Our gardening expert solves your horticultural problems.
Q: We love green-seeded broad beans and would like to grow some in our veg plot. Why do we have to wait until spring before they are planted? BR, Petersfield.
A: Green-seeded varieties are not hardy and will die even in mild but frosty conditions. Cloches will not help so wait until early March before you sow the seeds or plant them singly in cells. Keep indoors until the last week in March. Beans will be ready to eat eight weeks after the flowers fade.
Q: I put my hyacinths in deep pots in early September and put them under a box on the garage floor. The tops of the pots are covered with fine roots. The tops are yellow and about the size of a fruit spoon. Will they flower for Christmas? PH, Gosport.
A: Yes. Wait until the shoots are three inches before you bring them indoors. They will grow rapidly in the next three weeks.
Q: I grow a few chrysanthemums in the garden and my wife loves them. Is it possible to grow them in my empty greenhouse during the winter and how can I stop them flowering in the summer? DB, Cowplain.
A: I have sent you the address of a chrysanthemum nursery. When the catalogue arrives you will see a remarkable variety of plants which are bred to flower in the winter, some right up until January. In the catalogue you will see cultivation recommendations. Your letter has inspired me to grow some again.
Q: I rescued the fuchsias from my baskets and have potted them but they look dreadful. How hard can I cut them back? DG, Fratton.
A: Look to find where the main thick stem is and then look at each side branch and cut every side shoot back leaving just two nodes and take off the tops. Keep them only just moist and they will start to grow again in early March.
Got a question for Brian? Click here and fire away.