Guarding your garden from the gloomy weather

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Our gardening columnist Mandy Sundin gives tips on how to beat the weather blues:

ANOTHER weekend of dank, cold weather approaches, seriously knocking back growth rates – we’ve lost the head start we gained in March.

Even though it’s too inclement to plant out half-hardy veg and flowers, you can prepare the ground ready to pop them in.

Dig in some organic material under beans, courgettes, squashes and sweetcorn to hold as much moisture as possible.

Runner beans need a sturdy support to cling to. In open ground, a double row of 8ft canes lashed together at the top with a crossbar is most effective. Use strong twine to act as cross-braces and run some between canes, giving the beans something to cling onto.

Use netting fastened securely to a wall if you’re growing legumes there.

Wigwams of canes, bound together at the top are also functional.

Peas and broad beans flop all over the place, so use sturdy branches pushed into the soil when planted for them to clamber over.