Summer is here!
June 21st. The longest day of the year, and all that extra light and warmth we're going to get will encourage our gardens, plots and pots to put on an exuberant burst of growth. However all that extra light and warmth will also mean that the weeds will sprout up everywhere, adding another job to that ever increasing list!
1. Manage those weeds!
Recent rain followed now by some warm sunny weather and everything will be starting to grow. Fast. Including those weeds that we’ve spoken about before. Now though really is the time to get on top of them. If it’s dry and if they’re the annual weeds, then hoeing them to sever the roots will do the job. If they’re dandelions or dock, then you know what to do – it’s hands and knees time and digging down deep to remove the roots.
2. Get the watering can out.
Hopefully, your butts will be about to burst, and you can now be grateful that you sorted out the guttering from the shed. If you didn’t and have to use tap water, then try and balance the needs of your plants with being water-wise – and make a note to sort some rainwater harvesting as quickly as you can. Water your plants daily in warm weather, ideally in the evening or early morning, and do your best to avoid splashing the leaves.
3. Feed your plants.
Each type of plant will need its own type of feed – some will want a feed that’s rich in nitrogen, some that is rich in phosphorus and some that is rich in potassium – Ns, Ps & Ks. If that’s confusing you then you can read up some more on our website, or simply buy a balanced, all-purpose fertiliser. And of course, the other thing that you can do is try making your own like we do! Again, you can read about that under the Learn section of the website.
4. Tend your veg.
Now is the time to pinch out the side shoots on your tomatoes and to keep an eye on both your tomatoes and potatoes for blight. If you notice leaves that are yellowing or withering, then now is the time to treat the plant – if left untreated then the plant might well die. And if you do that then you might well be lucky enough to harvest an early crop of lettuce, radish, and other salads and some nice tasty early potatoes.
5. Sow your courgettes (and marrows and pumpkins).
As the weather really starts to warm up then you can get those seeds sorted and sown outdoors. We’ve got some marrow seeds that are almost 70 years old and we’re planning to sow them this year to see how they do. Alongside that we’re also planting some tromboncino squash in the veg bed in a bed, and we’ll also plant some of those miniature squashes that we tried last year.
6. Check your fruit.
As the flowers start to set and as the fruit starts to form then we’ll need to think about thinning it out – so that we get a decent harvest of well formed and shaped fruit that has had the chance to fully ripen and remain on the tree for as long as possible. We’ll be doing that up at Muriel Jones towards the end of this month. The other thing that we’ll be doing is making sure that we pull of any suckers that appear at the base of our fruit trees and we’ll be tying in the new growth from our blackberries.
7. Continue training fan-trained trees.
Ok so this might be a bit fancy but up at Muriel Jones we have some pear trees that we’re training. They were initially planned to be espalier but then the rabbits got one and we broke off the leaders as we tried to bend them into shape – they weren’t as flexible as we though – or we might have left it too late. So, what we then decided was to try two as espalier and the other two as step overs – all by design of course! You can read more about training fruit trees on the website.
8. Get trimming.
Trim fast-growing hedges, such as privet, every six weeks over the summer but before you do check hedges and shrubs for nesting birds before you start so you don’t disturb any nesting birds that might remain – or commit a criminal offence. We were asked to prune a large privet hedge the other day and when we looked at it one evening, we saw the birds flying in and out of it – so we delayed the job for a month or so. Some might not be so considerate towards our feathered friends and would have yielded the trimmer anyway. We don’t!
9. Plant up a new bed.
Now is a great time to try something different and experiment with colour and form that you might not have tried before. We spent an enjoyable afternoon the other weekend at a garden that is local to us and came back with loads of new ideas. Then when we were at the nursery, we found a lot of those plants that we thought we’d want to try – so we bought some! If you fancy trying out some cannas, or some salvias, some acers or some hostas then why not either get in touch and let us know what you’re after or follow us on Facebook and Instagram where we post when we’ll be selling our plants at The Station Approach in Frome.
10. Look after your sward.
Whether you’ve got a sit on mower or a good old-fashioned push along (and yes, we have both!) now is the time to get them out and mow your lawn every week. Don’t cut too high or too low and make sure you pick up all the clippings. And if you can leave a corner a bit wild - pollinating insects and other wildlife will thank you for it.
You can contact us through our facebook page, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07394 128485 or 07734 365028, or come along and see us at The Station Approach in Frome every other Saturday between 8am and 12.30pm - the next time we'll be there will be Saturday 5th June.
And don't forget that you can listen to us chat all things gardening on FromeFM. We're on every 4 weeks with the next one due at 1pm on Sunday 6th June!