Weekend Gardening Update: Weekend work

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The Independent Online
WHEN planted in containers and growbags, tomatoes need a regular fortnightly dose of a potassium-rich feed that will encourage fruit to form and ripen successfully. The bush variety 'Tumbler' (Suttons, pounds 1.15) has done well in my garden, producing since the beginning of July.

'Yellow Perfection' (Unwins, 89p) started a month later, but produces full-sized fruit. Unwins says it is 'the earliest and most prolific tall yellow tomato in existence'. It tastes good, too. Nip out the tops of staked types such as this now. This will encourage the fruit that has set already to swell and ripen. Bush tomatoes can be left to their own devices.

During the next month, take cuttings of tender fuchsias and geraniums. Choose strong, healthy shoots for geraniums and crop off the top 4in (10cm). Trim the cutting at a point immediately below a leaf joint, remove all mature leaves and any flower buds and pot the cuttings up in a sandy mixture of compost. Do not cover.

Stem cuttings can be taken of hibiscus, hydrangea, kolkwitzia and perovskia or Russian sage. The last is a useful plant that resembles a tall, shrubby catmint and flowers in August and September.

Weeds growing rapidly can be brought to heel with a dose of glyphosate, but use total weedkillers such as this on the calmest of days when there is no danger of the spray drifting on to plants you would rather not kill. As an extra precaution, I use an old tin tray as a shield.

Where bindweed is growing among other plants, you can untwine it and bundle it into a stiff plastic sack, then spray it inside the sack. The more leaf area glyphosate covers, the better it works, so, paradoxically, you need to let bindweed grow before you tackle it.

If you are fighting horsetail, a difficult weed to get rid of, trample it lightly underfoot before spraying. This bruising is said to increase the rate at which the plant absorbs the herbicide.

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