GARDENING: Your questions answered by Brian Kidd 

Clematis Montana
Clematis Montana

Q: Can you tell me what is eating the leaves on my emerging potato plants? I have never seen them chewed like this before. Could it be foxes? R C, Portchester 

A: It is most certainly snails chewing them at night, not foxes. To combat the problem use a very light scattering of Sulphate of Potash around each group of stems and you will find empty shells in the morning.

Q: Any chance you can identify the seeds enclosed? My gran always saved seed from her flowers and I want to do the same. Trouble is she didn’t put labels on the envelopes. N B, Cosham.

A: Seeds are tricky when it comes to identifying them but these are nice and easy, they are French marigolds. Nice idea to sow them and remember your nan. Nans are very special to most of us.

Jobs for the next week

Buy seeds of winter flowering pansies ready to sow in the greenhouse at the end of the month. They are in full bloom at the moment but the seeds have to be sown at this time to ensure a good display of flowers at this time next year. 

Slugs are now very active. Go into the garden early in the morning, pick them off and give them a quick size 8 on smooth paving.

Sow seeds of F1 hybrid Brussels sprouts.If you have already planted out early varieties, choose another one which will produce sprouts in January to March. The seeds are quite small. Sow single seeds into insert cells – the size needed is 24 cells to a standard seed tray. F1 hybrid seeds are expensive but the Brussels sprouts are well behaved and they don’t turn into miniature cabbages like the old- fashioned types.

Clematis plants are now growing rapidly, encourage the shoots to grow upwards – clematis support frames don’t cost a fortune.