By Peter Langdale
Below are some useful tips on how to get the best out of your gardens and vegetable plots this month.
The secret to good watering is to keep the amount and frequency regular.
Good regular watering should stop your plants becoming stressed and lead to good growth, flowering and, where appropriate, fruiting.
Try to avoid watering in the heat of the day as the water droplets can act like a magnifying glass and cause some damage to sensitive plants. It also wastes water through evaporation.
Also by watering during the cooler hours there is less immediate evaporation and more efficient water usage.
Pruning and dead heading:
With the higher temperatures the spring flowering shrubs are beginning to look the worse for wear and so now is a good time to cut out the older flowering stems and branches.
Cut back to a new shoot or in the case of roses go back to one or two buds at the base.
Take a walk among your fruit trees and bushes and you will almost certainly see suckers coming up from the rootstock.
These are an unnecessary drain on the plants reserves and should be removed.
Now is the time that our fruit plants are building reserves for later flowering and fruiting and when they most need regular feeding.
Applications of nitrogen, phosphate, and potash are essential, but must be supplemented with amounts of minor nutrients such as magnesium, iron and calcium etc.
We can expect rapid grass growth with frequent cutting and so monthly amounts of a lawn fertilizer are recommended to help maintain the colour.
Cutting too short in very hot conditions may cause some scorching.
Daily watering is a must and in extreme conditions morning and evening.
Hanging baskets are difficult to maintain moist and need special attention.
Once again regular feeding is required.
Fruit and veg plot:
From now until the middle of July there is still time to put in some summer crops such as fennel, cabbage, radish, mouli and potatoes for the autumn.
By now, good use should have been made of spring sown vegetables with some longer cycle crops such as carrots still being picked.
Keep on top of the weeding as summer weeds such as purslane and fat hen can be very invasive. Regular watering can be coupled with regular feeding and we recommend a feed high in potash for good fruit and leaf development.
If you have an abundance of herbs such as parsley, coriander, dill, thyme, do not waste them.
Now is a good time to harvest them and air dry them for future use.
Most can also be put in the freezer.
Thinking about going away on holiday?
If so leave your fruit and veg plots as clean as possible and dispose of any over mature fruit.
If you don’t, be aware you may come back to a plot that looks as if it has been abandoned for a year, not just three weeks!