Nothing beats the fresh produce that becomes available this month, and if you’ve grown it yourself, so much the better! New potatoes, salad and strawberries – all should be ready to harvest now, so enjoy the fruits of your labours, along with the longer evenings and even more sunshine!
If time is limited in the garden this month, here are our top ten tips:
- Water your plants regularly (bedding plants will need it once a day and shrubs, roses and perennials every other day) and feed them with a slow release fertiliser every few months.
- Prune spring flowering shrubs such as Ribes and Forsythia.
- Plant roses and remember to feed well with a slow release rose fertiliser.
- Plant out your bedding if you haven’t done so already.
- Hoe borders regularly to keep down weeds.
- Mow lawns at least once a week.
- Stake tall plants such as Delphiniums and Foxgloves.
- Harvest lettuce, radish and other salad crops.
- Harvest early varieties of strawberries and raspberries.
- Thin out tree fruits, especially Victoria Plum.
If you have a little more time to spare…
BEDS AND BORDERS
If you haven’t already, plant up your beds, hanging baskets and containers with Summer bedding!
Clip vigorous rock garden plants such as aubrieta and alyssum with shears once the flowers are over, to keep them compact and free-flowering. Remember to water sweet peas and either pick the flowers regularly or remove the seed heads to ensure the plants continue to flower.
Prune spring flowering shrubs to prevent them overgrowing. Some variegated shrubs have a tendency to revert to green, these green shoots grow strongly and can take over the plant – cut them out wherever you see them. Prune deciduous shrubs, cutting out shoots that have just flowered in order to encourage strong new growth for next year.
Don’t forget about Roses. We have a fabulous selection in store at Coolings now. Roses appreciate good rich soil, so plant with Coolings Tree and Shrub Compost or well-rotted farmyard manure. We also recommend ‘Rootgrow’ with friendly mycorrhizal fungi to give your roses a boost throughout their lifetime. After planting, feed through summer with a slow release rose fertilliser such as ‘Toprose’ or ‘David Austin Rose Food’ to promote healthy foliage and generous flowering. Remove faded blooms to promote repeat flowering. Plants can be sprayed with ‘Rose Clear’ to control pest and disease problems should they occur.
SOWING, PLANTING AND HARVESTING
Sowing and planting edible crops
Thin tree fruits to improve fruit size, quality and flavour and to help prevent branches from breaking. Thinning also helps to prevent biennial bearing (heavy crops one year and nothing the next). Protect soft fruits by netting the crop just before it ripens. Pick the fruit when it is slightly under ripe for preserving and freezing, and when fully ripe for eating there and then.
Plant broccoli, french and runner beans, courgettes, sweetcorn and pumpkins, as well as outdoor tomatoes, and continue sowing salad crops such as lettuce and radishes. Carefully hand weed around onions, or the smell of damaged roots will attract onion fly. Liquid feed them, if desired.
Strawberries should start to come thick and fast now – remember to water regularly, especially if in a pot, and feed weekly with a high potash liquid fertiliser. Watch out for birds who love the fruit as much as we do, best to cover plants with netting to keep them at bay.
Sow all biennials for next year (if not already done). Continue successful planting of gladioli.
Brassicas: calabrese, spring cabbage and kale.
Roots: radishes, carrots, first potatoes from outside, baby beetroot, autumn-sown onion sets and garlic.
Salad: Salad leaves, pea tips, all lettuce.
Edible flowers: borage, marigolds.
Leafy greens: chard, perpetual spinach.
Legumes: first peas, broad beans.
Squash: first outdoor courgettes and their flowers.
Herbs: all – cut perennials (eg. chives, lovage, mint, fennel) to the ground to get fresh, tender, strong-tasting leaves in a few weeks’ time.
Fruit: rhubarb, strawberries, cherries, redcurrants, pick and prune blackcurrants.
Bulbs: lilies, alliums.
Hardy annuals: all autumn-sown (including sweet peas), first spring-sown.
Biennials: most still in full flower.
Perennials: peonies, penstemons, Euphorbia, English garden pinks, alstroemerias.
Shrubs & trees: roses, philadelphus, viburnum opulus.
