Liquid feed is key to great basket blooms

Hanging baskets need to be  fed regularly
Hanging baskets need to be fed regularly
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GARDENING: Brian Kidd on cold frames and frosted camellias

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The hanging baskets are looking good thanks to them being watered regularly and given some feed.

A little liquid feed every other day, using the minimum strength, is the best idea because the plants are in a very small amount of compost. Just think about it, every time they are watered the food they require is washed out of the compost.

A bucket on the ground below the basket helps to prevent wasting water and can be used for another basket.

It would be a good idea to try to find a liquid feed for the flowers which would stay active in the baskets.

There is one called Maxicrop All-Purpose plant food. This has a seaweed base and, when used in a watering can, the compost absorbs the feed and the roots penetrate the compost and absorb the elements they need to grow and flower.

There are four different types of Maxicrop and they are all available at garden centres.

We use Maxicrop All-Purpose for almost everything in the garden.

There is another especially for tomatoes and another which is called Plant Stimulant – this is good if your plants are not growing well, it gives them a bit of oomph.

Another with sequestered iron is for plants that need extra iron. Hydrangeas, azaleas and rhododendrons benefit from this feed and heathers just romp away after just one application.

During our normal cool summer, it is a good idea to use the Maxicrop for tomatoes. But when it is very hot, plants don’t need so much potash, so it’s a good idea to change to Maxicrop All -Purpose plant food.

Are your tomato fruits hard and green inside? This problem is called hard back and is caused by a combination of too much potash and a high temperature.

Sheets of newspaper pegged over the foliage will help prevent this nuisance.

The flat-backed round-front flower baskets which fit on to a wall are doing really well.

This is because the wall stops them from drying out in very hot weather.

Feed them regularly and they should produce a mass of blooms and foliage.

To keep the plants growing really well, keep taking off the dead heads.

Good gardeners do this every day because they have learned that annual plants produce flowers which produce seeds, but if the seed heads are removed, the plant can’t reproduce and, in desperation, they grow again as long as they have food.

So keep dead heading!