Flaming June, and the flowers are at their dazzling best, the sun is out more often than not and the evenings are luxuriously long. What better place to be than out in your garden? Here are a few of the jobs you can be getting on with while you’re there:
- Target weeds, regularly hoeing bare soil on dry days and forking out perennials like ground elder as soon as you see them.
- Check moisture levels, digging down with a trowel to find out how damp the soil really is underneath – then water where necessary.
- Start mowing lawns at least once a week (when the weather is dry)
- Stake tall or floppy plants.
- Clip hedges to keep looking smart.
- Trim box hedges to keep them neat, keeping an eye out for signs of box blight or box tree caterpillar. If you see them, pick up a treatment from the garden centre and tackle the problem right away.
- Water and feed hanging baskets to keep them productive and full of flowers for as long as possible. Water whenever the compost is dry and add liquid feed to the water once a week.
- Tie in new growth of climbers like roses and clematis while it’s still young and pliable.
- Do the Chelsea chop cutting back herbaceous perennials like sedum, heleniums and rudbeckia by a third to a half to promote sturdier plants which don’t need staking and extra flowers, too.
- Dig up tulip bulbs to dry and store until you can plant them again in autumn.
- Encourage strong growth and a good flower display in your roses with pest/disease control and sprays
- Plant out summer bedding.
- Remove and destroy lily beetles as soon as you see them. They’re easy to recognise with their brilliant scarlet wing cases; they and their larvae munch voraciously on leaves, stripping plants within weeks.
- Sow squash in pots of compost and place on a warm sunny windowsill or in a greenhouse, then plant out in a sunny spot.
- Sow oriental salads such as pak choi, mizuna and Chinese cabbage as they’re less likely to bolt in mid to late summer.
- Thin apples so your trees aren’t exhausted by trying to bear too heavy a crop, removing the smallest from each cluster.
- Tie in cordon tomatoes as they grow, remembering to pinch out any sideshoots that appear in the junction between the leaves and the main stem too.
- Hoe between rows of crops to keep annual weeds at bay, chopping them off before they can get established and, worse, set seed.
- Put up pheromone traps to control codling and plum moths; hang the easy-to-use box, available from the garden centre, in the tree to capture males so that females lay fewer fertile eggs.
- Protect your strawberries from slugs by laying straw.
- Harvest lettuce, radish, other salads and early potatoes.
- Thin out rows of previously sown vegetables to allow them to reach their potential.
- Spread nets over soft fruit bushes.