Gardeners' question time with Brian Kidd

Rodents can't climb plastic buckets, says Brian.
Rodents can't climb plastic buckets, says Brian.
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How to deal with seed-eating rodents and wonky cyclamen.

Q: I read your article a few weeks ago when you told us to start cyclamen tubers off again. I repotted mine but the leaves are tiny and the leaf stems seem far too long. What have I done wrong? Celia, Horndean.

A: This is etiolation. The plants need a lot more light but not bright sun. The leaves will be larger within a month and you won’t notice the long stems. A mirror set up so light is reflected will help.

Q: I put broad bean seeds in cells in my greenhouse and something has disturbed the compost. HV, Rowlands Castle.

A: Rats and mice can play havoc. Buy poison and put it in a dish nailed to the floor. If the bait disappears, you have a rodent. When the bait remains, the rodent is dead. To stop it happening again. Use two upturned plastic buckets with a shelf across the buckets’ bases. Mice can’t climb the sides of a bucket. Make sure there isn’t a shelf above the buckets because they are crafty enough to drop down from it and eat your beans again.

Q: I have dozens of woodlice beneath my carpets of campanulas. Any ideas? I don’t use chemicals in the garden. DL, Southsea,

A: Sweep them up with a dustpan and brush and put them in the compost bin. They will remain in the bin and chew up all the organic matter wonderfully well.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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