Questions and answers on your gardening issues

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Even the most experienced of gardeners comes upon conundrums they cannot find the answers to.

With this in mind we put some questions you submitted to us over the last couple of weeks to Nigel Davies, deputy manager of Northampton Garden Centre, to see if he could find the solutions to your problems...

Question 1: “Can you tell me how I can treat my pansies which seem to be suffering from the same virus that causes damping off in seedlings? Cheshunt Compound is no longer sold due to EU regulations and all other possible treatments seem to be very dangerous to the environment. I have tried a solution of garlic tea but it has not worked?”

Answer: “You are along the right lines with garlic. We stock a product called Garlic Wonder, which is a natural concentrated garlic liquid. I have heard good reports about its ability to prevent damping off.

“Another product worth trying is Fruit and Vegetable Disease Control from Bayer, which controls fungicidal conditions.”

Question 2: “What is the most effective means of staking flowers, especially those close to paths? There are lots of systems on the market but many are quite expensive.”

Answer: “Wooden sticks or twigs tend to be quite effective and I have used hazel in the past. However, for durability I would recommend using canes as they are hardwearing and should last for at least five years.”

Question 3: “I have greenfly on my roses and some other flowers whereas my broadbeans are covered in blackfly. Is there an insecticide suitable for controlling all aphids that is safe to use on edible crops?”

Answer: “There is a product called Provado, which is a systemic pesticide and it is safe to use on edible crops. It should be effective at killing all greenfly types. Ensure you follow the instructions for when to stop using it on different varieties close to harvesting.”

Question 4: “I will be going on holiday in July and my neighbour will be away at the same time. Is there any treatment or technique I can use to limit the growth of my lawn while I am away?”

Answer: “This is a very difficult one. There used to be a growth hormone product called Cutless, but this has been discontinued. As far as I am aware there isn’t a product on the market at the moment that can help with this.”

 Question 5: “I have recently purchased a greenhouse automatic watering system which includes an electronic timer with many programming options that include daily, alternate days and weekly settings. “Which is most appropriate for watering the greenhouse plants while I am on holiday (mainly tomatoes, peppers, french beans and lettuce)?”

Answer: “I would recommend programming it to water them every morning. This should help to prevent pests and diseases from spreading, which can occur when watering at night in cooler conditions.”

Question 6: “I have just treated my lawn with ‘feed and weed’. How long should I wait before putting grass cuttings into my garden compost bin?”

Answer: “It is fine to put them in your compost bin. However, the first four mowings after treatment should be composted for six months before being used in the garden.”

DO you have a gardening problem or question you want one of our guest experts to answer?

Please email: nicole. or call 01604 467047