Every few weeks, I’m in the hot seat on BBC Suffolk’s Saturday programme during the gardening hour. Listeners can call, tweet or Facebook their queries, and I’ll respond live on air. Here’s some of this week’s recent calls, and the answers…!
I want to grow asparagus, but i imagine it’s difficult to grow..? Can you help me?
Well, growing asparagus is a little bit easier than you think, but do bear in mind that you need to ensure a permanent position, room for the crop to grow and a tiny bit of patience..! Plant crowns (much quicker than growing from seed) in autumn or spring. Ground prep is super important; mix in tonnes of organic matter, and ensure tip-top drainage. Before you plant, fill each trench with well-rotted organic matter too.. Plant your crowns 45cm apart and water in well; keep beds weed-free too. Feed in spring, water well in summer, and don’t harvest anything until after year 2! But your plants should go on cropping for 20 or more years!
Help! My Camellia has a blocky, sticky substance on the leaf. I wash it off, but it always comes back!
This seems to be sooty mould, which is usually excreted by aphids and other insects, and yes you can wash it off, but that won’t really get to the root of the problem! Spray your plants with insecticide to eradicate the problems, then wash it off, and fingers crossed it won’t be coming back!
I would really like to move my border Peony, is this possible?
Now you’ve set yourself a challenge! Peonies dislike being moved, although it CAN be done! Begin the military operation in autumn.. digging your plant out of the soil carefully, avoiding root disturbance, try and lift a big rootball with the plant, as nurseries do when they re-plant a tree. Re-plant straight away, planting at the same level, avoid deep planting. Be aware that your Peony may take 2 years to settle, so if it seems a little jaded in the 2nd year, do not panic!