This week Brian explains how to replenish your stock of favourite shrubs.
• Softwood cuttings can be taken now from your favourite shrubs such as camellias and daphne, many others too that people often think are difficult to root. Take cuttings from side shoots about five inches long taken off with a heel. This means simply pulling them off and trimming the skin which comes away with the cutting. Take off all the leaves except the top four and the growing tip and put them into a 50/50 mix of peat or peat substitute and sharp sand. Put the cuttings in little pots in a deep box with a sheet of glass over the top. Shade the glass and keep the cuttings moist. They will root in about seven weeks. Daphne may not root until spring.
• Sow another batch of dwarf French beans. Be prepared to cover them with cloches in September and they will provide beans until late autumn.
• Trim off dead flowers on sunroses – helianthemum. This encourages new growth which will produce masses of blooms next summer.
• Feed indoor cucumbers twice a week with a high nitrogen liquid feed. This will encourage rapid growth and more little cucumbers will form in mid-August. If white patches are appearing on the leaves, apply a thick dusting of sulphur powder to prevent powdery mildew from spreading.
• Sow large-rooted radish for winter stews. Simply sow them in a drill outdoors.
• Sow short rows of Autumn King 2 carrots. These can be left in the ground for digging during the winter. Cover the row with insect barrier mesh suspended by half circles of plastic water piping to keep carrot root fly away from the seedlings.
• Spray roses with Multirose to keep blackspot and rose-invading insects under control.