Posts Tagged ‘flower garden’

August Gardening Advice

August 1st, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

August Gardening Advice

This is the month when burnt tones of yellow, red and orange set alight your flower borders. On the allotment, crops are being harvested daily as we do our best to deter gluts.

With the kids now on holiday, this is the perfect time for families to pack their suitcases and get away from it all, for a week or two. But while it’s good to take a break, leaving your plants unattended for several days, could have you returning home to withered flowers and thirsty crops. So, it’s important to maintain a regular water regime, and make plans if you are going away. Make use of drip irrigation systems, water butts and water retention gels. Methods that won’t put a strain on your water bills, or be affected by any looming hosepipe ban.

In the flower garden

Holiday

If you’re going away, ensure you make plans to keep your garden from drying out. Ask a neighbour to pop over once every few days to water and check on your garden. If you have pots and containers, group them all together under some shade, to make the job easier. Keep greenhouses ventilated, and if necessary, create shade to prevent certain plants from getting scorched.

Watering

A close up of a wooden water barrel or water butt, great for collecting water to reuse in the gardenWhether there’s a hosepipe ban in your area or not, using water sensibly is a good habit to get into. Make use of water butts, re-use old dish water, and water either early in the morning or at dusk, when the lower temperatures mean less water evaporation and little chance of scorching plant foliage.

Keeping your garden well-weeded also ensures the water goes to the plants that need it.

If you’re planting up containers and hanging baskets, add water retention gel to the soil. If you’re growing tomatoes, create a drip irrigation system.

Deadheading

Deadhead regularly to keep flowers blooming into autumn. Fresh blooms not only look good, but continue to feed bees, butterflies and hoverflies, which are essential to a garden’s wellbeing. Sweet peas will be keen to set seed, so it’s important to deadhead daily. Keep up with the water regime, and add a weekly plant feed.

Perennials

With heavy blooms and ever-growing stems, plants such as dahlias and gladioli will need staking. This extra support will not only prevent damage, but discourage ground pests from attacking low-lying plants.

Lavender

Stop lavender from becoming leggy by cutting into a compact shape, but don’t cut too far back as new flowers can’t grow on old wood. Use the cut flowers around the home. You could create lavender pouches to scent drawers or pillow cases, or use it in your baking.

Wisteria growing on the side of a manor houseWisteria

Ideally, you should prune wisteria twice a year. Once in late winter, and once in August. There’s been a lot of growth during the summer months, so cut these newly-formed long laterals back to the fifth set of leaves on each shoot, and tie-in where necessary. This restricts the growth, creates better ventilation, hardens the remaining summer growth, and encourages new flower buds for next year.

Hedges

Hedges can become unruly in summer, and now that the birds have fledged, it’s time to give them a prune. Whether you’re using shears or a hedge trimmer, think about how you want your hedge to look. Work from the bottom up in a smooth, controlled motion. Prune all sides and finish with the top. Wear protective clothing and use the correct height support if the hedge is high. Once completed, clear away all debris.

Pond

Remove any build-up of algae and weeds, placing it beside the pond overnight. This will give any captured wildlife the opportunity to return to the water. If you have water plants, now is the time to thin them. Clean the pumps and filters of any water features you may have. If you have fish, feed them regularly.

On the veg patch

Feed

You should be feeding your tomatoes weekly now to ensure a healthy, tasty crop, but tomato feed can also be used for cucumbers, aubergines, peppers, chillies and sweetcorn plants.

Fresh potatoes being dug up and harvested from the ground with a shovel

Potatoes

When the leaves on your main crop turn yellow and wither, it’s a sign your spuds are ready to be dug up. If you’re not going to eat them straight away, rest them on the topsoil for a few hours to dry the excess moisture, then place in hessian sacks. Ideally, the sacks should be stored somewhere with ventilation, where it’s cool, dark and pest-free. Check on them regularly to make sure none have spoilt.

Onions and shallots

With foliage bent over and turning yellow, onions and shallots are now ready for lifting. Once lifted, leave them on the surface of the soil for a few hours to dry in the sunshine. Then, shake off the excess soil from the roots, careful not to damage them, and place somewhere warm so they can dry out. After a week, or two, they should be ready for storing somewhere cool, dark and dry. Either tie them together and hang them up, or place them in onion bags. Both storage methods should prevent mould, but check regularly to make sure none have perished.

