Posts Tagged ‘flower garden’

October Gardening Advice

October 1st, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

Mr Fothergill's October Gardening Advice 2019

If you listen quietly to your pumpkin patch, you’ll hear the growing whispers of ripening pumpkins, eager to take centre stage on Halloween night. There’s a chill in the air. As nights draw in, and temperatures drop, we need to prepare our gardens and allotments for the cold months ahead. Whether it’s making warming soups from homegrown produce, or planting bulbs for the spring season ahead, this is a busy time. But it’s also a glorious time, as autumn’s palette is awash with rich golds, reds and oranges.

So, raise a cup of homemade soup, and celebrate the harvest season.

In the flower garden

Bedding

It’s fair to say that summer bedding plants have had their moment in the sun. Remove them from your pots, containers or borders and replace with polyanthus and pansies. Give them fresh multi-purpose compose and water in well. However, if you’re leaving your borders bare, then clear the area of weeds, cutback and remove any unwanted debris and mulch the area with a thick bedding of well-rotted manure, compost or bark chippings. This will not only suppress weeds, but add nutrients to your beds.

Hardy annuals

If you’re looking ahead to next spring, then now’s the time to sow hardy annuals. Cosmos, marigolds or cornflowers can either be sown directly into the soil or into seed trays with sieved seed compost. Place in water-filled tubs, and let the trays soak the water up, as watering overhead will disrupt the soil, and spoil the seed. Place carefully in a warmed greenhouse, and keep an eye on them throughout winter. You can also sow sweet peas in pots, and let them grow on in the greenhouse.

Tender plants Protect tender plants with fleece in the winter months

As temperatures begin to drop, you need to bring think about winter protection for your tender plants. Cannas are not made for colder weather, so find a spot in your greenhouse or shed, where it’s light and frost-free. Cut away dead flowers or leaves to help prevent rot. For further protection, wrap them in fleece. Check plants regularly.

Bulbs

Now’s the time to plant tulip, daffodil and crocus bulbs. Whether they’re going into pots, containers or the ground, the golden rule is plant them to the depth of three times their height. Ensure the soil is well drained, as sitting in water over winter will increase their chances of rotting, so consider adding grit for drainage.

If you’re planting in pots, you may want to think about using the ‘lasagne’ method. This is when you take different flower types and layer them one above the other. For example, first to flower would be snowdrops, so they would sit at the top of your ‘lasagne’. The next layer would be crocuses, and so on, until finally, tulips. It’s a great way to get the most from one pot or container, giving you continuous colour throughout the spring.

Dahlias

Unless you live in the south of the UK where winter temperatures are more forgiving, now’s the time to lift your dahlias as a harsh frost could put an end to any further blooms. Once lifted, foliage should be cut back to a few cms above the tuber, turned upside down and left to drain for a few days. Once dried, these can be placed somewhere cool, dark and frost free. Ideally, place them in paper, or straw, in a box, and check on them every so often to make sure they haven’t rotted.

Roses

Once your rambling and climbing roses have finished flowering, give them a prune. Then tie them in, to prevent any damage over the coming winter months. Remove all foliage from site, if your rose has had black spot, then it can fester in any foliage not collected, and re-appear next year.

Fallen leaves

A garden rake and a pile of fallen autumn leaves on a lawnAs the leaves begin to fall, it’s important you keep on top of them and rake them clear from your lawn. Any build-up can harbour pests, stop light getting to your lawn, and create a ‘browning off’ effect. It’s especially important to keep paths and patios leaf-free as with a layer of frost, it can be easy to slip and hurt yourself. If you’re not adding leaves to your compost heap, think about creating a wired pen. Leave them to rot down for six to twelve months and you’ll have free leaf mould which is great for mulching plants. If space is an issue, use bin liners which can be tucked away in small spaces. Make sure you create several small holes in the bags, however, or your leaves will quickly become a bag of badly-smelling slush.

