Weekend Work: Time to pollinate peaches, nectarines and apricots

Click to follow
The Independent Online

What to do

Peaches, nectarines and apricots growing in a greenhouse will be coming into flower this month. Since there are likely to be few insects around, you need to pollinate the plants yourself. Take a camel hairbrush and dust the pollen from one flower onto another, a branch at a time. Once you see that fruit has set, mist the trees over with water every morning.

Prune spiraeas, tamarisk, willows and dogwoods by cutting out a third of the old wood at ground level. Thin out the stems rising from the trunks of pollarded willows or poplars.

Sow broad beans in pots or boxes (greengrocers' boxes lined with newspaper are ideal) setting the seeds about 8cm (3in) apart so that their roots do not become tangled. Germinate the seeds in a cold frame or a cool greenhouse and set out the plants in the open ground when they are a few inches high.

What to buy

Chiltern Seeds' distinctive catalogue arrived this week. New this year is an abutilon called 'Nabob' (£2.80), with flowers of an impossibly deep red. There are several new zinnias, including 'Queen Lime' and 'Queen Red Lime', both £2.25. For more new entries, visit chilternseeds.co.uk, or call 01229 581137 for a catalogue.