Protecting plants

Tomato, cucumber and pepper plants should not be planted outside until the end of May; even inside they need some heat at night if temperatures are dropping low. Gardeners Delight is a good cherry tomato while Tumbler is ideal for a heavy crop in a hanging basket or try one of the more unusual varities like Tigerella with its striped fruit or Golden Crown with its yellow tomatoes which are less acidic than their red cousins.

Watch out for slug damage on young herbaceous plants, and summer bedding such as marigolds. Use slug pellets or one of the natural controls that are available. Slug Gone is a good choice. It is made from sheep’s wool and is sold in pellets, which you put round the base of plants; once dampened small fibres act as an irritant to slugs.

Many herbaceous plants flower in their first year and there’s always a good selection available in garden centres. The first batch of West Country lupins should be ready now; with their many vibrant colours they make a delightful splash of colour, along with the hardy geraniums and the coloured leaves of the heuchera. Also available are the ever-popular delphiniums, lupins and foxgloves.

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