Wimbledon and the Euros are here!
But we can't spend all our time watching sport. There's gardening to do. This is what we'll be upto - as well as wondering of it will be coming home...........
1. Think Hidcote, Munstead or Alba! Yes – we’re talking lavender. Whether you bought yours from us when we’ve been selling at the Station Approach or elsewhere now is the time to pretend you’re in Provence and give your bushes some attention. Trim the plants after flowering to keep them compact and bushy but try not to cut into the old wood. And those cuttings? Well choose those shoots that have newly opened flowers and hang them up in a cool, dark place to let them dry out nicely.
2. It’s feeding time in the garden, the hanging basket, the veg patch or the Grow Bag! Now is the time to give your plants a good feed so that they can continue to grow and reward you with more and more flowers, fruit and veg! Give your dahlias sweet peas and roses a feed with an appropriate liquid feed – more on that later – and whilst you’re at it do some deadheading too. Tie in new shoots so that they’re well supported and they’ll continue to perform. And apply the right sort of feed to your tomatoes and chillies.
3. Pay attention to your fruit trees. If like us you’ve got a plum, apricot or peach – a stone fruit – then now is the time to give them a prune. Unlike apples and pears that are pruned in the winter plums, apricots and peaches are pruned now. We do that so that the wounds that are created when we prune the tree heal as quickly as possible and in doing so prevent the spores that give rise to the Silver Leaf fungus from entering our trees. Now is also the time to thin out any heavy crops of fruit so that branches don’t snap and to allow the fruits to grow and ripen, and if you’re training your fruit trees then now is the time shorten the side shoots to about five leaves from the base of each shoot.
4. Return some nitrogen to the soil. Do you grow broad beans? Have you ever noticed those small white nodules that seem to be hanging on to the roots when you pull the plants up after you’ve harvested all those delicious beans? Well that’s a valuable source of nitrogen that your plants have cleverly produced whilst your beans have been growing. We wrote about that back in January Nitrogen. Get your fix here......... (trugandlettuce.co.uk)
but suffice to say it’s probably a good idea to leave the old plants to wither in the soil rather than pull them up and throw them away. Once they’re nicely withered chop them up and dig it all back into the soil – giving your soil a nice nitrogen boost in the process!
5. Have a go at making your own feed. Rather than buy something off the shelf why not have a go at making your own – like what we do! Every year we keep our eyes out for one of three main ingredients that we’ll then pick, or pick up, and then take back to Muriel Jones where we’ll chop it all up and chuck it in a big butt and then cover with rain water. You can use seaweed, nettles or comfrey. Read about what we do here Grow your own - Dig for Victory - make your own fertiliser. (trugandlettuce.co.uk)
6. Keep a look out for pests. Watch for pests such as lily beetles, snails, aphids and vine weevils, and remove them before they do too much harm. Also check your veg such as runner beans regularly for aphids, and rub or wash them off straight away, before they multiply.
7. Keep things hydrated! We wrote this the other day. We woke up to the sound of rain. We weeded yesterday in the rain. And we’ve now had a few days of rain. It must be the time of year when Wimbledon is about to start! Anyway make sure you water thirsty plants such as celery, beans, peas, courgettes, pumpkins and tomatoes regularly and whilst you’re at it give your bird baths, ponds and water features a top up. Water your hanging baskets and patio containers every morning or evening and if you’re going away think about asking a neighbour to call round and keep the hose going – just don’t forget to bring them something back as a thank you!
8. Sow a final batch of something tasty. It’s not too late to sow some peas and dwarf beans – do it before mid-July - for an autumn crop. We’ve neglected Muriel again this year – we’ve been so busy – and we need to get up there and give her a good weed and attend to all the other jobs that we had planned. We’re planning a few visits next week in the evenings when we’ll be a bit quieter and after we’ve sorted things out we’ll be sowing a few beans – after all they certainly aren’t going to grow if we leave them in the packet.
9. Attend to your trees, hedges and shrubs. If you planted up new ones then make sure they’re watered – even if we’ve had rain! The pleached trees that we planted up earlier this year are growing great guns – and that’s because they’re being watered. A lack of water in the first year or two of being planted is the most common reason why newly planted trees and shrubs fail – so if you’ve planted some then make sure you keep on top of watering them. Now is also a good time to think about keeping your hedges and bushes in a nice tidy condition. A gentle trim will do wonders.
One final word of warning though – and we’ve mentioned it before we know – it’s still too early to undertake large trimming. We were asked to look at a privet the other day and a massive ivy last night but when we heard birds tweeting away and saw them flying in to their nests we agreed that we’d defer the jobs until August. Some might be happy to do the job now but we don’t. Afterall we wouldn’t want to turf our feathered friends out of their homes would we?
10. Set your cutting blades high. Keep mowing lawns regularly, but raise the cutting height to leave the grass longer during dry weather. And make sure that as far as possible you collect more than you mulch. Although leaving a little bit of your sward behind is a good idea to conserve some of the moisture try not to leave too much – or that thatch will start to build up and give you a bigger problem in the winter.
You can contact us through our facebook page, by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or come along and see us at The Station Approach in Frome every other Saturday between 8am and 12.30pm. Follow us on Facebook to know when we'll be there next.