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Weekend Work

SHEAR OVER clumps of aubrieta, arabis and other similar rock plants to remove dead flowers and reduce straggling. Clean candytuft and alyssum by cutting out flowered stems. Shear back foliage of early flowering Iris unguicularis so the sun can warm the rhizomes.

TREE SEEDLINGS, mostly ash and sycamore, are sprouting prodigiously after the wet spring. Remove them before they get too deeply entrenched.

SUCCESSIONAL SOWINGS of vegetables such as beetroot, carrot, lettuce and radish never quite result in the smooth progression of crops recommended by the manuals. Even so, small amounts of lettuce and radish can go in, and longer rows of beetroot and carrot to use in autumn. Water the ground before sowing rather than after.

TOMATO AND courgette plants need plenty of water. Sink a perforated plastic pot beside each plant so its rim is level with the surface of the soil. Water tipped into the pots will go straight to the roots and less will be lost by evaporation. Bush tomatoes need no pinching out, but other varieties need looking over a couple of times a week so that side shoots can be nipped out and plants tied in to their supports.

A HIGH potash feed such as Tomorite helps produce plenty of flowers and fruit. If plants are short of water, too much potash may result in magnesium-deficiency which shows as yellowing of the leaves between the veins. If this happens, dose plants with Epsom salts.