Your gardening problems solved | Brian Kidd

Fallen leaves in the street can be collected and turned into leaf mould.
Fallen leaves in the street can be collected and turned into leaf mould.
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Can you use fallen leaves in the street to make compost and will seeds from your marrows come true next year?

Q: What can I do with sweet pea pods? Last year the seeds went mouldy but I planted some in pots. They grew well but it was too late to plant them. JE, Fratton

A: You have two options. No1: cut the stems down to four inches and put each in a three-inch pot. Leave in the greenhouse all winter, just moist. Plant out next April. No2: remove seeds and put in an envelope. Write what they are on the outside. Sow in early March. Remove the tops when five inches high. Plant out at end of April.

Q: I’ve decided not to use peat. Is it OK to use fallen street tree leaves like maple? FN, Southsea.

A: Maple leaves make good leaf mould. Put a 12in layer of leaves in an old compost bag. Add an activator. Continue and when the bag is full, put a weight on top. You will have a four-inch layer of leaf mould after a year, so fill several bags. 

Q: I grew a marrow and it has done well. Can I save my own seeds? SP, Eastney.

A: Yes. Dry them in the sun in a window to prevent them going mouldy. After a week put them in an envelope marked ‘marrow seeds’ and plant them in April. Home-produced seeds grow well but after three years buy a new packet of seeds because virus problems can occur if the seeds are continually sown from the original fruits.

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