Our gardening expert answers your letters and suggests jobs for the weekend.
Q: We prefer broad beans which are green when cooked. When do we sow this type? DM, Copnor
A: Sow seeds of the green type in late February indoors. You don’t need a greenhouse. Sadly they’re not hardy.
Q: Dad was a great gardener. He bought his fertilisers from an allotment association in bags. One has FBB on it. What is it? ND, Waterlooville.
A: Blood, fish and bone, a great fertiliser. It can be used anywhere to great effect in spring using three or four ounces per square yard forked in lightly.
Q: I’m trying to fit bubbled polythene inside my greenhouse to warm the air. I used double-sided sticky tape but it keeps falling down because of moisture. Freda, Clanfield.
A: Garden centres have the perfect fixings. They’re green and look like half-moons with a small lug on each. They stay in place.
Q: When can I move a camellia bought three years ago? It is in the wrong place but I have a large area where the early morning sun will not burn the flowers. GS, Southsea.
A: You can do this right now. Water the shrub well the day before the move but choose a pleasant day and take your time.
Q: Can I divide a clump of scabious plant now or would it be better to wait until the spring? NC, Emsworth.
A: Do it now because the soil is nice and warm and moist.
JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND
•This is a good time to book the mower in for a service. You’ll get it back in three weeks. Left until spring everyone will have beaten you to it... and the grass keeps growing while you wait.
•Thin autumn-sown carrots. Earth up the soil over the bases to stop the tops going green. Keep crop covered with insect barrier mesh as carrot root fly is around again.
•Sow autumn-sown varieties of broad beans. It is essential you get the right ones. Aqua Dulce types are suitable. Sow single seeds in insert cells for best results. Plant out when seedlings are two inches high.
•Takes old leaves off rhubarb. Use them between a layer of mowings to help the composting process at this time of year.
•How are you progressing with the winter digging?
•Shall we leave the fallen leaves on the lawn or pick them up? If you love the lawn you will pick them up regularly. If you usually put leaves in a wire mesh cage, line the inside with former compost bags making sure the black colour of the bags is facing the garden – it looks smarter. This lining of polythene keeps the leaves moist and speeds decomposition.
•Buy some tulips. These are best planted in late November when there are fewer slugs. Get hold of some sharp sand to put into the planting holes. This reduces slug damage.
•Make sure anything which is going on to the bonfire is kept dry to reduce the amount of smoke. PLEASE check there are no hedgehogs underneath the bonfire. Thank you very much.
Got a question for Brian? Click here and fire away.