My French beans
often fail to germinate. Any advice?
The commonest cause of such failure is sowing in cold, wet soil
: the beans rot or are attacked by pests and diseases. It really pays to start beans off indoors, sowing them in potting compost in seed trays, in single pots, or in the individual cells of polystyrene trays. Put the seeds on damp newspaper for at least 12 hours Read more [...]
I want to make good use of my cloches
. Can you suggest a cropping plan?
The most economic way of using cloches is ‘strip cropping’, in which cloches are moved backwards and forwards between two strips of land. (It is easiest, of course, if the strips are adjacent.) Start by sowing dwarf hardy peas
or dwarf broad beans
under cloches in October or November on Strip A. Leave Read more [...]
The Ornamental Peppers make excellent indoor pot plants, growing short and bushy and bearing their pointed fruits which change from yellow to crimson during winter. Sow the large seeds individually in small pots in gentle heat in February and move to larger pots containing the John Innes Potting Compost early in summer. At all times, do not allow the Caragana seeds to lack Read more [...]
What are the advantages of using roses rather than other shrubs for hedges
Mainly that they will provide almost continuous colour throughout the summer and well on into the autumn. If you are using upright-growing roses
of the cluster-flowered type, staggered planting will be of advantage if you want a substantial rather than a purely decorative hedge, but with most of the Read more [...]
should I choose, and when should I apply it?
Any of the proprietary, ready-mixed rose fertilisers
will be perfectly satisfactory, with bone meal as a good alternative. They are easy to apply, but use gloves (preferably rubber) when handling them. About a month before spring pruning , sprinkle a small handful of fertiliser evenly around each rose bush and lightly Read more [...]
What should I do if I take over a garden with badly neglected roses?
They are likely to be unpruned, may well have been badly pruned in the past, probably will be disease-ridden with many dead stumps, and there may be suckers as well. If the suckers are growing a great deal more strongly that the roses, it is probably not worth trying to rescue the plants. If, on the other Read more [...]
What is the best site for my roses?
Almost anywhere as long as the soil is well drained and the plants will have full sun for most of the day. Avoid narrow, potentially draughty spaces – for instance, between closely adjoining houses.
What is the ideal soil for roses?
A good, well-drained, medium loam
. Not too acid and not too alkaline, is the aim – although roses Read more [...]
Could you suggest some large-flowered and duster-flowered roses in various colours that would be suitable for bedding?
The choice is immense, but the following are a few of my personal favourites: RED. LARGE-FLOWERED ‘Alec’s Red’, ‘Ernest H. Morse’, ‘Fragrant Cloud’, ‘John Waterer’, ‘Mister Lincoln’. ‘National Trust’, ‘Precious Platinum’, CLUSTER-FLOWERED Read more [...]
What equipment do I need for watering my vegetables?
If you have a small plot all you need is a watering can with one ordinary rose and a finer rose for watering small plants. For larger areas, the choice is wide. Hoses are useful, preferably with nozzles which can be adjusted to alter the force of the spray. Automatic sprinklers, joined to an indoor or garden tap by a hose, Read more [...]
A lot of vegetable seeds are marked F1. What does this mean, and are they worth growing?
F1 is a gardening
term used to define varieties of seeds obtained by a highly expensive and complicated breeding process in which two carefully selected parenting lines, which will have been inbred for several generations, are crossed. The seed is therefore much more expensive than ordinary Read more [...]
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