Archives for May 2010

Ben Raskin answers your carrot and basil questions

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Ben Raskin Ben Raskin | 10:31 UK time, Thursday, 27 May 2010

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Soil Association gardening expert Ben Raskin answers your questions about carrot fly and black spots on basil. If you have a similar story to share, you can add your comments at the bottom of this entry. You need to register first, which only takes two minutes.

Richard Simon asks: If you are protecting your carrots with fleece, do you leave the fleece on the carrots until they are ready to harvest or is there a point in time when the carrot root fly will leave them alone?

Answer: To ensure you don't get root fly, you will probably need to keep the fleece on. I would recommend using the tougher mesh rather than fleece. It is more expensive but will last much longer and allows better ventilation and watering. Under fleece, crops can get very hot. Those carrots you eat young may not need fleecing, it is mostly the maincrop carrots you are leaving in the ground for a long time that are affected.

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Chris Collins shows how to support growing beans

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Chris Collins Chris Collins | 17:10 UK time, Tuesday, 25 May 2010

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Hi all, I hope you're all remembering to water your veg loads in this sunny weather. Watch my short video below for tips on using supports for your Dig In beans. If you have any other questions, send me them using the Q&A form.

Dig In grower Paul from Nottingham asks: "Can I grow French beans the same way as runner beans?"

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Chris Collins on sowing basil thinly

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Chris Collins Chris Collins | 16:14 UK time, Thursday, 20 May 2010

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Hi all, lots of you have written in to say you've got the Dig In seeds but aren't sure how to sow the basil ones. I find that a pinch of sand can help get your plants of to a good start. Watch my short video below to find out why. If you have any other questions, send me them using the Q&A form.

Dig In grower Frances asks: "What's the best way to sow basil seeds?"

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Organic ways to treat ants, beans and curling courgettes

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Ben Raskin Ben Raskin | 10:02 UK time, Thursday, 20 May 2010

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Lots of you have been writing in worried about ants and your Dig In veg. This month's gardening expert, Ben Raskin of the Soil Association, gives his answers below.

Kate asks: I have an ants nest in my compost bin, how can I get rid of them ecologically?

Answer: My first response might be do you actually need to get rid of them? If your compost bin is very close the house then ants can, of course, be a nuisance but if not then you could leave them be. They do a good job of recycling the compost and aerating your heap at a constant temperature. However, if you do want shot of them then simply turn your heap very frequently. Ants tend not to like getting disturbed and will quickly vacate the premises if you shake them about occasionally.

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Chris Collins shows how to sow carrots thinly

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Chris Collins Chris Collins | 10:23 UK time, Wednesday, 19 May 2010

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Hi all, watch a video answer to a question sent in by a Dig In grower asking what gardening terms such as 'sowing thinly' mean. I'll demonstrate by sowing the Dig In Royal Chantenay Red carrot seeds thinly. There's still time to sow your Dig In carrots - with the fine weather they'll start growing really quickly now.

A Dig In grower asks: "What do gardening terms like 'sow thinly' and 'drill' mean?



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Soil Association expert Ben Raskin on mould, mildew and more

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Ben Raskin Ben Raskin | 13:00 UK time, Friday, 14 May 2010

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This week, Ben Raskin of the Soil Association takes over the task of answering your questions.  He's got masses of experience of growing vegetables using organic methods, so if you've got any questions about organic growing, he's the man to ask. Send us your questions by using the Q&A form.

Jo Dalgleish asks: Last year all my courgettes, indoors and outdoors, had terrible powdery mildew.  As I am not happy using chemicals to control it, what can I do to prevent it?

  
Answer:
Courgettes will nearly always succumb to mildew at some stage in the season, so the trick is to delay it for as long as possible. Look out for mildew resistant varieties (they will still get the disease but usually hold out for longer). The other key is good

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Chris Collins reveals the best soil for growing carrots

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Chris Collins Chris Collins | 16:42 UK time, Wednesday, 12 May 2010

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Hallo there, glad to hear that you're all growing your Dig In carrots. Here's a few tips for you  -  give your carrots a helping hand by making sure they have the right soil conditions. And if you're growing your carrots in a pot, make sure it's a large one. Watch my video for more info.

If anyone else has any questions about their Dig In carrots, send them to me using the Q&A form.

Lynn Wells asks: "What's the best mix to use for growing carrots in containers?"


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Guy Barter on mice, manure, ash and growbags

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Guy Barter Guy Barter | 16:16 UK time, Friday, 7 May 2010

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This is RHS expert Guy Barter's last answers to your problems - thanks Guy!  From next week Ben Raskin of the Soil Association will be taking over, so if you've got any questions, especially about organic growing, send them in using the Q&A form

Here's Guy's answers to your questions:

Nodiga asks: My larger seeds have been dug up and eaten three times by mice. I caught five in a humane trap and took them away and it stopped for a week. Now they are back. I have trays indoors but as soon as I put them back the seedlings are eaten.  What can I do?

Answer: Catching five mice in a humane trap is impressive as these traps are not very efficient...

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Chris Collins shows which way round to plant your courgettes

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Chris Collins Chris Collins | 15:30 UK time, Wednesday, 5 May 2010

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Hallo there - this week I've got a little video showing the perfect way to plant courgettes - yes, there is a right way round!  If you've got a question, we want to hear it, so send it to us using the Q&A form.

Gwen Pritchard asks: It may appear to be a silly question, but which way up do you plant the seed?



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Your questions - Marigolds and crusty soil

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Ann Kelly Ann Kelly | 18:31 UK time, Tuesday, 4 May 2010

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Hallo all - thanks for the many great questions we've been sent about growing the Dig In veg - do keep them coming!  We're just sorry we haven't got time to answer all of them.  If you've got a question, send it to us using the Q&A form.

Janice O'Sullivan asks: I've got some French Marigold seeds to keep the pests away from the Dig In veg. How deep should I sow them? 

Answer: Marigold seeds - which look pretty strange, like little black sticks - should be planted about half a centimetre deep.  Sow a few in a pot, about 5 cm apart, and then keep somewhere warmish to germinate.  More... 

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