Quick Ques­tions & An­swers

Amateur Gardening - - Ask Anne! -

Q I read some­where that you should prune blue-berries now, but thought they didn’t need it. Can you ad­vise please? Sue Mann (via email)

A It’s the old­est brown­ish-black branches that need prun­ing. The red shoots are newish growth that you can leave to ma­ture and fruit.

Q I have seen fan­tas­tic huge pur­ple this­tles that have bees all over them. Are they car­doons or ar­ti­chokes? Hazel Bradley (via email)

A This­tles in gen­eral are very good for in­sects, be­ing rich in nec­tar and pollen.

You could well have seen car­doon (Cy­nara car­dun­cu­lus) or ar­ti­choke (Cy­nara scoly­mus) but it might also have been globe this­tle (Echinops), sea holly (Eryn­gium), plume this­tle (Cir­sium rivu­lare) or milk this­tle (Sily­bum mar­i­anum).

There are oth­ers too, more suited to a wild gar­den rather than cul­ti­va­tion, but still fit­ting the de­scrip­tion.

Q What hap­pened to my parsnips this year? Colin Jack­son (via email)

A The usual cause of mis­shapen parsnip roots is stony soil. Root tips are dam­aged and re­spond by ‘fork­ing’.

Then again, if you have for­ti­fied the site with rel­a­tively fresh ma­nure, it is prob­a­ble that root tips have been burnt, and then grown again.

Ide­ally, grow parsnips on soil that was ma­nured the pre­vi­ous year, work­ing in a bal­anced fer­tiliser, such as Vi­tex Q4, be­fore sow­ing.

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