If you lose control of weeds now, you will not catch up for the rest of the season. Do some determined slaughtering amongst the groundsel (already in flower and planning a population explosion), speedwell and dandelion tribes. Keep a small handspray of herbicide on the go (Roundup is the one I favour as it does least harm to the soil) to zap bindweed. This has just started a stealthy takeover bid among the soft fruit.

The dry April has held back much seedsowing, especially of hardy annuals which I had hoped to sow direct. Instead they are beginning life in the more comfortable environs of the kitchen window sill. Prick out seedlings as soon as they are big enough to handle, setting them up to their necks in seed trays of fresh compost. But Escholzia lobbii 'Moonlight' (Mr Fothergill 95p) is being sown direct into the newly damp soil.

Mulch furiously with whatever you can get hold of. This is your best insurance against drought. It also improves soil structure. I am a mulch- bore, but do not apolgise for it. There is always controversy over whether or not you can use lawn mowings as a mulch. Since we use no chemicals on the lawn, our mowings are tipped straight on to the soft-fruit patch and spread between the currant and gooseberry bushes. I think they do a good job. The disadvantage is that any mulch encourages bindweed.

Continue to keep an eye on clematis shoots which are growing with staggering vigour. Keep them fanned out to avoid them tangling with each other in a bunch. Clematis like cool feet and warm heads. A thick mulch (here we go again) or a slab of stone on top of the earth will help to keep the roots cool.

Sow sweetcorn if you have a warm, sheltered spot outside, setting the seeds in a square block about 18in apart each way. Plant out celery in trenches. They like rich rations, so under the trench there should be lashings of muck. They will also need a great deal of water.

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