Beans

Whether it’s runner beans or French beans, the key is to pick them regularly. By doing so, you’re preventing them from setting seed. Ensure they are well watered, and that the base of the plant is well-mulched. Once the plant reaches the top of its staked cane, pinch out the top.

Pests and diseases

Cabbage white caterpillars on a brassica plant. Check your crops regularly, remove any eggs or pests you find and protect your brassicas with netting and collarsHeat, humidity, and occasional rainfall are the perfect conditions to encourage blight. Check both tomato and potato plants regularly. If you see any signs of the fungal infestation, remove plants altogether. If you catch it at an early stage with your potatoes, leave the tubers in the ground, as they may not be affected. Do not place infected plants on the compost heap. Instead, either burn immediately or remove from the site altogether. To reduce blight, encourage a crop rotation system, and try to use blight resistant varieties.

Cabbage White Butterflies will be eyeing up your brassicas to lay their eggs. Check your crops regularly, and remove any eggs or pests you find. Net your crops, use brassica collars when planting out, and introduce nematodes to control caterpillars.

Pick regularly

Courgettes, marrows and cucumbers will continue to produce so long as you pick regularly. Cut away excess foliage to help sunshine reach your crops and to prevent powdery mildew. Mildew can also be prevented by watering at the base of the plant rather than on the leaves.

Fruit

With gooseberries now harvested, it’s the perfect time to prune the plant. You want to create a ‘goblet’ shape to encourage as much ventilation as possible. Remove the inner branches of the plant, and reduce the rest of the plant to about six leaves per branch. This will encourage fresh shoots to grow.

Keep an eye on plum and apple trees that might be weighed down by fruit. If the tree appears to be stressed, support and tie-in where possible. If you’re growing grapes, ensure the growing vines are being tied-in regularly.

Summer raspberry canes should have now fruited. Cut back the fruit canes, and encourage fresh new canes by tying them onto a support.

SowA close up of a hand sowing beetroot seeds into the soil with the seeds on a plate. Sow beetroot in August for a late harvest.

Succession sow salad leaves and spring onions for a continuous crop, and beetroot, kohlrabi and pak choi can also be sown now for a late harvest.

Green manure

As your veg beds start to empty, consider sowing green manure if you’re not growing winter crops. Not only will it improve the quality of the soil, but it will help suppress weeds.

Other jobs

  • Although we’re at the height of summer, now’s the time to order your spring bulbs for autumn planting.
  • In hot spells water compost heaps and turnover.
  • If you’ve run your water butts dry, give them a clean, removing all dirt.
  • Towards the end of the month you may have to start closing greenhouse vents and doors in the evenings, as night-times can become cooler.

July Gardening Advice

July 1st, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

July Gardening Advice

Whether it’s a tasty barbeque, a quiet read under a shady tree or forty winks in your favourite deckchair – now’s the time to be outside enjoying our green spaces. Your months of digging, sowing and planting have paid off. Flowers are blooming and crops are growing.

But before you ease into summer’s lazy days and balmy nights, there’s still jobs to be done if you want your garden to remain at its best for the rest of the season. So, apply the sun cream, don the hat and get out into the garden. Afterall, those long days won’t be here forever.

In the flower garden

Deadheading

With balmy days ahead, and water in short supply, both perennials and bedding plants will be keen to set seed. Therefore, to keep them at their best, ensure you prune regularly. This will encourage new growth, and promote wonderful blooms throughout the rest of summer.

BloomsNutrients in pots, containers and hanging baskets will quickly deplete, so give plants a weekly feed

Now’s the time to introduce a plant feed. Nutrients in pots, containers and hanging baskets will quickly deplete, so give them a weekly feed.

Perennials, such as lupins, penstemons and delphiniums, will have already bloomed. Cut their flowered stems back to the base of the plant, and you could be rewarded with a second flourish later in the season.

Roses

By now, a lot of rose varieties will have spent their first blooms. Deadhead and feed to encourage a second bloom in the coming weeks. For the one-time season bloomers, you may want to refrain from deadheading. Allow their hips to develop, as this will make a welcome attraction in the autumn months.

