Gardening: Your questions answered by Brian Kidd

Brian delves into his inbox to solve your horticultural queries.

Sunday, 26th January 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Sunday, 26th January 2020, 8:00 am
A robin nesting in a scarecrow.

Q: My efforts at making compost from green waste have been disappointing. The compost has not rotted. I intend to start again and will use your one part urine to seven parts water recipe. Can I use the old stuff to make a fresh start? JF, Cosham.

A: Tip the rubbish out. Now fork over the soil where the compost bin is to sit and place the bin on that area of ground. Put in four inches of the old unrotted stuff, sprinkle with the urine-in-water mixture and later in the day repeat the exercise. Make sure you keep doing this every time you add about three or four inches of compost.

Q: I had to laugh when you suggested a scarecrow for a reader’s allotment. I did exactly this and a robin made a nest in mine before producing five lovely little ones! LG, Hambledon.

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A: I am very pleased you wrote to me about this. It is delightful to hear some good news too!

Q: I always struggle when trying to grow begonia semperflorens from seed and am wondering if they are easier when bought as plugs? Your opinion would be appreciated. DK, Eastney.

A: Pam always sowed her begonias in January inside a wooden frame with a glass top and a soil-warming cable in the base. Her results were excellent but we now buy plugs because of the problems with damping off. It is so disappointing when a whole batch of seedlings dies overnight.This doesn’t happen to plugs because the growers have treated the seedlings with a product we can’t obtain. I would go for plugs, pricked out in April.

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