GARDENING: Brian Kidd solves your gardening headaches

Ash from your woodburner can be used on the garden, but not on the lawn.
Ash from your woodburner can be used on the garden, but not on the lawn.
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This week – from wood ash to manure

Q: I have just moved to Denmead and there is a pile of ash from the wood burner in the corner of the garden. Is it safe to spread it over the garden? CP, Denmead.

A: Wood ash can be used as a thin covering over all parts of the garden but not the lawn. Solid fuel ash should not be used as it makes the soil very sticky in winter.

Q: I sowed a row of Ambassador peas after reading your jobs for the week. Only five germinated. What do you think went wrong? SF, Eastney.

A: Mice, pigeons or crows. There is till time to sow more but start them off in insert cells and plant them once they are two inches high.

THANKS: I just want to thank you for telling us that we can buy manure at garden centres. I have found this very helpful and my roses are lovely after they had a top dressing in spring. CO, Chichester.

Q: We bought a pineapple at Christmas and for a bit of fun planted it in a pot in our heated conservatory. It has rooted and I have put it into a nice pot. Do you think it will ever produce a fruit and where would we find the fruit? V and PN, Southsea.

A: Well done. Yes you may get a fruit if it is warm all the time. We had a pineapple which fruited in the conservatory at Victoria Park, sadly the building was demolished. The fruit is produced at the top of the plant and when you see it forming as a baby it is very exciting.

Q: I grow roses in pots but they are not so good this year. I feed them and they improve for a couple of weeks. What would you suggest? SR, Milton.

A: In November knock them out of the pots and remove all the old compost.. Trim three or four inches off the ends of all the main roots and repot in John Innes No3 compost but mix in 10 per cent sharp or potting sand well before replanting. Finally put little feet under the pots to stop worms entering the pots.

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