Gardening Cuttings: Weekend work

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The Independent Online
ALTHOUGH the weather has been mild and the soil temperature, in the South at least, is hovering about the 50F mark, the ground is still too soggy to work. A day of drying wind is immediately followed by another day of rain.

Shallots are waiting to go in, as are peas and another packet of broad beans. The autumn-sown ones were coming on nicely until a stray heifer came into the garden and stuck her big feet all over them. They do not tell you about that in Country Living magazine.

I have been continuing to sow inside, instead: more sweet peas to complement the earlier sown seeds such as 'Fantasia' (Mr Fothergill, 99p). This is an old dwarf variety that I hope to be able to use as an edging round the new fruit patch; it does not grow more than 8-10in high.

Verbena 'Peaches and Cream' has also been started off in the airing cupboard - the seed germinates best in total darkness. It can take anything up to a month to show itself. This variety has big, peachy-coloured heads of flower, which I hope to use in some new pots.

Take cuttings of geraniums now; choose strong, healthy shoots about 3-4in long, and cut just below a leaf joint. Strip off all the leaves except the few immature ones at the top of the cutting, and root them, uncovered, in pots of compost. They will even root in water.

Fuchsia cuttings can be taken in the same way, but these should be covered with a polythene bag.