Bearded Iris

Bearded Irises can now be lifted and divided. When re-planting, ensure the rhizome is sat on the soil, half exposed. The warm sun will quickly help to establish them, and ensure they flower next season. You should cut all foliage down by two thirds to ensure the energy is going into the rhizome and is not wasted.

Watering

Install water butts to save water in JulyWith water at a premium, if you haven’t done so already, install water butts. They come in array of shapes and sizes, so no matter how small the space there’s always an opportunity to save water. At this time of year, crops and plants are crying out for a good drink. However, try to carry out this task either first thing in the morning, or at dusk. With less sun, water evaporation isn’t an issue, keeping your beds and borders hydrated for longer. Also, try to water at the base of plants as water droplets on the foliage could potentially burn your plant, or encourage mildew and other diseases. Also, ensure all pots, containers and hanging baskets are watered regularly, due to rising temperatures they made need watering twice a day.

Lawns

This time of year, your lawn will be seeing a lot of action. If there’s a drought, your lawn will be looking worse for wear. Fear not though, the first rainfall will soon return it to its luscious green state. But, if there’s not a drought, mow the lawn, keeping blades higher, as this will retain moisture. Also, consider giving your grass a regular feed.

Greenhouse

Temperatures in greenhouses this time of year will be high. Introduce shading to your glass roof maybe the solution to preventing young plants from being scorched. Ensure there’s a steady airflow, by keeping all doors and vents open. Water the floor daily, not only to reduce temperature but deter red spider mite.

Pick courgettes regularly and the plant will continue to grow new produce

On the veg patch

Harvesting

Beetroot, chard, salad leaves, courgettes, beans and peas are ready to be harvested. By picking legumes and courgettes regularly, the plant will continue to grow new produce. Letting these crops grow past their best can encourage pests, or send a signal to the plant to stop growing altogether.

Tomatoes

Once your plants have four or five trusses, pinch out the top of the plant. This will send the plant’s energy into the fruit, and not the foliage. Feed regularly, and continue to pinch-out all side shoots. Don’t let plants dry-out, or water irregularly, as this can encourage blossom end rot. Finally, remove any leaves beneath the first truss of tomatoes, as this will help circulation and prevent the build-up of pests and diseases.

Potatoes

Second earlies should now be ready for the dinner plate. If you’re not sure, wait until the plants have flowered, then have a little dig around in the soil to find your spuds. If they’re ready, it won’t take long for you to uncover them.

Dig up what you need, and leave the rest of the tubers to grow on, ensuring your continue to water weekly. Or if you’re hoping to use the potato plot to grow a new crop, dig them all up. Try to do it on a sunny day, and place your freshly dug potatoes on the plot surface for a few hours to dry a little. Store them in hessian sacks and keep in a cool, dark room. Check them every so often to make sure they haven’t spoilt.

If you’re dreaming of eating freshly-grown spuds on Christmas day, now is the time to plant them. If you’re not using potato grow bags, consider large containers. As the cold weather returns and the temperatures drop, you’ll need to move them somewhere where the frost can’t get to them.

Choose a sunny day to pull garlic and onions and lay them out on the topsoil to dryGarlic and onions

Both crops should now be ready to be pulled. Ideally, choose a sunny day, and lay them out on the topsoil to dry. Failing that, dry them in your greenhouse or polytunnel. Once dried, they can be stored and used when you’re ready.

Pests and diseases

Powdery mildew can affect pumpkins, squashes and courgettes. First sign of this on your plants, remove infected leaves. Do not place on your compost heap, as this will encourage the bacteria. Either burn, or remove from site completely.

Weevils, blackfly, greenfly, aphids, slugs and snails will be thriving at this time of year. If chemicals aren’t an option for you, try hosing them off your plants, or spray with soapy water. Another option is to crush a clove or two of garlic and add it to the water in your spritzer bottle, as garlic deters pests. A morning or evening stroll around your plot is the perfect time for picking off slugs and snails.

Winter veg

If you’re hoping for a harvest of winter veg, then you should be thinking about planting out your autumn veg. Vegetables to consider are brassicas, leeks and swede.

