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Karen Kenny on whitefly, plus how to help courgettes to fruit

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Karen Kenny Karen Kenny | 07:26 UK time, Friday, 2 July 2010

Karen Kenny, an allotment expert with the NSALG answers your questions about how to deal with whitefly on your basil, yellow flowers in your salad leaves and the one that all of you have been writing in about... what do you do if your courgettes have flowers but no fruit. 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.

Lara Cullenaine from Southampton asks: My basil has white fly, how do I get rid of it? The basil plants are still quite small and haven't been separated into individual pots yet.

Answer: Oh dear those little varmints get everywhere, give them a good shot of water. If you have not yet separated them, have a bowl of tepid water close by with a tiny bit of salt added and as you transplant dip them in the water and wash off the white fly. Mmm love the smell of basil as well as the taste, don't you?

Samantha Bird from Newcastle-under-Lyme asks: I have planted my salad leaves in a container and they are growing nicely but I have noticed yellow flowers growing with them. Are they part of the salad leaves and are they edible? I have grown salad leaves before but I have never come across this before.

Answer: Many of the salad leaves are of the crucifer family and may well have yellow flowers if they look like clusters of yellow flowers they are part of the salad leaves and may be eaten and decorate the salad. Some varieties of rocket also have a lovely cream-coloured flower which is also edible. Enjoy.

Aillish from Stirling asks: I have lovely big courgette plants, that have started flowering, but I have no actual courgettes! Could you please tell my why and if there is anything I can do.

Answer: You may have suffered from the weather in your area. When looking at your courgette plants you will see some flowers with swellings at the base and some without. The ones without are the males and the females are those with the swelling. So if there are no bees about just get a feather or brush and pollinate by taking pollen from the male flower and brush it onto the stigma of the female and wait while the courgettes form. I think by now you will probably have solved the problem with sunshine and bees.

Alison Webster from Lichfield City asks: If the courgette flower has fallen off will the fruit still grow? And if you need the flower to remain on the plant how can you protect it?

Answer: The courgette flowers will wither and fall off once they have been pollinated. And the fruit will grow don't worry. If they are falling off before pollination they are probably too dry or too cold at night.

If anyone else has had similar with growing the Dig In veg, add your comments below.

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