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ASK MONTY

- Manchester · London · Monty Don

QHow many years can aga­pan­thus stay in the same pot and can you split them? Josie Heayns, Berk­shire

ATra­di­tion­ally, you only re­pot aga­pan­thus when they break the con­tainer – mean­ing they do well with very con­stricted roots. If you do re­pot, do not give them more than an inch or two of ex­tra soil around the edge of the pot. They do best on poor or stony soil. Split them in spring.

QCan I plant a crab ap­ple tree in the ex­act same spot a sam­bu­cus [el­der] has been grow­ing for years? Gra­ham Barks, Stafford­shire

QMy bumper crop of toma­toes is not get­ting ripe. What can I do to help them red­den?

Eric Hughes, Greater Manch­ester

AAI don’t see why not. As long as the el­der was healthy and you dig out most of the roots then there should be no prob­lem at all.

The warmer a tomato is, the quicker it will ripen. Sun­light tends just to har­den the skin, so put them in a warm drawer and many will ripen in the dark. Add a ripe ba­nana and that will speed the process up. Also, hang­ing the en­tire plant up­side down from a beam in a shed or garage will help with ripen­ing and im­prove taste. Fi­nally, you can al­ways make green chut­ney and green tomato soup.

Write to Monty Don at Week­end, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, Lon­don W8 5TT or email monty.don@dai­ly­mail.co.uk. Please in­clude your full name and ad­dress. We re­gret Monty can’t re­ply to let­ters per­son­ally.

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