Weekend Work: Time to mulch round vegetables

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The Independent Online

What to do

Mulch round vegetables after you have weeded them to conserve moisture. Outdoor tomatoes respond well to being packed round with grass cuttings. So do courgettes, cucumbers, globe artichokes and sweetcorn.

Cut down flowered stems of aquilegia and sweet rocket that you do not want to self seed. Twist bits of string round the stems of plants such as foxgloves to remind you which are the good ones. When the seedheads have ripened, you can pull up the whole plant and wave it over the areas you want to be colonised.

Cabbage and broccoli plants are on sale now. Water them in well when you plant them out and firm the earth down properly around their roots.

Take cuttings of garden pinks and stick them in pots filled with sandy soil. You can also propagate the big indoor Begonia rex; take off some leaves, slit the veins on the underside of each leaf, then lay them right side up in a box of damp compost. Weigh the leaves down with small pebbles to keep them in contact with the soil.

What to buy

Clematis 'Kaaru' is one of three new clematis to win awards from the British Clematis Society. It was raised in Estonia as a seedling from pale pink 'Hagley Hybrid' and bears deep magenta flowers. Contact Sherston Parva Nursery on 01666 840348.