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This week's key tasks.

Order or buy seeds now, especially ones of those plants that should be sown in mid and late winter to ensure a long growing season.

Bring under cover any herbs potted up for forcing.

Provide some shelter for bulbs sitting in pots during prolonged wet weather, making sure they are on pot feet so that they don't rot.

Lift chicory for forcing, pot up and keep in darkness in a warm place.

Lag or protect outdoor pipes if not already done.

Take winter hanging baskets under cover, either into the greenhouse or porch, to protect them from the worst of the cold weather.

Protect vulnerable wall shrubs of borderline hardiness with a semi-circle of fine mesh, filling the gaps with straw.

Take root cuttings of border perennials such as acanthus, border phlox, echinops, oriental poppies and verbascum, then put them in a cold frame or greenhouse.

Continue to plant fruit trees and bushes if soil and weather conditions are suitable.

Give herbs winter protection, bringing container-grown bay into the greenhouse or a sheltered spot on the patio. Give French tarragon and myrtle a protective layer of leafmould.

Protect sweet-pea seedlings in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Dec 16, 2009
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