Fruit

Hungry birds will make light work of strawberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants or blackberries, so net your fruit.

July is for pruning fruit trees, such as plum and cherryStrawberry plants will be producing runners, so if you want new plants for next year, pin the runners to the soil. Once they establish a root system, cut the runner from the main plant. Alternatively, if you want to maximise this year’s crop, remove the runners to divert the energy to the existing fruit.

This is also the month for pruning fruit trees, such as plum and cherry. The warmer weather reduces the risk of bacteria harming an open wound on a cherry tree, and setting off silver leaf disease. Summer pruning can also be carried out on trained apple and pear trees.

Other jobs

  • If you have a pond with fish, ensure water levels don’t drop. Remove any blanket weed as this can suffocate ponds.
  • Turn your compost bins as the aeration will open air pockets and drain away excess water, speeding up the decomposition process.
  • Check plants daily for the onset of pests. Ensure plants haven’t dried out, and if need be, move to a cooler spot.
  • Taking time to sit and enjoy your plants may also be the ideal opportunity to order autumn flower and seed catalogues.

Rainbow columbines

June 21st, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Multicoloured Aquilegia

If you’re from my generation, you were probably taught Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain. Younger readers may know Really Offensive Youtube Games Built Into Videos. It’s the colours of the rainbow, and why is this of interest here today? Because columbines (aquilegias) are one of the few plants whose flowers come in all the rainbow colours: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.

OK, you’re right, we don’t often come across orange columbines, the green is more of a green-tinted white and the options down at the violet end are a little thin. But the compensation is that so many of the flowers are bicolours, the outer petals in one colour and the inner petals in another. There are also some unexpected intermediate shades including chocolate brown.

And why are we talking about this as the flowers are starting to go over? Because it’s seed sowing time. In fact we’re getting towards the end of the optimal sowing period for flowering late next spring and early next summer. So let’s get to it.

All aquilegias are grown from seed, but they can be divided into two types according to how we go about it: there are those with a lot of seeds in a packet, such as ‘McKana Giant Mixed’ with 150 or those with fewer seeds in a packet such as ‘Lime Sorbet’ with 25.

We can sow those with plenty of seeds in a row outside in the garden, thin them out and transplant them to their final flowering sites in the autumn. Those with fewer seeds are better sown in pots and pricked out individually into 7cm or 9cm pots for autumn planting.

Me? I raise them all in pots, partly because at this time of year there’s hardly a bare piece of soil in the garden in which to sow them and also because I probably only want three plants of one variety and it’s just easier. Either way, if you haven’t got your columbine seeds in – get a move on.

June Gardening Advice

June 3rd, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

June Gardening Advice

Summer has barely begun, yet already garden borders are filing with colour, and allotment beds are beginning to swell with growing vegetables.

With a warming soil, you can now sow directly into the ground. Any remaining plants can go outside into their final growing position, without the risk of a late frost. You may need to thin out newly-established plants to give everything an opportunity to grow.

So, whatever you get up to this month, there really is no excuse to enjoy those longer days, and warmer nights. So, get outside and grow!

In the flower garden

Sow

With the frost now a fading memory, you can sow directly outside. If it’s colour and blooms you want, consider direct sowing sweet william, coreopsis or sunflowers. Ensure the soil has a fine tilth, sow where you want your flowers to grow, and water.

Summer bedding

Time to get the last of your summer bedding out of cold frames and greenhouses. Harden off, and plant up into their final growing positions. If garden borders aren’t an option, try using containers, troughs or hanging baskets. A basket of trailing blooms suspended beside a front door gives a warm welcome to any visitor. But with balmy days ahead, try planting up with water retention gel, and ensure a regular watering and feeding regime throughout summer. Irregular watering may cause certain plants to bolt, or dry-out and die.

Staking

Perennial and lily plants will have taken on a lot of growth and height, so now’s the time to stake them. Not only will this prevent wind damage, it’ll ensure you see the full benefit of those newly forming blooms.

Sweet peas
Ensure you pick your sweet pea flowers daily, and remove any that are going to seed

By now, these flowers will be looking their best, producing blooms daily. To prevent them from going to seed, ensure you pick flowers daily, and remove any that are going to seed.

