As we slowly move into June and the longest day is on the horizon, it's time to plant out those star summer performers. I'm thinking of both edibles and ornamentals, especially those that need long days and some summer heat to thrive.
- Outdoor tomatoes, pumpkins, squashes and cucumbers can be planted out at the end of this month but only if your garden is sheltered or perhaps in a large city with the 'heat island' effect. It's a good idea to protect them with tunnels or cloches to start with - even a plastic pop bottle upturned with the bottom cut off helps. If your garden is at high elevation, in a low lying frost pocket or the north of the British Isles, it's best to plant next month.
- Order slug nematodes to rid your plants of this pest naturally and safely. Concentrate usage on the most prone plants such as young vegetable plants, lettuce, courgettes and beans.
- Have you had that horrible experience of biting into an apple or plum and discovered that it has a maggot in it - Eeek! Is it in your mouth or still in the fruit? The answer is to use pheromone traps for the apple and plum moth now. Hang them in the tree to capture the male moths. N.b. Separate traps needed for apples and plums.
- Who doesn't love basil? Sadly basil doesn't really like our summers so grow it in a very sheltered sunny spot. It may be best to grow in between your greenhouse tomatoes.
- Early potatoes will need the soil mounding up around them now. This prevents the light from getting at those delicious new spuds. There's still a chance of late frosts so cover with horticultural fleece if forecast.
Bits and pieces
- If you haven’t done it already, install a rainwater butt. If you have, install another!
- Mix your grass clippings with drier materials such as shredded prunings, cardboard and newspaper. Add Garotta compost accelerator to each layer. Turn and water heaps regularly to make the best compost.
- Spread mulch in your veg patch, flower borders and around fruit trees, canes and bushes, to trap in moisture and minimise weed growth.
- Before you rush to trim hedges check for nesting birds. Delay until nestlings have left the nest.
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Beds and borders
- Make certain that heavy flower headed perennial plants, such as peonies, are well supported. Those huge blooms can fill with rain and bend over.
- Fill gaps in between bigger established plants with colourful bedding plants.