London (change)
Today 25°C / 17°C
Tomorrow 22°C / 14°C

Emma Crawforth

Latest posts by Emma Crawforth

soil nutrients

Posted: 16/02/2012 at 16:58

Hello rubbersoul,

You would do better if you composted the leylandii first. To make a compost bin, have a look at our project. Cut the leylandii up if you can before composting, and mix it with softer matter, like kitchen waste. If you put plant material straight into beds without composting it first, you can upset the balance of nutrients in the beds.

Emma team

Patchy lawns...

Posted: 16/02/2012 at 16:42

Hello yellowcone87,

Have a look at our video advice for spring lawn care. It's a bit early to start now but it won't be long until we get some warmer spring days when you can get going. The video includes advice for re-seeding on top of turf that's already there.

Emma team

Talkback: How to practise crop rotation

Posted: 16/02/2012 at 16:15

Hello crop rotators,

Crop rotation isn't just about the nutrients the plants take up. It's also very helpful in the fight against pests and diseases, it keeps your soil in good condition and helps with weed control. Because some pests and diseases remain in the soil for years after their hosts have departed, the only option is to grow another crop in the same place.

However, on the subject of plant nutrients, beans love fertile ground, that is why cottage gardeners have made bean trenches for centuries. It's true that beans fix nitrogen into the soil but they still need other nutrition.

There are fewer and fewer chemicals available on the market for amateur gardeners so good husbandry, including crop rotation will become even more important in years to come.

Emma team

Talkback: How to plant a kiwi plant

Posted: 16/02/2012 at 15:47

Hello kiwi growers,

Although the plants will survive outside in the winter, for a good crop it is ideal to grow kiwis in a large greenhouse. However, you could be lucky with a crop grown outside. You would not usually grow them in a pot, so bringing them in for winter wouldn't be an option - it's either inside or outside all the time! Yes they are climbers, you'll need to make a framework for them to climb.

Emma team.

Talkback: How to plant a blackcurrant bush

Posted: 16/02/2012 at 15:05

Hello Geoffrey,

Blackcurrants can be planted throughout winter, however, don't plant if the ground is frozen or waterlogged. If you have bought bare-rooted plants and your ground is too wet or frozen, then keep them temporarily in a bucket of moist compost so the roots don't dry out, but get them in the ground as soon as you can.

Emma team

Sweet peas

Posted: 15/02/2012 at 17:05

Hello green fingerd will,

Your sweet peas should flower this year. Most varieties are annuals. However you don't need to start them in the dark. You'd do better putting them somewhere light. Have a look at our advice on sowing sweet peas

Emma team

Talkback: The benefit of freezing weather in the garden

Posted: 15/02/2012 at 16:51

Hello woody3,

My broad beans also flopped in the recent cold weather but I'm confident that they'll be OK. Sowing them in autumn gives them a better chance of beating pests and it's well worth it even if some of the shoots don't look that good now. As for your purple sprouting, it should be pretty hardy, but it may be suffering as a result of the low rainfall we've had recently. Broccoli is a thirsty crop. I won't advise watering in case it suddenly freezes again, so I think wait and see is your best policy. I hope you get some good dinners out of it,

Emma team

Talkback: How to build a raised bed

Posted: 15/02/2012 at 16:31

Hello raised bed makers,

If you don't have a supply of weed-free soil you can buy large (1m cubed) bags of topsoil. You can have them delivered. Although it won't be cheap, the advantages of weed-free, pest-free and pathogen-free soil are huge. If you start off with good soil you'll reap the benefits of great crops without trouble in your first year. And if you keep the weeds down and practise crop rotation, you'll be able to keep it that way!

Emma team

Liquid Feed

Posted: 15/02/2012 at 16:15

Hello Dahlia Lover and yellowcone 87,

I agree with yellowcone87 that the best course of action now would be to pour the contents of the bucket on the compost heap and start again. I am sure it will be full of nutrients but they'll be useful in the compost and that way you won't harm your plants by overfeeding them. To see how to make nettle feed, have a look at our feature - 10 uses for nettles.

Emma team

Talkback: How to take rosemary cuttings

Posted: 15/02/2012 at 15:16

Hello Mary,

It's early to try cuttings at this time of year but if you have some spare compost and pots, you could try heel cuttings to see if you have any success. You pull a new shoot away from the main stem, so that you retain some bark from the main stem on it. Trim off the bottom to make a neat 'heel'. Also remove some of the lower leaves. Plant the heel end in free-draining compost. Water, then cover the whole lot in a transparent plastic bag to stop the top leaves loosing too much moisture. Place it somewhere warm and light, but not sunny. I'm not going to promise you success at this time of year but it won't take you long to do if you already have the materials.

If you don't get any roots this time you can try the process again in spring. That way you can save the remains of your plant and start again with a fresh one later on.

Emma team

Discussions started by Emma Crawforth

Big Garden Birdwatch

Big Garden Birdwatch 
Replies: 7    Views: 805
Last Post: 24/02/2012 at 15:50


Do you want to help hedgehogs? 
Replies: 26    Views: 2114
Last Post: 15/05/2012 at 21:27

Winter pruning

Replies: 2    Views: 1065
Last Post: 13/01/2012 at 17:00

children and gardening

Replies: 7    Views: 704
Last Post: 27/02/2012 at 15:44

lawn edging shears

Replies: 5    Views: 1621
Last Post: 02/02/2012 at 23:47


Replies: 4    Views: 637
Last Post: 06/01/2012 at 15:41

sweet peas

Replies: 2    Views: 718
Last Post: 05/12/2011 at 09:28
7 threads returned