Flower Beds, Borders and Pots
A liquid fertiliser is ideal for giving summer bedding plants an extra boost into full growth and will encourage flowering. Little and often is the best way to feed your plants. Only use very diluted fertiliser, anything too strong can scorch your plants and possibly kill them. Feeding once a week is just about the right amount. It’s best to feed your plants as early as possible in the mornings, this gives them a chance to absorb some of the feed before it gets too hot, it also helps prevent scorching from the sun. If any of your hanging basket plants have become leggy or misshapen, simply trim the excess off – this will encourage bushy growth and pinch out the tips of your fuchias to encourage more flowers.
Weeds will be springing up everywhere by now, especially in your borders. Borders are best weeded on a hot day when hoeing is much easier and the sun’s rays will dry out the up rooted weeds. Garden paths can either be hoe’d or sprayed, but if spraying do this on a ‘still’ day to prevent the weed killer from be carried onto the lawn or nearby plants.
As soon as your sweet peas start to flower, keep picking them to encourage more blooms. Dead-head your roses if they are repeat-flowering types, otherwise leave the seed heads on for decoration. Towards the end of June, if your hardy Geraniums have finished flowering then cut them back to encourage new foliage and flowers.
Stake tall or floppy perennial plants to prevent wind damage and as your climbers grow new shoots you should tie them in and train them to their supports e.g. honeysuckle and clematis. Prune out overcrowded or dead stems of evergreen Clematis after they have finished flowering to maintain a good shape.
Warm weather encourages rapid weed growth so apply a specific lawn weed killer to tackle this problem. Feed your lawn with a high nitrogen fertiliser to encourage healthy green growth.
Cutting along the edges of your borders with some shears will really set the garden off and is one of those jobs that you can stand back from and see the immediate effect it has on tidying up your garden.
In the Vegetable patch
Pinch out any side shoots from your tomato plants and feed once the first truss is setting fruit. Continue to earth up potato plants as they grow. If you’re growing potatoes in bags simply add more compost to half way up the plant stem. Harvest early potatoes – these are normally ready from 10 weeks after planting.Harvest salad crops and re-sow every 2 weeks for a constant supply of tasty leaves.
Look out for onion and garlic leaves yellowing and dying back as this means they are ready to harvest. Plant out tender vegetables such as courgettes, squash, tomatoes and sweet corn now the risk of frost has passed. There is still time to plant runner beans but you must sow them directly in the ground now. Protect crops from carrot fly by covering with horticultural fleece or enviromesh
Don’t forget, if you have not found time to plant seeds, then we grow a wide selection of young vegetable plants in pots at the nursery. .
In the Fruit garden
Although fruit trees will naturally shed some fruit (called the ‘June drop’), aim to thin out congested branches further for bigger and better fruits. Thin out your apple and pear crops by removing all the damaged or diseased fruit now. Then thin the remaining fruitlets, leaving roughly 4in between each one. Although this cull seems drastic, it will give you a higher quality apple or pear to eat or cook.
If you have plants fruiting in containers, make sure you give them a high potash liquid feed to keep plants healthy and productive.
From June onwards, strawberry plants will start producing ‘runners’. This is the name for the tiny plants produced on long stems (stolons), which grow from the main plant. Use some to produce more plants for next season. Remove the rest as they may sap the energy of the mother plant and reduce the crop.
It is easy to make new strawberry plants as the runners root very easily. Either cut runners off the main plant and put them in a pot to root and grow or use a length of bent wire to staple the runner, still attached to the plant, down to the soil to root.
If your rhubarb is still growing you can continue to harvest it into July. Harvest the stalks with a gentle ‘twist and pull’ motion, rather than cutting the stalks. Don’t pick first year plants, and only take a few sticks from second year plants. Keep rhubarb well watered in dry spells, particularly younger plants.
Evergreens commonly used for topiary, such as Box, Privet, Yew, Thuja or Euonymus need to be clipped in early June to prevent losing their shape. All new growth should be completely removed. Using shears or, for finer work, secateurs to clip all of the excess new growth right back to the original topiary line.
To conserve water, water the soil rather than the plants and make ‘ponds’ around individual plants so that the water can really soak in, ideally wetting the soil quite deeply, say to 25cm (10in). Thorough watering like this supports plants for 14 days, but merely wetting the surface wastes water, encourages weeds and can lead to surface rooting making the plants more vulnerable.
Look for aphids on the underside of leaves – rub them off by hand or spray with an insecticide to prevent them multiplying.
Turn the compost in your compost bins every month to keep it well aerated.