BEDDING FOCUS: CARING FOR YOUR BEDDING…
Summer bedding plants are easy to grow and care for. They look good grown in hanging baskets and pots, and also work in borders either to fill gaps or grown together for a colourful display. Simple displays often make more of an impact than complicated planting recipes. Follow these simple tips to make the most of your bedding plants, and keeping them in flower all summer…
1) Choose the right spot
Have a specific site in mind when choosing your bedding plants as this will play a big part in their survival. For sunny spots you will want to choose plants that thrive in the heat like osteospermums, marigolds, petunias and pelargoniums etc. Busy lizzies, fuchsias and many foliage plants will perform well in shade.
2) Water, water, water your plants!
All recently planted plants – especially bedding – and plants in containers and baskets will appreciate a good soak every day. Use collected rainwater where possible (we have two massive reservoirs on site here at Coolings that are filled with rainwater we have harvested on site but if you don’t have a reservoir, then a water butt could be a good start!
Alternatively, have you ever considered installing an irrigation system to do all the work for you? It will save you hours of watering every day, they are easy to install, delivers water exactly where it’s needed and complies with water restrictions. The best bit is that we can install this for you too!
3) Give them a good feed
Most composts for containers and baskets contain limited amounts of food. Within several weeks of planting, fast-growing, hungry bedding plants will have used most of the goodness in the compost. So, we recommend you add more nutrients to improve your plants’ flowering performance and encourage stronger growth. A regular meal every month to keep them growing well should do the trick, we recommend Miracle Gro plant food or a slow release plant food such as Osmocote Plant Food (for beds) and Osmocote Plant Food Tablets (for baskets and tubs). As you water your pots from above, the resin coating of the granules slowly dissolves to release feed into the surrounding compost. This is a gradual process because the granules are designed to release fertiliser slowly over many months and will assist/reduce the need for watering during the season.
4) Deadhead spent flowers
Pick off old flower heads as soon as they fade to stop your bedding plants wasting energy producing seeds. Some varieties of fuchsia, scaevola and other bedding look after themselves, dropping their old petals to keep displays looking clean. Just shake the basket or pot, or brush lightly over the plants to keep them tidy. Plants such as pelargoniums and petunias will require a more hands-on approach, so pinch off spent flowers.
To purchase bedding from our online shop, please click here.
OTHER JOBS TO CONSIDER:
It’s a good time to spruce up your garden furniture ready for Summer BBQs and entertaining. If like me, your BBQ is in need of a very good clean and your furniture could do with a wash down/varnish – now’s the time to do it!
Keep on top of weeds by hoeing regularly in dry conditions. June 20th is the longest day of 2020, and the extra light and warmth encourages the garden to have a growth spurt.
Stake tall perennials to prevent wind damage to flower spikes. Train and tie in Sweet Peas to supports to encourage them to climb for a good display.
Once new plantings have established, you can start to sock new fish ponds with fish. Start stocking and feeding when the water is warm. Continue to remove blanketweed from ponds by twirling it around on a stick. Trim hedges frequently to allow wildlife to shelter and feed. Keep your birdbaths topped up.
Monday 1st June to Sunday 7th June is Garden Wildlife Week 2020! Follow us over on Facebook where we will be posting hints and tips for wildlife in the garden.
Don’t worry too much if your lawn begins to look a little faded and dry – it will soon recover when any summer showers occur and, if they don’t happen, grass will usually survive until the autumn rains anyway. Save any water for plants that need it more. Only new lawns need to be watered, as newly laid turf will shrink if allowed to dry out.
Move garden furniture and children’s outdoor toys (in our house it’s the dreaded trampoline that causes issues!) regularly to prevent the grass drying out underneath.
Don’t forget to feed your lawn with lawn food for a boost such as Scotts Miracle-Gro Lawn Feed (1kg).
To shop for lawn care products on our online shop, click here.
IN THE GREENHOUSE
Continue watering everything regularly this month. Greenhouse crops such as cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers will suffer very quickly if starved of liquid, and irregular watering of tomatoes will cause the fruits to split as they swell. Keep pinching out the side shoots and tops of tomato plants, to avoid too many branches.
As the summer temperatures rise, dampen down greenhouse floors and surfaces to keep humidity high and help deter red spider mite and mildew disease. You may also want to shade your greenhouse to keep them cool and prevent scorch.