Weekend Work: Time to sow lawn seed

What to do

Some golden tomatoes I've grown in the past have split their skins too easily, displaying their insides like stuffing in an old armchair. But the gold cherry tomato 'Sunset' not only tastes good, but stays intact.

Lawn seed can be sown now on areas that have been well dug, raked and cleaned of stones and debris. Sown now, it will have plenty of time to get roots established before frost takes over the ground.

Cats scraping the new seeds can be as much of a menace as birds. Netting is the answer.

Morello cherries fruit on growth made the previous year, not on old wood. You need to dissuade them from fruiting only on the outer fringes of the tree by cutting away one or two of the older branches now. Take them back to a point where a strong new shoot has broken out.

Spinach can be sown now to overwinter and give an early crop in April next year. Spring cabbages should be planted at least 22cm apart and given some protection against slugs and pigeons. A plague of caterpillars can also reduce sturdy purple sprouting broccoli plants to lacy skeletons. It may be too late for preventative medicine.

Take cuttings of thyme by pulling off strong growing shoots and pushing them into the ground round the parent plant. They should root in four weeks.

What to buy

A specialist plant sale is being held tomorrow (11am-5pm) at Chatsworth, Derbyshire, an excuse to scoop up some unusual treasures and to wander in the superb garden. Thirty nurseries will be offering herbaceous perennials, bulbs, grasses, auriculas and primulas as well as a wide range of trees and shrubs. Admission to the sale is free, but there is a charge (£1.50) for the car park.

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