Roses

Some roses will now be looking past their best, so consider deadheading. Not only will this keep your rose bush looking fresh, it will encourage new blooms. Ensure all weeds are removed from the base of the plant, add a slow release fertiliser and water in well.

June gaps

Most spring flowers will have come and gone, leaving you with gaps in your borders. If you’re in need of a splash of colour, consider dahlias. There’s no end to the choice of colour, shape and size available. Or if it’s height you’re after, nothing says ‘summer’ better than a vibrant sunflower. Whether you want tall, small, yellow or orange, there are now so many varieties to choose from.

Lawns

With warmer days and brighter evenings, the garden centrepiece at this time of year will be your lawn. Keep it looking good by mowing at least once a week, and trim the edges. You may want to consider raising your lawnmower blades to decrease the stress on your grass. It’s also good to apply a lawn feed. When those hotter spells do arrive, either water first thing in the morning, or later in the evening when temperatures aren’t so high. There’s less water loss due to evaporation, and lawns won’t be scorched by the searing sun.

Cuttings

This is the perfect month to take softwood cuttings from garden favourites, such as lavender, forsythia and fuchsia. Take 10cm cuttings from the tips of your chosen shrub, making a sharp horizontal cut just below a pair of leaves, and remove any lower set of leaves or buds. Fill a small pot with gritted compost, and push the cuttings in, parallel to the side of the pot. Space cuttings equally, water and place in a greenhouse or on a warm windowsill.

Second flourish

Delphiniums, lupins and ornamental poppies make a lovely addition to any garden, but their blooms can fade all too quickly. Once flowered, cut away the fading stem. Not only will this make the plant look tidier and bushier, it will encourage a second bloom later in the season.

Look our for pests like lily beetle, vine weevil and aphids in the garden in JuneMaintenance

Pests and diseases will be at their worst, so keep a lookout and remove all culprits. Red mite may start appearing in greenhouses, so it’s a good idea to dampen down the paths each day, and keep doors and windows open for plenty of ventilation. Introducing shading to your greenhouse will ensure plants don’t burnout on particularly hot days. Other culprits to watch-out for in the garden, are lily beetle, vine weevil and aphids.

Autumn planting

It’s hard to fathom, but in a few months, autumn will be knocking at our door, so now is a good time to get some of those autumn plants germinating. From pansies to polyanthus, sow seeds onto a tray of fine compost, water and cover lightly. Then place in your greenhouse. Check them regularly to ensure germination, and don’t let them dry-out.

On the veg patch

June drop

Fruit trees holding heavy crops of fruit will drop a certain amount in June. This improves sunlight, air circulation, reduces the spread of pests, prevents heavy branches snapping, and it means the remaining fruit get all the nutrients they need to grow and ripen. The ‘June Drop’ occurs in apples, pears, plums and peaches. So, if you come across scattered fruit below your tree, fear not, it’s Mother Nature’s way of giving your fruit tree a helping hand.

Strawberries

As you start enjoying this season’s harvest, think about producing additional plants by propagating the runners off this year’s plants. Or, to retain the plant’s energy for next year’s fruit, cut plants down to 5cm. This will encourage new growth and help prevent grey mould. Also, give the plants a feed with a general fertiliser.

With flowers on the plant, it’s time to start giving your tomatoes a twice-weekly potash feed to encourage the fruit to swell.Tomatoes

Whether you’re growing cordon or bush varieties, pinch-out side shoots, and ensure your plants are secure, and cordon tomatoes are tied in. With flowers on the plant, it’s time to start giving your tomatoes a twice-weekly potash feed to encourage the fruit to swell. This also applies to peppers, aubergine, and chilli plants.

Harvest

Crops you planted back in early spring may now be ready for harvesting. Peas, runner beans, broad beans, chard, potatoes and salad, should all be ready to go. If you notice your onions or garlic foliage is dying back, then these are also ready to harvest. Once lifted, leave them out on the bed to dry, preferably on a sunny day.

Plant

Greenhouse grown squashes, pumpkins and sweetcorn will now be ready to go out onto the plot. Give these crops plenty of space to grow, and ensure the soil is rich and moist. Once planted, give a heavy mulch to help retain moisture. These are greedy crops so they will require regular watering.

