Archives for April 2010

Guy Barter on cats and seedlings

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Guy Barter Guy Barter | 11:35 UK time, Friday, 30 April 2010

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RHS expert Guy Barter answers more of your questions - keep them coming by sending them in using the Q&A form.

Marie Saul asks: How safe would it be to plant veg in a small patch that has been frequented by my cat?  I am concerned about Toxoplasmosis and other nasties associated with my lovely cat using it as a loo!

Answer: I think it unwise to grow anything eaten raw such as salads in plots much used by cats. It is possible perhaps that the cat could be provided with alternative facilities and that the plot be given some protection by covering with fleece or netting?

This is a very common problem, so if anyone has a suggestion for stopping cats using your patch as a toilet do let us know it by leaving a comment below.

Emily Witham asks: My seedlings are coming along and all have their first sets of real leaves. I have a small plastic tent like patio greenhouse and my question is what is the minimum temperature I can safely leave my little seedlings out overnight in this?

Answer: Most seedlings rub along quite nicely at anything over 6C, but tender plants such as sweet corn or tomatoes need a minimum of 12C. It is well worth investing in a min-max thermometer to help get the right conditions for your precious seedlings.

Chris Collins talks you through containers

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Chris Collins Chris Collins | 14:36 UK time, Wednesday, 28 April 2010

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Hallo there - we've had a lot of questions about what containers you can use for the Dig In veg, so here's my video answer about it.  And we want more questions - send them to us using the Q&A form.

Gillian asks if it's ok to use other containers than pots to grow veg in? She's moving house soon, and doesn't want the new owner benefiting from all her hard work! And Ros wants to know if she can grow all the Dig In veg in containers on tables, to keep it away from her neighbours' chickens.



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There's loads of other things you can grow a plant in that I didn't get a chance to mention. If you've grown veg in a wacky container, let us know by leaving a comment below.

Guy Barter answers carrot questions.

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Guy Barter Guy Barter | 12:00 UK time, Friday, 23 April 2010

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This month's gardening expert, Guy Barter of the Royal Horticultural Society, gives his answers to a couple of the many questions we've had about carrots below.

If you've got a question about the Dig In veg for one of our experts, send it to us using the question form.

Norma asks: Last year I grew my carrots in tubs, because I have very stony soil, but they were very small. I used ordinary garden compost and fed them occasionally, and they did get plenty of water. Please can you give me some good tips to grow better carrots in containers. What feed should I give them, and should the compost be specially rich?

Answer: It can help to ise a vigorous variety of carrot for pots to ensure healthy growth, for example, Adelaide. Aim to use pots at least 50cm deep and wide and sow seeds thinly. When your shoots have appeared thin out seedlings so that there is at least 5cm between

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Chris Collins demonstrates cold frames

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Chris Collins Chris Collins | 18:50 UK time, Wednesday, 21 April 2010

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It may be getting warmer in some parts of the country, but there's still a risk of frost, so here's a little guide to using coldframes.

Got a question for me about the Dig In veg? Send it in using the question form!

Fiona Tyson asks: Please could we ask for ideas on how to build/make a small cold frame to start our veg off; because we live on the edge of Exmoor and it can be very cold until late spring? Hope you can help!



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Of course, there's plenty of designs for coldframes on the internet, a lot fancier than the one in the video. Try the links below for a few good ones.

Instructables: How to build a cold frame with recycled materials

Allotment.org: How to build a cold frame

Gardener's Own Blog: Building a cold frame (also shows shed building!) 

Chris Collins explains what "fine tilth" is.

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Chris Collins Chris Collins | 22:22 UK time, Sunday, 18 April 2010

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Hallo there, here's another answer to a commonly asked question about getting the soil ready for your Dig In veg.  Send in any questions for me (about the Dig In veg) using the question form - keep them coming!

A lot of gardening books and shows talk about sowing seeds into a 'fine tilth', but not everyone knows what that really means - so I'll show you in this video.



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What veg will survive in Scotland?

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Beechgrove Potting Shed Beechgrove Potting Shed | 21:19 UK time, Saturday, 17 April 2010

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The team on top Radio Scotland gardening show Beechgrove Potting Shed will be helping out with questions send in about growing the Dig In veg in Scottish conditions. If you've got a question for them, send it in using the question form. Here's their first answer.

Sarah from just outside Jedburgh asks: "I've been told that it is impossible to grow courgettes, any beans and lettuce where I am in Scotland. So I tried any way! Unfortunately none of them survived the wind chill. Is it possible to grow these veg in my area?"

Answer: Sarah should be able to grow her vegetables in Jedburgh, provided she gives them

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Chris Collins shows how to prepare your soil.

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Chris Collins Chris Collins | 16:22 UK time, Wednesday, 14 April 2010

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Hallo there, Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins here. Each week I'll be answering one of the questions sent in by Dig In growers in a video answer. If you've got a question for me (about the Dig In veg only, please), send it in using the question form.

Lots of people have asked us about the best way to prepare the soil for your Dig In veg. Watch the video below and I'll show you how.

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Coming next week: What a fine tilth is, and how to get one on your soil.

Guy Barter answers your compost queries

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Guy Barter Guy Barter | 16:10 UK time, Thursday, 8 April 2010

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This month, our gardening expert is the amazingly experienced Guy Barter, of the Royal Horticultural Society.  He's a bit of a whiz at giving advice on soil, compost and fertilisers, which is something we've had loads of questions about.  We've picked three of the best ones and put them to him - read his answers below.

If you've got a question about the Dig In veg for one of our experts, send it to us using the question form.

Carol asks: "Due to disability I use pots for all my veggies and flowers. Can I use last year's compost if I add fertilizer?"

Answer: Yes, as long as last year's plants were not diseased in the root department.  However I suggest adding at least some, say a third to a half by volume, fresh potting medium just in case the structure of the original potting medium has declined. 

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