in War by E.
riallE advice I gave last week about earth ing up the young potato shoots as soon as they appear still holds, and will do so as long as there is the slighicst, danger of frost. If, after you have taken this step, you still have qualms at a cool and clear evening because you know that your own neighbourhood is particularly liable to frosts, then you may like to put a little straw loosely over the young leavea showing above your earthings-up. It pays to be careful.
Straw should also be laid lengthways close under the strawberry plants which are showing plenty of flower buds. It keeps them much cleaner, and if your straw is clean there should be no fear of slugs and the like, but naturally it is better if you can when the embryo fruits have set to give the ground a light sprinkling of soot before putting down the straw. This is a feed as well as a slug deterrent.
While we are talking of fruit I may mention that if your raspberry canes are sending up too many suckers (three strong ones per plant are often enough), you cart de tech some now for propagation and all the others must be ruthlessly kept down. It is fruit you want, not a thicket.
Greenhouse vines may be setting fruit. Do the thinning carefully, but very effectively at an early stage, then go over the bunches later. In cooler houses there may be no fruit yet, but over-luxuriant growth should be pinched out young so as to avoid draining the vine's vitality and causing bleeding by heavy pruning later. Ventilalion will avoid scorching due to the sun's shining through beads of moisture like a magnifying lens.
The seedlings of this valahle plant which were raised very early for under-glass crop. ping should receive full light and be kept
sturdy. Give them plenty of water about the roots, but keep the leaves dry. Almost all diseases of tomatoes are due to the opposite xrcatment. An occasional watering with a faintly-coloured solution of permanganate or potash (Candy's fluid) about the roots will do good. Don't forget that roots will appear above the soil level and will later need to be covered up with nice moist compost ; therefore only fill the pots to about two-thirds capacity. The soil need not be too rich, and an eight-inch pot is ample for one plant.
Marchand April-sown seedlings in cold frames should be pricked out (i.e., spaced to about two inches apart) in boxes or the frame soil as soon as they have made two real leaves ; these arc rough. Plants may be small now. but they will be good for June planting. You can, if you like to devote a frame to this purpose, get some seedlings nice and big in the frame and then just lift the lid off the frame in June and let them mature there. Plants for this will be two feet apart.
HALF-HARDY SUBJECTS This much-talked-of class is perfectly hardy dining the summer months, and can be safely planted out (or sown outside) from now onwards, particularly if young plants are quite hardened-off and you are willing to give them a paper dunce-cap for
the night if frost threatens. This means that among flowers old dahlia tubers can be divided and planted out, and that bedding plants can be transferred from greenhouses and frames to their permanent positions.
If you have no frame you can sow vegetable marrows and ridge cucumbers and (for the epicurean) maize outside. For an abundant crop you can now sow runner beans, and the main crop of dwarf French beans. The latter need no sticks and can also be allowed to mature as haricots. Of both these last two vegetables I find it wise to sow a small reserve patch ; slugs and birds often take their toll, and the wise man takes no risks. Incidentally, when the beans are through, a sprinkling with lawn clippings helps to keep slugs away. The short blades stick to their bodies and impede them.
Celeriac can be safely sown outside in rows a foot apart. The seed is very tiny, so cover with fine sifted soil or sand. Good serviceable roots will be obtained in this way, not so large as those from frame sowings, but perfectly desirable and tasting just the same. Beet should have a maincrop sowing about now. Have plenty, because the roots are easily stored over winter, and are as wholesome as they are delicious. There is no comparison between home-grown and bought beets. And, if You still have room, make extra sowings of carrots for winter storing, too.