Weekend Work: Time to sow broad beans

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The Independent Online

What to do

Where the soil is reasonably warm and friable sow broad beans, early peas and push in a row of onion sets. Net to keep birds away.

To cheat winter cold, cover a patch of soil with polythene sheeting which will warm and dry it ready for early sowings of carrot, radish and beetroot.

Prune late-flowering shrubs such as buddleia. It's a bully of a shrub and should be cut back hard, leaving only a stub of last year's growth.

Fuchsia, tamarisk, Spanish broom and blue-flowered caryopteris can also be pruned now, if you did not do it last month.

Increase stocks of delphiniums by taking cuttings 10-15cm long from new shoots on the crown of the plant. Stand the cuttings in a jar of water until roots start to form, then pot them up carefully.

Sweet peas can be sown direct outside to follow on from those sown earlier in pots in a cold frame. Protect the seedlings from slugs.

Repot any houseplants that look as though they need it; but remember that too much spare, wet compost leads to rot.

What to buy

Have you got all the kit you need to get sowing? Compost – (B&Q's own came top in a recent survey); pots (wash and re-use old ones rather than buying new); riddle (The Worm that Turned has one, 20cm across, for £10.95, 0844 573 8644 or worm.co.uk).