When planting out sweetcorn, arrange the plants in a fairly tight grid formation, as this will encourage the pollination of all plants.

Maintenance

June is a a good time to turn your compost heapsNow’s a good time to turn your compost heaps. The warmer weather will help the process of breaking down matter.

Weeds will be thriving, so maintain beds and remove with a hoe, ideally on a warm day, when the soil isn’t as moist, as weeds can easily be removed.

Some vegetables, such as brassicas, will need netting to prevent birds attacking them, and to stop the white butterfly from laying their eggs.

Carrots are often affected by Carrot Fly, so create a fleece or mesh barrier at least 50cm high. This pest can only fly so high, so a netted barrier will prevent them from attacking your young carrots.

Another method of discouraging pests is companion planting. Plants such as marigolds, should be planted around tomato plants as their smell discourages pests.

Other jobs

  • Blanket weed should be removed from ponds, to help both fish and plants breathe. Try to do this at the end of the day, when temperatures are cooler. Also, leave any removed foliage at the side of the pond overnight. This will give any caught animals and insects a chance to return to the water. Check water plants for pests and remove. Pond fish may need feeding.
  • With increased light levels, you could consider setting up a herb tray on a windowsill. Herbs such as basil, and coriander are worth considering, and make a wonderful addition to any meal.
  • If you have lavender flowering in the garden, then why not take cuttings and bring indoors. Simply bunch together, tie and suspend somewhere where you can enjoy its fragrance. Or, consider drying it out to create lavender sachets for your drawers and pillows.

May Gardening Advice

May 1st, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

Mr Fothergill's May Gardening Advice 2019

This is the month of the Chelsea Flower Show, where we see gardens and gardeners come together and celebrate the horticulture industry. For over one hundred years, it has showcased new and exciting plants, designs and pioneering growing techniques. Whether you’re looking for something for the garden, something for the allotment or something that will make your green fingers twitch, you’ll find it at this glorious event.

May is also the time for the ‘Chelsea Chop’, when we can take our perennials (such as Phlox, Sedums and Heleniums), and prune, or reduce them by 50%. This helps create a bushier plant with more blooms. Also, if you have a border of perennials which you want to flower simultaneously, then the Chelsea Chop is often the answer as it can help delay flowering.

With the ground warming up, we can begin thinking about both sowing and planting out directly into the soil. The plants you’ve been nurturing in the greenhouse can be hardened-off and planted into their final growing positions. Seed-grown vegetables can be brought out from the polytunnel, planted into their final positions, and then protected with either fleece or netting. But May can be a fickle month. Your garden can be basking in sunshine one moment, and drenched in a heavy downpour the next. So, keep your eye on the weather forecast, keep horticultural fleece handy, and be prepared to act if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

May is a great month to be a gardener. So, enjoy the warmer days, lighter evenings, and get out there and create something special.

In the flower garden

Spring bulbs

Now that they’ve flowered and the foliage has died back, this is the time to lift and divide your spring bulbs. Before your summer plants dominate the flowerbeds, think about where you want to see your spring bulbs to appear next year, and get them into the ground.

Summer bedding

Give your plants regular water and liquid feed to encourage large, long-lasting bloomsWith the chance of frost now waning, towards the end of the month you should think about getting your summer bedding plants into the ground, hanging baskets, pots or containers. Once planted, ensure you give them a regular water and a regular liquid feed to encourage large, long-lasting blooms. If you’re using containers, or hanging baskets, consider planting them up with water-retaining granules. If you already have established plant pots, then give them a top dressing, or re-pot with fresh compost and soil.

Dahlias

The dahlia tubers potted on back in early spring should now be producing sufficient foliage for them to be hardened off, and planted into their final growing positions. If you’ve just bought tubers, the ground should be warm enough for them to be directly planted into the soil. Remember, plants are now growing quickly, so highlight where you planted them with a label or bamboo cane.

Lawn

Grass will be thriving, so mow your lawn weekly. Also, trim edging and remove any weeds. If you do decide to use chemicals, always consider who uses the lawn, and where the liquid runs off to. You wouldn’t want to damage a flower bed, and you definitely wouldn’t want to harm a family member or pet.

