pollinate the girl blooms on your other plant. Just let them get on with things.

Q: I grew shallots, beetroot and Salad Bowl lettuce in a narrow border after reading your article about creating a pretty border. Just to say how pleased I am. I am almost 90 and this is one of the best ideas I have tried. Thank you. PG, Fareham.

A: Thank you Peter. You made my day.


Daffodil bulbs can be planted between now and the end of November, five inches deep for best results. Buy a few each week and avoid cheap ‘mixed’. Buy named varieties Consider a drift of bulbs rather than straight lines.

Amaryllis, the hardy type, are in the garden centres. They are £2.99 each. Buy three bulbs and

plant in a sunny spot and you will be rewarded with flowers in the autumn forever.

See if you can find some autumn-flowering crocus corms. You may be able to find them in the packs with coloured pictures. These are usually pink and give a good show of flowers when the weather starts to feel colder.

Cuttings of bedding geraniums will root very easily if taken now, simply cut off non-flowering shoots, cut below a node and pop them alongside the parent plant . They root like weeds!

Orchids, bird of paradise plants and any tender indoor plants which were put out into the garden for summer should be brought back indoors now.

Get hold of some manure. Keep it in the bags until you are ready to dig it in during the autumn.

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