Gardeners’ question time with Brian Kidd

Lettuce Salad Bowl.
Lettuce Salad Bowl.
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This week: from pickled beetroot to rotting turf.

Q: I read about growing a few vegetables in a flower border in one of your articles last year and decided to grow Salad Bowl lettuce because I could take leaves off and leave the plants. Beetroot were also very good and are still going. Will they resist frosts and what about the curly kale which are huge and look so attractive. Can I just take off a few leaves here and there?

BC, Emsworth.

A: It is most kind that you told me how pleased you have been with this idea and that you are going to repeat it again next year. The beetroot are hardy and will happily survive winter weather as long as the soil is well drained, but I would recommend that you dig them out and pickle the roots.

Curly Kale is the hardiest of greens. Take a few leaves off here and there but bear in mind that you might like to retain a neat-looking plant.

Q: After the recent frosts we took out our begonia Non-Stop and there are hard lumps on the base of the dead stems. Will they grow again next year? IG, Farlington.

A: Yes, store them in dry peat or the dry contents of an old growing bag, four inches deep will be OK if kept in a dry place which is frost-free. Start them off again at the end of February or early March. Put a label on the box!

Q: I have taken up a few square yards of my lawn and have stacked the turf to use for potting. How long will it be before the turf has rotted? SD, Purbrook.

A: If you cover it with a piece of material to keep the light off, it will be ready to sieve in spring.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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