Perennials

Leaving perennials untouched over winter not only adds structure to your garden, but it gives a well needed food supply to your garden wildlife. If you decide to cutback, then take it to the base of the plant. If they’re summer flowering perennials, consider dividing and re-planting, to increase next year’s summer blooms. Plant in well, water and give the plant a heavy mulch to protect it from the colder weather. Don’t cover the stems as this will cause the plant to rot.

On the veg patch

Pumpkins

Pumpkins and squashes should now be lifted. To ensure they last throughout the winter months, leave them in the sun for several days to harden their skins. After that, place somewhere cool.

Apples and Pears

This will be the final opportunity to harvest the last of your tree fruit, such as apples and pears. What isn’t going to be used straight away, can be stored. Ideally use slatted shelves or boxes, and place the fruit carefully on them. Check that each fruit is not bruised or damaged, and try not to let it rest on another fruit. Place in a frost-free, dark, but well-ventilated cool room. Check regularly, and remove any fruit that has spoiled.

Rhubarb

Now’s the time to lift and divide rhubarb crowns. Using a sharp spade, divide the crown, ensuring each section contains at least one growing point. Re-plant in well drained, fertile soil, ensuring each crown is well spaced.

Beans

With your bean plants spent, don’t be too keen to remove them from your bed. Instead, cut the plant to the base and remove the foliage. The roots produce nitrogen as they breakdown which will invigorate your bed for next season.

If you have a veg bed already ear-marked for next year’s beans, dig a trench. Over the coming months, layer it with kitchen waste or manure.

Garlic

A gloves hand planting garlic bulbs into some soilGarlic needs a good cold period to help develop its cloves. Don’t be tempted to use bulbs from a supermarket as they may harbour disease. Instead, buy them from a garden centre or online supplier.

In well-drained, fertile soil, place the individual cloves at 20cm apart, in rows 30cms apart. The cloves tips should be all you see of the garlic. You may want to cover over with either a fleece or netting, to stop birds from pulling them up.

Herbs

Herbs, such as basil, parsley and coriander are not frost hardy. Therefore, pot them up and bring them inside, keeping them on a well-lit windowsill.

Greenhouse

If you’re hoping to use your greenhouse over the colder months, but an electric heater is not an option, then consider insulating it with bubble wrap. As the days get colder, make sure doors and vents are kept closed and any damaged panels are quickly repaired.

Soil

If you’re leaving vegetable beds empty over winter, turn the soil. This will not only get air into the soil, but will expose hiding pests. You can also add a thick layer of well-rotted manure, or compost. Over winter, the worms and weather will help break it down, and integrate it into your bed.

Other Jobs

A selection of carved Halloween pumpkins on a table

  • If you’ve had houseplants outside, now’s the time to bring them back inside. Ideally, let them slowly acclimatise to the indoor heat, otherwise, the shock may damage them. Keep them away from direct heat sources, and place them in a draught free area which is cool but with good light.
  • Give nature a helping hand. Fill your bird feeders and hang fat balls. With cold days ahead, your garden birds will need all the help they can get.
  • If you have a pond, place a ball on the surface. This will keep the water moving, prevent ice forming and ensure any fish can still get oxygen.
  • As this is the month of Halloween, it’s time to carve your pumpkins! This is a great opportunity to get children involved with the allotment or growing patch. Not only will they have seen the pumpkin grow from seed, but they’ll get to harvest and enjoy it. Make sure you don’t waste the flesh; pumpkins make tasty autumn soups and risottos!

Mr Fothergill’s Announces RHS Range Extension

September 3rd, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

RHS Mr Fothergill's Flowers for Cutting Seed CollectionRHS Mr Fothergill's Vegetables for Easy Growing Seed Collection

Following the success of the RHS Award of Garden Merit flower and vegetable ranges, leading seeds and plants supplier Mr Fothergill’s has added a seed collection range to its selection of seed products for gardeners, again in partnership with the experts at the Royal Horticultural Society.

The RHS believes it’s possible for everybody to enjoy growing flowers and vegetables from seed and get great results, whatever space or experience they have. And, with themes including ‘Flowers for Cutting’ and ‘Vegetables for Easy Growing’, there’s something in this range for every gardener.

