Gardening: Weekend Work

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NOW THAT most of us have experienced a sufficiently sharp frost for the leaves of dahlias to be frosted, it is time to cut the stems back to about 15cm, dig up the tubers and turn them upside down on a slatted shelf, or similar, to drain. Dust them with sulphur. Then they can be stored over winter in a tray of soil in a frost-free place.

Continue to plant up patio containers with spring-flowering bulbs, `Universal' pansies, polyanthus, trailing ivies and so on.

It is important to get spring-flowering biennials, such as wallflowers and Sweet Williams, into the borders now, because the soil-temperature is already cooling rapidly.

In the vegetable garden, add lime, in the form of calcium carbonate, if your soil is neutral or acid in pH, and you grow brassicas. Test your soil first with a simple kit from the garden centre, so that you don't waste lime.

Insulate your greenhouse with bubble polythene, to help cut down on heating bills or, in an unheated house, to help protect marginally hardy plants.