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Weekend work: Time to pollinate peaches, nectarines and apricots



* Peaches, nectarines and apricots growing under cover in a greenhouse will be coming into flower this month. Since there are likely to be few insects on the wing to pollinate the flowers, you need to do the job yourself. Take a camel-hair brush and dust the pollen from one flower on to another, a branch at a time. Once you see that fruit has set, mist the trees over with water every morning.

* Sow broad beans in pots or boxes, setting the seeds about 7cm apart so that their roots do not become too intertangled. Germinate the seeds in a cold frame or a cool greenhouse and set out the plants in the open ground when they are about 5cm high. On heavy soil, or where mice and birds are a problem, this is a more reliable method than sowing direct in the ground.


The Chelsea Physic Garden on London's Royal Hospital Road is opening today (10am-4pm) for the first of its Snowdrop Specials. Visitors this Saturday have a bonus – a talk and tour with galanthophile Joe Sharman of Monksilver Nursery. The Snowdrop Days continue until 16 Feb; admission £9.90; 020-7352 5646, chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk