23rd July 2021
Summer is finally here and there's lots to do to get your garden looking colourful for the warmer months ahead. Veg and fruit are also developing well and you can enjoy the first harvests of many crops.
In dry spells, make sure you thoroughly water anything that’s been planted in the past couple of months as it will still be growing roots into the surrounding soil. A good drench is better than a regular light sprinkling. Patio pots and hanging baskets will need watering at least once a day, more in hot weather.
Now the garden is full of growth and the lawn is being cut regularly, there will be plenty of material available for composting.
Kill weeds by cutting through them with a hoe, but wait for a dry day to do it so that they dry out and die quickly. It’s worth doing even on soil that seems to be weed free as it will help to disturb any tiny weed seedlings.
The warmer weather should see grass growing strongly.
Keep box, hornbeam, leylandii and beech hedges looking neat by trimming the new growth with hedge shears or a hedge trimmer.
will be ready to dig up in late June. Wait until the leaves start to turn yellow and then feel under the ground to check how large the tubers are, then lift your early potatoes as and when you need them. Don’t be in too much of a rush, as you’ll get bigger tubers the longer you wait. Second-early potato varieties will follow in July and maincrop varieties can stay in the ground until September to have time to get big.
The natural June drop will see many small fruitlets fall from your trees, but for the best-size fruits it's worth checking to see if you need to thin more of them (remove excess fruit).
Thin apples to one fruit per cluster: for dessert apple varieties, thin to 10-15cm between clusters; and for cooking varieties, thin to 15-23cm between clusters.
Tomatoes are growing strongly and plants grown as cordons on one stem will need to have the side-shoots (which grow between the main stem and the leaf) removed regularly to channel the plant’s energy into flowering and making fruit. Once you see the first truss of fruit forming, it's time to start feeding too.
Keep your veg garden productive with new veg to crop later on – sow carrots to follow early lettuce, kale to follow early beetroot and swedes to follow pea shoots. You don’t have to wait until the early crops are gone as you can plant or sow in the gaps between their rows.
You need to prune several soft fruits now to ensure you get bumper crops.
Gooseberries For plants grown as bushes, cut back the current season's growth to five leaves, except for branches needed to enlarge the plant. For plants grown as cordons, cut all side-shoots back to five leaves, and once your plant has reached the top of the support, cut back the tip to five leaves from last year's growth.Red and white currants Once cordon plants are at the desired height, cut the growing tip and the shoots from the main stem to one bud of new growth.
If you haven’t done so already, move patio pots and baskets outdoors. Most plants enjoy a sunny position, although begonia, impatiens and fuchsias don’t mind some shade. Water them once a day or more often during hot weather.
June is traditionally the month when roses are at their peak.
Snap off just below the head - this is thought to make new blooms appear more quickly than the classic method of cutting just above a leaf.
Biennials, such as honesty, wallflowers and sweet rocket, are sown in spring to flower the following year. You can either move young plants to a nursery bed in a quiet spot outdoors for moving again in the autumn or put them in their flowering positions. You'll find plants at the local garden centre or via online retailers.