BRIAN KIDD: Solves problems with celery and has plenty of jobs for the weekend

Camellia Debbie
Camellia Debbie
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Our gardening expert answers your questions and sets you to work for the weekend

Q: My son has a camellia called Debbie and I would like a cutting. How and when is the best time to do this? VL, Emsworth.

A: Take cuttings now. Find short side shoots about five inches long and pull them off with a heel. Put them into seed compost but add 50 per cent sharp or potting sand. Mix well. Remove all leaves except the top pair and the tip. Dib in the cuttings firmly and keep in the shade. They will root after about six weeks. Once rooted, plant each into a three-inch diameter pot and keep indoors in a light window. Plant out in spring in a border or pot where the sun shines in the afternoon.

Q: My celery is growing well but one of the 12 plants has blisters on the leaves. Can you tell me what has caused this and what I do about it? Derek, Hilsea.

A: The culprit is leaf miner. Remove all infected leaves and get them out of the garden. There's no chemical control but if you use yellow sticky cards the flies which cause this problem will be caught on them. Hang the cards this week as the next batch of the winged parent flies will be around in the third week in August.

Q: My allotment is my best hobby. I love going there and the produce tastes wonderful, but my word, it is very hard work. There is a chain link fence right alongside of my plot and there is a huge bindweed growing on this fence and I have cut off the long strands which are trying to root into my plot. Have you any idea what I can do to kill off this weed? It was not there last year and it is now two feet wide and up to the top of the fence. KF, Fareham

A: Be patient as this job will take two hours. Carefully unwind every shoot on the fence and, keeping the shoots intact, put the bundles into carrier bags. Spray the weeds inside the carrier bag with a generous amount of Roundup weedkiller. The leaves and stems will take the weedkiller right through the plant and down to the underground roots and stems. Sounds strange but this will work as long as you are patient and thorough.

Q: My tomato plants in my greenhouse are in flower but there are not many fruits. The flowers come into bloom but no fruit. FL, Fratton.

A: There is a simple solution. Simply shake all the stems during the morning or after tea every day. This silly idea will ensure pollen grains fall from one flower to another. Commercial growers employ a person to do this every single day.


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