Now that the soil is warmer, you can get those cold-sensitive plants going. And it's not too late to plant a hanging basket or two or even more! With the whole summer ahead of us, now is the time to plant for colour!
- It's not too late to plant up a hanging basket! If you haven't done it before then choose a basket with solid sides so that you only need to plant up the top.
- When choosing plants for hanging baskets, aim for a central bushy upright plant - the "thriller". Then add 3 or 4 trailing plants - the "spillers". Finally, plant some bushy growing plants to cover the area in between the thriller and spillers. These of course are called "fillers"!
- Use the best potting compost available to get a fuller and longer display.
- Add resin-coated, slow-release fertiliser tablets (Osmocote, Grow-Sure, etc.) so that your plants are well fed for most of the summer.
- Water regularly and nip off any flowers that have gone over. This encourages more flowers to be produced.
Greenhouse and poly-tunnels
- Temperatures under cover can get very high so, besides plenty of ventilation, you'll need to put shade on the outside. Apply shade as spray-on shade paint or as netting to the roof of your greenhouse.
- If your crops have suffered from red spider mite attacks in the past, damp the floor down regularly to raise air humidity. Don’t do it late in the day as this can encourage diseases. If you're going to use natural pest predators, introduce them as soon as you see the first pests.
- Plant melons. They need it hot and humid so they are good for polytunnels. They also like soil with lots of organic matter in it and masses of water!
Borders and cut flowers
- Trim foliage off early flowering perennials to encourage fresh new leaves. Lungwort (Pulmonaria) responds particularly well and it gets rid of the powdery mildew that they often get.
- Hostas can be divided this month. Lift clumps and split them, making certain that each shoot has plenty of roots attached.
- Watch out for scarlet lily beetles. This pest can eat your lily leaves in a few days! Pick them off and squash them. However, the larvae are hard to see and I use Provado Ultimate Bug Killer. A non-chemical alternative that will protect your plants is Grazers Beetle Control, but you'll need regular sprays.