Your garden

Vegetables

French and butter beans can be sown in the open. Place seeds singly, about 15cm apart and 5cm deep.

Runner beans for growing up trellises or on frames can be sown now in a sunny spot. Although generally grown as annuals, runner beans can be cut back to ground level in autumn and will come away again the following spring.

Smaller cucumber varieties (Lemon, True Lemon) can be sown in rich soil but in cooler areas, these and other cucurbits, including zucchini (courgettes), are better grown from plants bought from a garden centre.

Main-crop beetroot can be sown, to mature in autumn and stand over winter. Sow beetroot seed about 1cm deep.

Asparagus can be harvested now and spears can be taken over the next month. Resist taking any shoots in the first season, so the root system can develop. Give an application of general fertiliser, at the rate of 100g per sq m, before harvesting starts, then liquid manure regularly for the rest of the growing season.

Sweet corn can still be sown. Choose a faster-maturing variety, and sow in groups of six to eight plants, 15cm apart in each direction, to help fertilisation. The plants need shelter from cold winds and plenty of compost, lime and potash.Apply 45g a sq m before planting.

Celery plants can be transferred to the garden now. Space them 30cm apart in trenches dug 30cm deep and filled with well-manured soil.

Peas, lettuce, carrots, spring onions, radish and turnips can still be sown for succession crops.

Winter greens - Savoy cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and cauliflower - should be sown now.

Flowers

Half-hardy plants will tolerate some chill but are likely to be killed by late frosts. This group includes marigolds, zinnias, Salpiglossis and bedding dahlias.

For better flowers, it is worth adding well-rotted compost and a light dressing of bone dust to the ground where they are to grow. Work into the top 20cm of soil before planting.

Phlox plants should now be a mass of shoots. A little blood and bone worked in around the plants will ensure a good display in late summer.

Tulips and narcissi should be left as long as possible before lifting, cleaning, then replanting or storing.

Foliage must not be removed until it has turned yellow.

Dahlias may still be planted and old clumps of tubers lifted and broken up for replanting. Stake when planting to avoid damaging the roots later.

Greenfly is a common problem on roses. Spray with soap solution, which will not harm bees; or with a commercial product.

Fruit

Hardier tomatoes can be planted outdoors this month, but the plants will need shelter from strong westerly and southerly winds. Set stakes in position before putting in the plants so the roots will not be damaged.