Gardening Update: Weekend work

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The Independent Online
BUILDING an ark will be my weekend work if the present weather continues. The breaks in rain have scarcely been long enough for me to dash down the garden and gather tomatoes, which have fruited abundantly outside this year. 'Yellow Perfection' (Unwins, 89p) has done particularly well.

Unwins calls it 'the earliest and most prolific tall yellow tomato in existence'. Like all yellow tomatoes I have grown, it splits its skin easily, displaying the inside flesh like stuffing in an old armchair. But the flavour is good and it is indeed both early and prolific.

Lawn seed can be sown now on areas that have been well dug, raked and cleaned of stones and debris. The soil is still warm and moist, which will encourage seed to germinate and grow. Sown now, it will have plenty of time to establish roots before frost takes over the ground.

Cats scraping the seeds can be as much of a menace as birds. Netting seems the only answer. Josh, our new kitten, remains wedded to the Aga, so with us the problem does not arise. I carry him outside from time to time and he looks at me, not piteously but with that withering contempt of a member of White's offered the free run of the Aberavon Labour Club.

Morello cherries fruit on growth made the previous year, not on old wood. You need to dissuade them from fruiting only on the outer fringes of the tree, by cutting away one or two older branches now. Take them back to a point where a strong new shoot has broken out.

Spinach can be sown now to overwinter and give an early crop in April next year. Spring cabbages should be planted at least 9in apart and with some protection against slugs and pigeons.

Take thyme cuttings by pulling off strong-growing shoots and pushing them into the ground by the parent plant. They should root in four weeks. Rosemary can be rooted in the same way.

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