Weekend Work: Time to protect new foliage

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The Independent Online

What to do

Plants in new growth can be badly ravaged by April gales. A temporary screen may be necessary to protect new foliage on precious specimens.

If you still have bare-rooted trees to plant, soak them in a bucket for an hour before putting them in the ground. Plants in pots can soak in a tray overnight.

Continue to plant vegetables when conditions seem tolerable. Chitted potatoes such as 'Catriona' can go in along with early carrots such as 'Nantes 2 Early' (Marshalls £1.45). 'Amsterdam Forcing 3 – Sprint' (Mr Fothergill's £1.89) came top in Mr Fothergill's taste test.

When daffodil clumps become congested, the bulbs flower less. Mark any barren clumps now to remind you to separate and replant the bulbs between July and September – before the new season's growth starts again.

Weeds are growing fast. Keep on top of bittercress and groundsel. Both are in flower already.

What to buy

Grow Bag Frames from The Organic Catalogue (01932 253666, organiccatalogue.com) cost £19.95 and solve some of the practical problems of growing tomatoes. They provide both support and stability. Liquid Comfrey Tonic (£9.95) is rich in potassium and can be used on all fruit and vegetables. Mix 25ml in a litre of water. Biodegradable paper plant trays cost £6.95 for five. Each tray is made up of 24 modules, 50mm square.