Pests

Pests, such as the lily beetle and greenfly, will be making an appearance. Check all plant foliage regularly, and dispose of any unwanted visitors. A good time to spot slugs and snails is first thing in the morning, around dusk, or after any rainfall.

Maintenance

The garden is putting on growth daily. However, with the risk of a late frost, it’s good to keep horticultural fleece handy. For your climbers, such as sweet peas, roses and perennials, ensure they are staked and tied into a support. You wouldn’t want all your months of hard work to be damaged by As temperatures continue to rise, be sure to get into a regular watering regime with all plantsa single bout of bad weather. Keep an eye out for blackspot on roses. Remove any affected foliage from sight, or treat with a fungicide.

Weeds will be competing with your plants for both water and nutrients. Remove immediately, or they could strangle and starve your plants.

Over the next few months, temperatures will continue to rise, so get into a regular watering regime with all plants, especially ones grown in pots, containers and hanging baskets. A regular liquid feed is also advisable.

On the veg patch

Fruit

Strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries and currants will now be developing fruit. Water regularly, and keep free of weeds. Check plants regularly for pests, such as sawfly and aphids, dispose of them and net plants. If you’ve been growing strawberries on open plots, or raised beds, then place dry straw around the plants to protect fruit from rotting, and help suppress weeds. Ensure you water at the base of the plant only, not overhead, as this will encourage mildew.

Continue to pick rhubarb, but take no more than half from the plant. Ensure you hold the stem at the base, then pull it away from the plant. Otherwise, you could damage the crown.

Broad beans

Stake broad beans with canes and lengths of string, as this will take the weight of developing pods, and prevent wind damage. Keep an eye out for blackfly, and spray any affected plants with diluted soapy water, or remove by hand. Once pods start growing upwards from the lower part of the plant, pinch out the growing tips at the top. Not only will this help reduce blackfly, it will encourage healthy pods.

Planting out

Ensure brassicas, french beans and runner beans are planted in well, watered and mulchedChances are, you’ve grown vegetables from seed earlier this year. By now, they’ve hopefully grown into strong plants and are ready to go out. Brassicas, French beans and runner beans can be planted out. Ensure they are planted in well, watered and mulched. As the temperature rises, they will need all the moisture they can get. If cabbage root fly is a problem on your plot, think about fitting your brassicas with collars at the base of the plant. This will prevent the flies laying eggs, which will hatch into hungry larvae.

Depending where you are in the country, pumpkins, squashes and courgettes may need to be delayed until warmer temperatures. Otherwise, plant out into rich soil, or compost. These are hungry plants, and will need plenty of watering, and nutrients for them to help set fruit.

Sowing

In some parts of the country, the soil will be warm enough for direct sowing. As well as beetroot, peas and carrots, sow successional lettuce, spinach and radishes. As these seedlings develop, thin out accordingly, water well, and keep weed free.

Greenhouse

With all the seedlings you have growing in the greenhouse, remember to prick out and pot on. If you don’t, they will be starved of nutrients, or grow too big for their plug/tray and die. However, there will be plants that are ready to be taken out. Some may need hardening off, but they will be ready for their final growing positions.

Keep on top of your greenhouse this monthAs space becomes available in both the greenhouse and polytunnel, think about potting up your summer greenhouse plants, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, chillies, and melons. Place these into their final greenhouse positions, and establish a regular water and feeding regime. As these plants develop, they will need staking.

With temperatures rising, consider providing shade in your greenhouse, to prevent plants being scorched. On warm days, damp down the floor to increase humidity and help prevent red spider mite. If your structure has vents, use them.

Other jobs

If temperatures are rising outside, they’ll also be rising inside, so consider the best place for your indoor plants. A south-facing window may be too harsh for some plants, so consider moving them to a shadier spot.

Remove duckweed from ponds. Lay debris to side of pond overnight. Giving a chance for any caught wildlife to return to the water. Next day, remove waste from site.

Some plants will need extra watering and feeding to cope with the warmer conditions, and some plants will need less, so consider their needs and avoid stressing them.

If you have a tropical plant, make sure you give it a daily misting. Dust plant foliage regularly, and check for infections and pests.