WEEKEND WORK

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The Independent Online
A promising line of `Douce Provence' peas (Marshalls pounds 1.64) in my garden has just been nibbled down to the quick. Cover fresh sowings with netting and continue to protect young pea plants from rabbits, pigeons, slugs, pea weevils and all the other creatures that like peas as much as we do.

The ground is drying out fast in-between rainstorms. If you sow in a dry period, then souse the drills well with water before sprinkling the seed along them. Newly planted annuals will need nursing along before they get established. Soak plants in pots before you set them out and once planted, water and feed annuals well and protect them from slugs.

Clip hedges such as Leyland cypress and privet regularly to contain growth and prevent them spreading too wide. Cover crops of strawberries with netting to protect them from birds. Dead head pansies and violas regularly to prolong the display of flowers.

Sow French beans in situ. The soil is warm enough for them now, but they will need to be well protected to germinate. I had good results from a new variety called `Golddukat' (Marshalls pounds 1.95) last year and am sowing it again this year, along with `Slenderwax' (Johnsons pounds 1.49).

Hoe regularly to keep on top of weed seedlings. Onions, in particular, hate competition from weeds. Asparagus beds should be picked over regularly and kept free from weed. You need at least 30 asparagus plants, though, to get anything approaching a decent amount to cook at any one picking.

Prune overgrown specimens of choisya, kerria, exochorda and the American currant, Ribes sanguineum. Take out a third of the stems at ground level.

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