Gardeners’ question time with Brian Kidd

Tomato 'Shirley'.
Tomato 'Shirley'.
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And you thought greenback was a US dollar bill!

Q: I grow a tomato called Shirley. The number of fruits is wonderful, they look as if they are ripe but are as hard as a rock. BS, Chichester.

A: The problem is greenback and is caused by sudden hot weather and over-use of high potash fertilisers. Water in the late evening. Do not feed with tomato fertiliser but use Maxicrop Complete and the fruits will ripen as they should.

Q: I had a bouquet for my birthday. Part of the arrangement was a kind of silver-haired plant. I would like to know its name and where I can buy it. JM, Fareham.

A: I think it’s isolepis, a hot house plant. If I see any I will let you know.

Update: I wrote about indoor freesias a few weeks ago and how difficult they are to find. Mrs Bennett, of West Leigh, says they are in at Keydell and Stanstead Park and cost £5 for 3 packs. Thank you, I’ve bought some.

Q: Do you think a new lawn is best from rolls of turf or seed? My wife wants an instant effect but I am more interested in best quality in the long term. CB, Bedhampton

A: Rolls of turf are best as the producers use excellent grass seeds of modern species and the

turf is weed-free. For best results buy or hire some scaffold planks. Never walk on newly-laid turf. Keep off it for two weeks.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​