Gardening jobs for this weekend with Brian Kidd

Time to cut down your raspberry canes.
Time to cut down your raspberry canes.
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There’s plenty to do on your plot in the next couple of days.

•It’s important to sow seeds of spring cabbages now. Choose new varieties such as Offenheim 2 or Duncan, both F1 hybrids which won’t bolt if we have a hot spell next May. The cabbage will be green too, not slimy yellow.

•Cut down summer-fruiting raspberry canes as soon as they finish fruiting and ensure the ground is not allowed to dry out. New canes should be emerging from the ground. These will bear next year’s fruit. Tie these shoots on to wires as soon as they are long enough.

•Get into the habit of summer-pruning apples. Look at the main branches and there will be side shoots. Cut the side shoots back to half their length. This will induce fruiting spurs and a better crop next year. Try to summer-prune every year.

•Sow indoor cyclamen seeds in a greenhouse or on a windowsill. They take a long time to germinate as they make a tiny tuber before the first leaf can be seen. Try to find the scented type.

•Stop watering indoor amaryllis. Put the pot on its side somewhere indoors up in the sun. This will make the foliage die down. In October the leaves are cut off even if they are still green and the bulb is then potted in the same size pot in DRY, not even moist, but DRY John Innes No3 compost, kept in the light with NO WATER until the fat flower bud emerges next February.

•Ensure azaleas, rhododendrons and,in particular, camellias are really moist at the roots. This will ensure the buds won’t fall off next spring. Premature camellia bud drop in spring is caused by the roots being dry in August and into the autumn.

•Plant corms of freesias indoors in a large cool window or better still in the greenhouse. Plant five in a five-inch diameter pot and get hold of some hazel fans to support the long grass-like foliage. It gets very long and untidy and the fans keep the foliage together. As a result, the flowers will be on long stems, not curly useless specimens. Now think of that perfume from the end of February onwards.

•Lift main crop potatoes as soon as the foliage dies down, the longer they are left in the soil, the more slug damage there will be. If you want to save time, cut the haulms down and remove the weeds. It is surprising how much time can be saved. Oh, do this job on a nice day!