Summer is here! After a really miserable early Spring with low temperatures and a lot of rain we are now having some cracking weather to enjoy, so let’s make the most of it! Things to remember this month...
Watering: After such a wet couple of months it is easy to forget the watering, not just for plants growing in pots but the flower and vegetable beds as well. Regular watering helps the plants develop and fight off pests, and now is the time to give them a boost by adding a feed to get more flowers and better fruit. Tomatoes in particular need regular watering to help them fruit and stop the fruits splitting.
Pest Control: The dreaded slugs can cause carnage in the garden in warm wet weather. Many people use slug pellets but if you do please read and follow the instructions. It is common to overdose by adding a ring of blue pellets around the plants. This is not only wrong but unnecessary, as you only need single pellets spaced a few centimetres apart. Ideally we should all try and go green as slug pellets poison birds and hedgehogs. A beer trap is very effective, but my favoured method is to go around in the evening with some tongs and a bucket of hot salty water and dispose of the little beasts that way. If you are spraying plants to get rid of greenfly and white fly this should be done in the late evening to avoid killing the bees. Remember that many insects such as ladybirds and lacewings and also wasps eat many times their own weight in pests, so we should do everything we can to help them by not spraying too much.
Continuous Planting: If you like to grow your own herbs and fast growing crops such as radishes and lettuce, then planting a few at a time, every week or so, will give you a succession of tasty crops. I find it is hardly worth growing these from seed as the garden centres always have a good range available, and you can purchase just one of two rather than growing too many and having to throw them away. Also they have done the hard work of getting them to germinate and reach a reasonable size to plant out. You can grow a mixture of herbs and salad crops in the same growbag, but do purchase a good quality one and remember to add a regular feed. Some of the cheap growbags have virtually no goodness in them and will need added feed straight away.
Wildlife: Encouraging wildlife into our gardens gives benefits we can all enjoy. If you have space then it may not be too late to grow sunflowers that birds adore. Why not consider putting up an insect hotel – they look like a bird box with canes in. They will encourage the insects that feed on pets as well as other more interesting ones. We spent several happy hours last year watching leafcutter bees building nests in ours.
But most importantly enjoy your garden and all the pleasures it can bring.
If you are interested in growing more, and live in Stretton, then contact Stretton allotments to find out availability. Email firstname.lastname@example.org