Weekend Work: Time to tend to vegetable patches or allotments


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The Independent Online

What to do

Dig over spare ground in a vegetable patch or allotment. This is especially useful on heavy soil because frost bites into the clods and helps break them up. Clear off any decaying remains of vegetables and put them on the compost heap.

Continue to mulch, paying special attention to long-term plants such as fruit trees. If necessary, clear grass and weeds from around them before putting on the mulch.

If you have hazel or birch in the garden, cut branches to use as plant supports. Traditionally these were used for peas, but they provide excellent props when woven into lobster-pot shapes over herbaceous plants such as peony or campanula.

Look critically at young trees you may have planted. Do they need to be pruned or shaped? When damaged at the growing tip, young trees sometimes develop two leaders, which makes them liable to split as they grow older. Choose one leader to grow on and cut the lesser one out.

What to read

Is Plantlife going too far with its hate campaign against potentially invasive plants? The beautiful evergreen holm oak (Quercus ilex) has now been added to the list, which may be a surprise to the many gardeners who have struggled to get it to settle with them. For more information go to plantlife.org.uk//campaigns/invasiveplants