Our horticultural hotshot delves into his inbox.
Q: I bought an electric appliance which came in a huge box packed with shredded paper. Is this any good for the garden? NC, Denvilles.
A: Add it to your compost bin. Put a four-inch layer on the top, then a box of grass mowings. Repeat until the shreddings are gone. Keep the bin moist using one part urine to seven parts water, sprinkled not poured.
Q: I had an e-mail from a firm advertising rhubarb which can be picked for nine months. What do you think? FD, Emsworth.
A: I have never known anyone who pulls rhubarb for this long, but I know good gardeners can force rhubarb and have written about it over the years. If you decide to buy a plant don’t expect miracles and you certainly won’t get a good crop in the first year. It takes two years before a good crop is possible. When planting use a huge amount of well-rotted manure.
Q: I am very fond of baby spinach and buy cellophane bags of it when it is in stock at our supermarket. I have lovely soil in my garden and wonder if it would grow here? EL, Waterlooville.
A: Your letter arrived just in time. Baby spinach can be sown directly into open ground next week. See if you can find a variety called Cello F1 Hybrid, bred for baby leaves.
Q: How and when should I prune my dwarf hebes? MT, Cowplain.
A: Prune as soon as the flowers have faded. They can be pruned quite hard and the important thing to bear in mind is to keep a good shape. New growths will probably produce an array of flowers in the autumn. Give them a feed of Maxicrop Complete plant food after pruning.
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