The height of summer is a wonderful time to reap the rewards of all of your efforts in the garden over the past few months. There are, however, still a few jobs that need to be done to keep your garden looking its very best in what is often the hottest and driest month of the year.
- Make sure that your plants are watered regularly if the weather is very dry. Try to use a water butt or grey water rather than tap water and avoid watering acid-loving plants with tap water as they do not respond well to the chemicals it contains. If you are going on holiday, enlist the help of a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your precious plants while you’re away.
- In dry weather, top up bird baths with fresh water.
- Regularly deadhead dahlias, annuals and roses to encourage further blooming.
- Now is the time to begin collecting seed. Do this on a dry day and store your seed in a paper envelope marked with the plant name and date. Many seeds need a period of cold weather before germination so store them somewhere cool and dry.
- Prune winter-flowering shrubs such as Buddleja, Fuschia, Lavender and Caryopteris as soon as they have finished flowering. This will provide time for lots of new growth that will carry the flowers next year.
- Prune Wisteria: firstly, tie in any stems which will fill in gaps in the overall structure, then prune back whippy growth to 5 or 6 leaves.
- In the vegetable patch, lift and store potatoes once the foliage has died back. Don’t forget to dry them thoroughly, before storing them in paper or hessian sacks.
- Lift onions and garlic when the foliage has turned yellow and fallen over. Hang them in the greenhouse to dry or, if the weather is hot, leave them on the soil for several days to allow the sunshine to do the work.
- Continue harvesting produce as it becomes ready and regularly pick beans and peas to encourage further production. If left to ripen, the plant will stop producing tender, new produce.
- Lift and pot up strawberry runners to ensure a supply of healthy, new plants in the strawberry patch.
- Continue watering and feeding tomatoes.
- Now is the time to sow a late crop of lettuce, chard, beetroot and spinach as well as oriental greens and spring cabbage.
(Blog post written by Jo Chamberlain)