There are 8 vegetable collections and 8 flower collections, each pack contains 6 specially chosen varieties. For instance, Flowers for Drought-Resistance were selected to thrive in dry and hot conditions, where Vegetables for Heirloom crops have reputation for being reliable and rewarding for generations.

RHS Mr Fothergill's Flowers for Drought-Resistance Seed CollectionRHS Mr Fothergill's Vegetables for Heirloom Crops Seed Collection

Ian Cross, retail marketing manager at Mr Fothergill’s, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer this new range of collections. Working with the team at the RHS we have created 16 inspiring themes to appeal to all gardening tastes’.

Examples include ‘Vegetable Superfoods’, ‘Vegetables for a Vertical Garden’ and ‘Flowers for Hanging Baskets’.

Each collection packet has a RRP of £4.99. Visit your local garden centre, head over to www.mr-forthergills.co.uk to shop or request your copy of the Mr Fothergill’s latest seed catalogue.

September Gardening Advice

September 2nd, 2019 | News | 0 Comments

Mr Fothergill's September Gardening Advice

There’s no doubt about it, September is summer’s swan song. Despite the pleasant temperatures, the days are getting shorter, bringing with them cooler, longer nights.

From rich, burnt oranges to fiery reds, September’s flowerbeds are full of vibrant blooms. Whilst on allotments, gardeners are enjoying bountiful harvests of beans, carrots and potatoes. And if you look beyond the foliage, Halloween pumpkins are making their growing presence felt, ready to take their turn in the spotlight.

So, whilst the sun is here, take the time to get outside and enjoy it. Because in a month’s time, as you dig out those heavy jumpers, the warm embrace of summer will be but a distant memory.

In the Flower Garden

Perennials

If perennials are past their best, dig them up, divide and re-plant. Not only are you invigorating the clump, but you’ll get more flowers next season. Ensure these plants are watered-in and mulched. For plants, such as dahlias, continue to deadhead and tie-in.

A close up focusing on some white and light pink fuschia flowers with green leavesAnother way to increase plant stock is to take cuttings. Tender perennials, such as penstemons, salvias and fuchsias are ideal for this. Once potted up, they’ll quickly establish a healthy root system. Ensure they’re placed in a sunny, frost-free protected area. Overwatering, or keeping them somewhere damp may lead to dampening off, so check on your cuttings regularly.

Of course, you can buy new perennials and plant them. As the ground’s still warm, they’ll have time to establish themselves before temperatures drop. Then, with the arrival of spring, they’ll emerge healthy and ready to grow.

Borders

Although summer is still hanging on, it’s time to look ahead to next spring. Give your borders a refresh and clear away fading summer bedding. If you’re not planting autumn flowers, such as chrysanthemums, clear weeds, add compost, and think about what to plant for the following spring. Biennial varieties such as wallflowers, foxgloves, as well as polyanthus, pansies and sweet williams can be planted.

Bulbs

Although it’s still too early to plant tulip and allium bulbs, amaryllis and hyacinth bulbs can be planted. By forcing their growth, you could be enjoying their colourful, scented blooms throughout the festive season.

If you’re thinking ahead to spring, daffodil, crocuses, bluebells and lily bulbs can be planted. Plant them straight into the ground, at a depth of three times their height, or pot them up in containers.

Hanging baskets

To keep your hanging baskets looking at their best for as long as possible, ensure you feed and water regularly. Deadheading is also essential. But there will come a time when plants will have given their all, so think about what to replace. Whether it’s polyanthus or pansies, bring colour to your autumn, by freshening the soil and re-potting your hanging baskets.

Pots

Two homemade 'pot feet' in the shapes of bears holding up a terracotta plant pot, raising it off the ground to help it drain waterIf you have pots that sit outside, it’s time to raise them off the ground. Using bricks or ‘pot feet’ protects your plants by keeping them off the ground to allow the rain to drain off easily. This will also help prevent winter frosts from cracking your pots.

