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Peter Horrocks on basil, beans and salad leaves

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Peter Horrocks Peter Horrocks | 08:35 UK time, Friday, 25 June 2010

Peter Horrocks, an allotment expert with the NSALG answers your questions about basil seedlings, salad leaves and beans. 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.

Joann Biden from Essex asks: My seedlings all seem stunted little things (about 1cm high), going pale and just not doing a lot. I have the first batch in a pot outside with plenty of feed in, not over watering and the second lot still in the greenhouse. Help!

Answer: Hello Joann, there has been a lot of that this year, lack of light and heat. I suspect your feeding may be the problem while they're too small. The instructions on my compost say, 'add nothing to this compost', so don't, your over-doing it!

Nancy Tompkins from Winnersh, Berkshire asks: Last year my salad leaves were extremely tough to eat, what am I doing wrong?

Answer: I suspect Nancy that you're leaving them on the plant too long, so they're like me, old and tough. Pick lots when very young, that should do the trick.

Martine Kozlowski from Maidenhead asks: I believe I have overplanted salad seeds and perhaps too close together - when the weather turned quite hot, the plants suddenly 'exploded' and many have bolted and flowered. I don't mind too much because they attract bees but I would like to make room for other types of lettuce such as romaine and also watercress. How can I do that still keeping a few salad leaves? Thank you.

Answer: Salad things do that in hot weather, be ruthless Martine, clear the majority out and plant the next generation a bit more sparingly!

Ray Shard from Carmarthen, Wales asks: I planted out my beans from pots, they got away well on a frame of canes, now 18" tall but they are going from pale green to yellow in all cases - they were so healthy when I planted them out. Can you help?

Answer: I suspect that the soil is deficient in general nutrients following the winter rains, When they were first planted out they'd be feeding on the compost they grew in. Try watering with a standard strength dose of seaweed tomato food, that'll act as a tonic.

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