GARDENING: Jobs for the week ahead with Brian Kidd

Earthworm saved from the sun.
Earthworm saved from the sun.
Act now to produce camellia blooms like these next winter.

GARDENING: Best winter-flowering shrub of all now needs some TLC

SOUTHSEA GREEN: Our work is beginning to pay dividends

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From saving worms to tasty spring greens  

Fork areas in the garden where summer flowers are intended. Scatter about two ounces of Vitax Q4 fertiliser to each square yard and lightly rake in. The fertiliser will work once the plants are planted after mid-May.

If you see worms on paths, they have tried to get some water and can’t get back into the soil. Pick them up and put them under the soil. Once out of the ground, they can’t get back.

Love spring greens? Try sowing seeds of summer cabbage called Hispi. It's an F1 hybrid and the leaves are green while plants are young. Sow single seeds in insert cells. Plant out once large enough to handle and eat in 12 weeks. Sow like this every four weeks until August.

Sow marrow and courgette seeds indoors.

Continue to cover emerging shoots on potatoes and use the compost and potash as suggested last week to prevent slug damage. Scatter slug crystals between rows. These will not harm birds, it only kills slugs by dehydrating them.

Give early potato plants half a gallon of water to each plant, applied slowly. If the haulms look thin and weak, add a dessertspoon of sulphate of ammonia to the water but don’t allow the mix to touch the leaves.

Look at roses to check for greenfly. A quick squeeze here and there where groups of aphids are seen may keep them under control but a spray of Multirose will be even more effective.

Support broad bean plants. A very good way of doing this is to insert four feet long canes upright every four feet along both sides of the row and then tie in horizontal canes, a bit like a fence. The horizontal canes should be four inches above each other. This is a good wind-resistant method and especially good on exposed sites where high winds often break the plants when they are laden with pods.

French beans, either the dwarf varieties or climbing types, can be planted directly into the ground. Dwarf beans are best planted eight inches apart in double rows, 12 inches between rows. There are usually quite a few 'misse' so sow a few extra seeds at the ends of the rows and these can be used to fill gaps. Scatter slug crystals because slugs and snails eat germinating beans as if there’s no tomorrow.