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Sow brussels sprouts if you need masses. If you do not, it is simpler to buy a dozen plants later in the season. Plant well-sprouted early potatoes, setting them about six inches deep and a foot apart. I am growing two first earlies: the old variety 'Epicure' (1897), round and white but rather susceptible to blight, and 'Concorde' which is fast and produces a pale yellow waxy potato.

If you have not yet pruned forsythia, flowering currant or kerria do it now, cutting out a third of the stems at ground level. This will reduce the shrub to a manageable size and persuade it to throw up more of the wood that will carry next year's flowers.

Start hardening off trays marigolds, asters, petunias and other annuals ready for planting out next month. In the North, this may have to wait for a week or two.

Turf new lawns, laying the rolls with staggered joints, like brickwork. Soak the turfs well and keep them moist until the new roots knit into the earth.

Finish cutting back evergreens such as holly and yew to give the new shoots the longest possible time to grow before winter. Leyland cypress can also be trimmed. Cut out the top of the main trunk to the height you want and prune the branches left at the top. This will give the hedge a better shape.