Brian Kidd, retired Parks Officer for Portsmouth City Council, will be giving weekly gardening advice and answering gardeners emails. Email your gardening questions to



If the leaves on the daffodils are in the way when you are trying to plant the summer bedding plants, don’t be tempted to pull the leaves off. These leaves must be allowed to die down naturally. The sap will go down into the underground bulb and will initiate next year's spring flowers. If the seed heads are removed, leaving the flower stem intact, this will ensure there will be blooms next spring.


This is the most exciting time, wall baskets, hanging baskets and window boxes can be planted. If it’s very windy, wait until the windy weather passes, we all know what it is like to suffer from the wind!

If the stems on the potato plants look a bit thin, the crop will not be good. Thick haulms indicate a good crop. Scatter Sulphate of Ammonia along the rows, using 2 ounces per yard run and hoe this into the soil. Once hoed in, earth up the haulms again and give the plants a good watering, this will increase the yield. This fertiliser is in stock at Keydell.

Did you prune the forsythia shrub? Use strong secateurs and remove all the wood which had flowers. If this looks a daunting job, pull out one branch at a time, look for side shoots close to the ground and cut back to where the side shoots can be seen. Pull back the next branch and do the same, the sprays of prunings can be used to support perennial plants.

Keep the hoe going and pick up all the weeds and put them into the compost bin. If left on top of the soil, it will cause Murphy’s law to strike.

Black currents like nitrogen at this time of year. Give them a dressing of Sulphate of Ammonia using 2 ozs per square yard and fork this into the surface of the soil. If you like to be organic, then top dress the plants with well made compost but water the soil before and after the application.

Tie in shoots of blackberry, try to stop the tips rooting in the soil, if they insist on going down towards the soil, cut the tips off.

Potato and tomato blight will be here soon and this year we will be PREVENTING the problem - won’t we? Buy Copper Mixture, you will find this in drums at Keydell Nurseries, follow the directions for copper deficiency. Use that strength please.

Plant out runner beans, even if you don’t have a garden, just think, I must have some runner beans, they look wonderful in a flower border or in growing bags- just use a little bit of imagination. Runner beans in July - won’t be long now!