You may want to plant up your pots for the autumn season. Consider heather, cyclemen and trailing ivy. Place them where they can be seen, as you’ll want to see as much life as possible in your garden over the wintry months.

Greenhouse

With greenhouse plants spent, now’s the time to give it a thorough clean. This also applies to your permanent cold frames. Dispose of old plants, and remove all pots and containers as they can be protecting pests. Ensure all glass is cleaned with warm soapy water. Also, clean the greenhouse floor, as potential pests and diseases could still be lurking. If you’re planning to grow anything in the next few months, then your greenhouse will need as much light and warmth as possible. Pack away any shading you put up during the summer months. Carry out any maintenance needed, clean leaves from guttering (including downpipes and water butts), and test greenhouse heaters.

Sowing

Seeds such as sweet peas, centaurea and poppies can now be sown into trays or modules. Don’t let them dry-out, and as temperatures start to drop, ensure preparations are made to see them through the colder months.

Lawn

After a dry summer, and constant use, lawns will now need your attention. Over the coming weeks, grass slows its growth, so you’ll be mowing less frequently. Re-lay any bare patches with new turf, or re-sow seeds directly into the soil. Scarify, aerate and apply a dressing to the lawn. Keep edging in check, and remove any fallen foliage, as this can encourage thatching.

On the Veg Patch

Harvest

A close up of two pumkpins ready to be harvested on an allotment patchSquashes and pumpkins will be plumping and colouring. Once their vines are cracked and withered, you can harvest them. Leave them somewhere dry and bright for a few days so their skins can harden off. Stored correctly, these could last well into next spring.

Lift any remaining onions now before the weather turns for the worse. Once lifted, shake off any loose soil and leave them to dry for a week or two. Either somewhere dry and bright outside, or in a greenhouse. These then can be hung and stored to use when you’re ready.

Fruit

Apples and pears are ready to be picked. If you’re planning to store them, ensure none are spoilt and place apart on dry sand in a paper-lined box.  Store them somewhere, dark and cool, and check every so often to make sure none have spoilt.

Autumn raspberries, on the other-hand, will keep producing right up until the first frost, but the key is to keep picking.

If you’re hoping to grow more strawberries next year, then now’s the time to plant. Whether they’re newly bought plants, or runners from your own plants, get them in the ground. With the ground still warm, and the temperatures mild, this will give them enough time to get established.

Winter vegetables

This month consider planting over-wintering onion sets. Spinach, pak choi and radishes can be directly sown into the ground. Keep a cloche close, as night temperatures will be on the decline.

Tomatoes

By now, your tomato plants will have done their job. With all tomatoes picked, remove and dispose of the spent plants. Place any remaining green tomatoes in a paper-lined shoebox with a ripened banana, and keep somewhere warm. Check regularly, and once reddened, remove. Failing that, green tomatoes make excellent chutney.

Once you’ve cleaned your greenhouse, consider sowing a crop of hardy lettuce or spinach for the colder months.

Green manure growing in a bedGreen manure

If you’re not planning to grow anything over winter, then consider growing green manure in your empty beds. Not only will this help suppress weeds, it can help break up heavy soil. Come March, cut it up and dig into the soil, as this will provide many of the soil’s required nutrients.

Pests

Keep vigilant this month, your harvest-ready vegetables and ripening fruit will be a calling card for various pests. One culprit is the wasp. It won’t take him long to damage and spoil your crop. Hang wasp traps in your trees and bushes.

However, as wasps are also beneficial for your garden (they eat aphids, caterpillars and other pests as well as being good pollinators), you may want to consider a more humane way to deter them. One option is to cover your crops with fine netting or mesh.

Other jobs

Bring in any indoor plants you rested outside over the summer months.

Net ponds to prevent autumn leaves and debris clogging them up.

Reduce the frequency of watering your houseplants.

If you haven’t done so already, order your allium and tulip bulbs for next spring.

While flowers such as dahlias are still blooming, take cut flowers for the home.

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.