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Weekend work

In the mild winter, globe artichokes have done well and have already made impressive mounds of foliage. Offsets are the best means of increasing stock. Drive a spade down to detach an offset from the parent plant and lever each one out with a portion of root attached. The offsets need frequent watering until they are established.

Sow basil inside in pots, scattering the seed thinly on moist compost and covering with glass or clingfilm. Prick seedlings out into 3in pots ready to plant outside or keep inside on a kitchen windowsill.

Put cucumber seeds in a polythene bag of damp compost in the airing cupboard. They may germinate within two days. Transfer each seed into a 3in pot half-full of compost. Top up the compost as the seedling grows.

Christmas amaryllis are now dying down messily. Sometimes it is possible to get a second flowering next winter, but much depends on how well they have been treated. When the foliage has died back, lay the pot on its side in an airy, dry place. Next December, repot the bulb, water it and start it into growth again.

Begonias can be planted in pots and baskets this month and started off inside before being put out in May when the danger of frost is gone. Each tuber has a shallow depression and this should face upwards when you plant. To flower all summer, begonias need feeding as well as watering.

Better lawns

A two-hour practical demonstration on spring lawn maintenance is to be held at Ryton Organic Gardens, near Coventry, on 27 April. The session will cover feeding, seeding, mowing and maintaining mowers. The fee is £7.50. For details phone Peter Clarkon 01203 303517.

Hanging baskets

Creative Container Gardening is the theme of a one-day workshop organised by the Gardeners' Academy at Coton Manor, Northamptonshire, on 18 May (10am-4pm). The cost (£64) includes a completed hanging basket. Further details from: The Gardeners' Academy, PO Box 262, Guilsborough, Northampton NN6 8RS.