It's time to gather ideas and inspiration from others this week. The UK is full of stunning gardens that are now open, so it's time to go and explore!
I'm also encouraging you to use natural predators and non-chemical methods to control pests and diseases. There are also a few tips on more pruning and harvesting as we approach the end of summer.
- You can get great ideas from other gardens, whether they belong to the Royal Horticultural Society Gardens or your neighbour! Look out for attractive plant combinations and new design ideas that you could do yourself.
- Wander through allotments (if access isn't restricted) for inspiration too. Allotmenteers are among the friendliest of gardeners and are often keen to share their gardening experiences.
Download the free Candide App to get help and answers from a warm community of gardeners, including Alan!
Greenhouse and protected growing
- Are your tomatoes touching the roof? Remove the leading shoot when they have set five trusses of fruit to encourage all the fruit to ripen before late autumn. Regular feeding with a tomato feed will also help to ripen and make the fruit tastier!
- Keep an eye out for whitefly. They will fly up in clouds if you disturb them before settling again on your plants. Waste no time in ordering natural predators. Yellow sticky pads will work but don’t use these if you are encouraging natural predators.
- S B Invigorator sprays have a physical (not chemical) mode of action and control a wide range of plant pests safely. You will need to spray very thoroughly and regularly.
- Powdery mildew can be a problem on some cucumbers, so remove leaves as soon as you see the typical white powdery coating. To ensure that the roots are kept moist, try controlling with a solution of 50:50 milk and water.
- Watch out for red spider mites on greenhouse plants. Symptoms include pale speckles appearing on the shoot tips, webbing and tiny insects just visible to the naked eye. Introduce predatory mites as soon as you see this troublesome pest. Keeping the humidity up by wetting the floor will also discourage them. Find more information here:
- Dig up and pot up a few roots of garden mint. Kept under cover, you will get fresh mint well into winter.
- Dig up your potatoes, dry and store undamaged tubers in a dark frost-free place for winter. They are ready to harvest when the tops die back. Late main-crop and winter salad potatoes will need a little longer in the ground and may put on a lot of tuber growth in the next few weeks.
- Keep feeding tomatoes, sweet peppers, melons, chillies and aubergines with high potash tomato liquid feed.
- Watch out for early blight on potatoes. There are only a few effective sprays, so if your crop is infected it might be best to cut the tops off promptly. If you don’t, the spores can be washed from the leaves and infect the tubers underground.
- Feed stick beans with a fast-acting liquid feed such as Miracle Grow, Phostrogen or Tomorite.
- Thin out pond oxygenating weeds, floating plants and plants growing on the margins. Aim to have no more than half the water covered by plants. Don’t remove more, because fish and other pond wildlife will need the shade and shelter that these plants provide.
- Regularly remove dead leaves of plants like water lilies to avoid them rotting in the bottom of the pond.
- Now is an excellent time to control vine weevil using a nematode biological predator. These are simple to water onto pots and borders. Make sure that they are wet first and that you are agitating the solution as you apply it. Prone plants include Heuchera, begonias, busy lizzies, Camellia, Rhododendron, azalea, blueberries, cyclamen and of course vines!
- Check tree stakes and ties. If the tree is now holding the stake up, it's time to remove the stake. Loosen tree ties but fix them so that they don't slide down the post.