Brian Kidd solves your plant problems

Brian answers questions about potatoes being planted in tubs.
Brian answers questions about potatoes being planted in tubs.

Our horticultural hotshot delves into his inbox and post bag. 

Q: I have half an allotment and there is not enough space to grow potatoes. Have you got any ideas how I can plan enough space for the potatoes? BC, Cosham.

A: I have a friend at our allotment site and he grows his potatoes in potato tubs, which can be bought at garden centres. Fill them with compost and the results are better than the potatoes which are grown in the plot! 

Q: I love my roses but have to grow them in buckets. For the past two years, the rose blooms have been bad. What can I try? SC, Southsea.

A: The best idea is to completely change the compost. Prune back the roots by one quarter and re-pot in John Innes No3 compost but mix in 10 per cent extra potting sand and mix well. The spring will show you how strong the new leaves are. 

Q: I have dug out my gladioli plants and found there were two rounded bulbs growing on a flat, orange-coloured thick area. Do I pull the round ones off and is the orange part any good? VC, Portchester.

A: Allow the leaves to die back naturally because all the energy in the leaves will go down to the round corms. The round ones are then pulled off what was the first corm which you planted last spring. That part is discarded. Store the corms in a frost free place until late March when they are planted again..

Q: My compost bin has not done a good job because the compost is too wet. I got a leaflet which informs me how to compost properly. What can I do to get rid of the muck? PT, Fareham.

A: Simply take out a trench, put the contents in there and cover with soil. The compost will rot quickly.

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