Our popular gardening expert dips into his inbox to answer your queries and goes on to give you a list of jobs for the coming week
Q: Is it true slugs can be drowned in beer? HK, Horndean.
A: Yes. A reader tells me he sank several jam jars in his garden and found hundreds of dead slugs. He used the cheapest supermarket beer.
Q: I read your article about growing Salad Bowl lettuce but they had gone when I visited the garden centre. They had seeds but is it too late to sow them? JF, Emsworth.
A: No. Remember, Salad Bowl leaves are cut when they are needed. New leaves will grow again.
Q: I have a pink magnolia stellata rosea and want a cutting to root. CP, Farlington.
A: In July take off side shoots about 6in long. Pull off side shoots with a heel and trim off the excess skin. Insert cuttings around the edge of a flowerpot in sandy compost. Keep cuttings shaded. Layering can be done as an alternative in April. I have sent you a diagram to show you how to do this.
THIS WEEK’S TO-DO LIST
• Be prepared. Buy copper mixture to prevent potato and tomato blight. Spray when the weather’s humid and repeat after rain. One heaped tablespoon in a gallon of water. Spray when the sun is not on the plants.
• Tomatoes can now be planted in the open garden. Try to avoid strong winds. If it’s possible to give them protection, this is a good idea.
• Keep the hoe going especially while weeds are small. Pick them up and put on the compost heap. They make a good layer between grass mowings.
• When mowing, don’t forget to sprinkle on one part urine to seven parts water after each box of mowings. Try to cover the top of the heap to keep in the warmth. This will help destroy grass seeds which are cut with the mowings.
• Sow a few more runner beans to follow those already planted and don’t forget there’s a place in every garden for runner beans as it is one of the most attractive climbing plants.
• Continue to sow short rows of beetroot, spring onions, radish and lettuce. Just a few seeds every fortnight. You don’t need 300 lettuce!
• Plant marrows outdoors now. A bucket of well-rotted compost or manure dug into the soil. Put a 4ft-long cane alongside the plant and you will be able to water the plant at the root as the leaves grow so large. You can’t see where the water has to go.
• Ridge cucumbers can be planted out now.
• If you have a huge geranium in the greenhouse, pop it into the garden border and take cuttings in August. This will give you a bit more space in the greenhouse and the old girl will flower really well outside all summer.
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