Weekend Work: Time to plant shallots and sow summer spinach
Saturday 19 March 2011
What to do
Plant shallots, if conditions seem propitious, setting them about 23cm apart in rows about 38cm apart.
Sow summer spinach in shallow drills about 30cm apart. It does best in rich, moist, soil with some shade. Choose a variety with resistance to bolting.
Herbaceous perennials are beginning to poke through the ground. Divide sizeable clumps to make more impact in a border.
Prune to ground-level at least a third of the stems of any shrubs grown for their winter bark. This includes dogwoods and willows. You should also cut back shrubs such as the ornamental elders that you are growing mainly for foliage effect.
Cut autumn-fruiting raspberry canes to the ground, for this year's crops will be produced on the fresh growth that will soon be pushing through the ground. Shorten the canes of summer-fruiting raspberries by cutting them at a point just above the top wire which supports them.
What to book
Learn how to make plant supports from willow and hazel at workshops led by artist Tom Hare at the Harcourt Arboretum, just outside Oxford: 24 or 25 March (10am-4pm), tickets £60. To book call 01865 286690 or visit botanic-garden.ox.ac.uk
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
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