Your weekend gardening jobs | Brian Kidd
Our gardening expert with lots to keep you occupied this weekend – weather permitting.
• Keep dead-heading dahlias and remove the two little buds alongside each of the centre buds to ensure the blooms will have long stems.
• Water indoor plants less frequently. Touch the compost and water only when the surface feels dry.
• Try to do some winter digging: incorporate manure or compost where potatoes, peas and beans are to be planted.
• Remove yellowing leaves on Brussels sprouts. Keep the ground firm and use canes to support plants if you garden in a windy area.
• Prick the soil over around spring-hearting cabbages and hand-pick caterpillars or dust with Pyrethrum powder if you can’t find the pests.
• Sort the strawberry bed. If the plants are old there are plants at garden centres. Why not buy a strawberry barrel? No more weeding through the strawberry bed. Use John Innes Number 3 compost for a strawberry barrel.
• Pick up fallen leaves and compost. Put them into large old compost bags turned inside out so you are looking at black bags. Use one part urine to seven parts water each time you put in a 12in layer of leaves. Close the top of the bag and put a piece of paving stone over the top. This makes leaf mould in a year. Leaf mould is even better than peat.
• Hand-weed between wallflowers because chickweed soon smothers them. Chickweed grows very fast in October because it is absorbing nitrogen from the soil. Nitrogen is the element that makes plants grow and chickweed prevents nitrogen from being washed into the subsoil. Chickweed is full of nitrogen therefore it is a good idea to compost it as long as it isn’t in flower. If in flower, the seeds form when in the compost bin and will grow again when the compost is used as a top dressing.