Harvest fruits of your labour

From now until early November, it s all hands to the pumps as far as harvesting tree fruit (plums, pears, apples) is concerned. It may seem an odd thing to say, but make sure your fingernails are well filed because punctured fruit does not keep. If anythi

From now until early November, it's all hands to the pumps as far as harvesting tree fruit (plums, pears, apples) is concerned. It may seem an odd thing to say, but make sure your fingernails are well filed because punctured fruit does not keep.

If anything has a hole in it, use it first. Use also any fruit with incipient brown rot, for that will not keep either and, what is worse, it will infect other fruit in which it comes in contact.

Some brown rot doesn't show up until later, so be sure to store apples and pears in a cool, airy, dark place with each fruit far enough apart not to touch.

If you don't have proper racks in a shed then wrap fruit individually in glossy pages from magazines and place in sturdy cardboard boxes.


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- Harvest runner beans frequently and check on the progress of sweetcorn by pulling back the husk and pressing a kernel. If the liquid produced is milky then they are ready.

- Take cuttings of tender perennials if you haven't the space to shelter containers over winter.

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- Damp down floors in the greenhouse often, especially in hot weather.

- However dry the weather and parched the lawn, don't be tempted to sprinkle it with water. The brownest lawn will green up when the September rain comes.

- Now that rambling roses, such as Albertine, American Pillar and Alberic Barbier, and once-flowering climbing roses have finished, it makes sense to tie in the long shoots, for the vigorous ones can threaten to take your eye out as your walk past the trellis.

Trim back the longest shoots and then tie them as horizontally as possible. On vertical uprights, twist them around in a spiral. Winter is the best time, however, for pruning them back.

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