Our gardening expert sorts out your problems and sets you a to-do list for the week ahead – the busiest of the year
Q : My Autumn Bliss raspberries were lovely last year, but there were maggots in some of the fruit. Can this problem be prevented? PD, Baffins.
A: Spray with pyrethrum liquid which you will find labelled as PY at Keydell. Do it in the evening when the flowers are in bloom. If you prefer a safe alternative, hang up yellow sticky traps when the flowers are in bloom. The beetles will stick to the Agrilan cards and the maggots will not be so prolific.
Q: I have a rhododendron in a pot and it’s been there for a long time. When’s the best time to plant into a larger pot? Mel, Copnor.
A: This is the best time to put it into a larger pot, using ericaceous compost. Leave about 2ins above the original root ball so that you can keep the plant moist. Water well and leave it for two hours before repotting.
Q: I am growing runner beans in a growing bag on a path alongside my flat. I was really pleased the landlord allowed me to do this. Last week you told us to plant another batch and I told my neighbour what you wrote but he said it was too late to plant them. If I can show him your answer printed in The News he will see it for himself. Incidentally when is the last date that runner beans can be planted? FP, Milton.
A: I feel I should send you a photo frame so he can put the answer on his sideboard! Runner beans can be sown during the middle of July to guarantee a marvellous crop. I am really pleased you are growing them in a growing bag and hope lots of our wonderful readers will do the same. Beans are excellent vegetables – one of the best for good health.
Q: What is spoiling my winter-flowering pansies? Sample enclosed, GD, Emsworth.
A: The specimen was sent in dry newspaper and arrived in perfect condition. The problem is a massive attack of viola aphid. If you spray the plants with PY, which you will find at Keydell Nurseries, it will control the pests without using chemicals. An alternative is to use liquid soap flakes which you will find at your shop in the area where the washing powers are on show. A capful in two gallons of water. Spray in the evening when the sun is off the plants.
NOW, TIME TO GET TO WORK – JOBS FOR THE WEEK AHEAD
• Water early potatoes with Maxicrop Complete liquid fertiliser, allowing three weeks before gently removing some of the soil from the ridging. You will see little potatoes and pull off just a few here and there, leaving the plant to grow on. If the soil is dry, start watering as soon as the potatoes come into flower and you will increase the size of the crop.
• Stop ants climbing trees by putting a band of grease all around the trunk.
• Trim the edges of the lawn every time you mow.
• Each time you add a four-inch layer of mowings to the compost bin, add either 2oz of sulphate of ammonia or one part urine to seven parts water.
• Take out side shoots on tomatoes and give them a shake every day to ensure the pollen falls onto the flowers.
• Give tomatoes a drink of calcium nitrate to prevent blossom end rot.
• Dust a ring of ant powder around tomato stems to stop woodlice climbing to eat the little fruits.
• Take the tops out of chrysanthemums growing as spray blooms.
• Sow another batch of maincrop peas in insert cells. If you cover these with fleece once they are planted outdoors you won’t have maggots in your peas!
• Sow just a few lettuces such as Salad Bowl. You just cut the leaves off these and leave the plants.
• Did you sow some runner beans? Why not? They look wonderful on a wigwam of eight feet high canes in the flower border.
• Try some capillary matting so your plants will remain watered while you are on holiday. Buy a piece the size of a tea towel, fill the sink with water ensuring the matting is well down in the sink and put the pot plants on the matting on the drainer. It does work and the plants are, never over-watered
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