Our horticultural guru answers your questions and has plenty of jobs for you to get on with
Q: I was given a wonderful bouquet of flowers for my 70th birthday which contained red carnations. There are two shoots of foliage about six inches long. Can I get these to root? EM, Horndean.
A: Yes, what a good way of remembering your very special day. I have sent you instructions on how to take cuttings.
Q: I have a double flowering camellia called Debbie and have not been able to find one for my mum. She loves to root plants from cuttings and I would like to know when is the best time to take cuttings? Sally, Leigh Park.
A: The best time is during the third week in July. If you are going to give her the cuttings, cut off a branch with lots of side shoots which should be about four inches in length. Your mum will then take cuttings with a heel.
Q: My runner bean are doing well but I want to grow more so we have some in the autumn. When would be a good time to sow the seeds for beans in October? VS, Fratton.
A: Sow the seeds during the last week in July for your second crop. Very pleased you’re growing them. Wonderful climbing plants.
Q: I have enclosed three different seedlings and want to know the names please. LD, Locks Heath.
A: I have sent them back to you with labels. Your question will remind readers to label seeds when you sow them. Little seedlings are difficult to identify.
THIS WEEK’S TO-DO LIST
•Keep a sharp eye out for flea beetle on all types of cabbages, wallflowers and stocks. These tiny creatures hop all over the plants causing brown, blistered edges on the leaves and if left unchecked multiply rapidly. They are difficult to see because as you approach the plants, they hop off and hide away. The answer is to use ant killer dust over the foliage.
•As the early blooms of roses die off, remove the dead petals and seed head and put them in the compost bin. Never leave them on the soil, this encourages massive attacks of black spot disease. Spray roses late in the evening with Multirose to keep pests and diseases at bay.
•Plant out mid-season Brussels sprouts, at least 2ft 6in apart.
•Check for rust on hollyhocks. Remove all infected leaves then spray the undersides of the leaves, the soil around the plants and any wall behind the plants with systhane to prevent further outbreaks. There’s no need to stop growing these gems, we simply need to PREVENT that rust.
•To prevent carrot root fly, cover the row with insect barrier mesh supported by plastic water piping in the form of half-hoops. Ensure the edges of the mesh are either buried in the soil or kept in place with two-inch square wood. The idea is to stop the fly getting at the carrot seedlings.
•Try mowing the grass before it needs cutting. You will do it in less than half the time!
•Have you got a compost bin? It’s about time you did! Use one part urine to seven parts water every time you add a gallon measure of waste material which you want to turn into excellent compost.
•Make sure raspberries are kept moist. Cold washing-up water is ideal for them. Raspberries are always larger if watered well when they are in flower and when the fruits are forming.
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