Summer’s here at last. All the work of the last few months will now begin to show results. In the flower garden sweet peas will be coming into flower. Make sure they are staked with twiggy branches that will allow them to climb. Most annual flowers that were sown in the spring will start to flower this month. Give them the best chance by removing weeds and feeding regularly. For late summer flowers it’s not too late to sow more cornflowers, cosmos, night-scented stock and zinnias. They will grow quickly and give a welcome display in September. Harden off any bedding plants that have not yet been planted out. Aim to have your bedding plants in position in the next two weeks.
Biennials such as sweet william, wallflowers and bellis daisies can be sown now so that they can be planted out in the autumn ready for next spring.
Mow your lawn regularly to keep the grass short and in good condition. If you left a patch of lawn unmown to create a wild area, you should now be seeing some wildflowers appearing along with taller grasses. Use a proprietary lawn feed to keep the lawn grass healthy, but avoid using weedkillers or moss killer. Try raking over the surface of your lawn if you see moss or dead grass. Rake it off and compost it. That approach is much better for the health of your lawn and your garden generally. In dry weather watering your lawn is fine, but try to keep watering to a minimum.
When watering pots check first to make sure that watering is needed. Overwatering can be as harmful as too little watering. Some plants don’t like their roots sitting in waterlogged soil. When feeding potted plants, again, don’t overfeed. The result will be lots of foliage and fewer flowers.
If you have an evergreen early-flowering clematis now is the time to lightly prune it to keep it from spreading out of control. Prune some of the longer shoots back and remove any dead or damaged shoots. If you try to prune this type of clematis later in the summer you will affect the quantity and quality of next year’s flowers.
Dahlias grown from seed can be planted out now. Make sure they have a good root system and they will romp away and flower later in the summer. If you love foxgloves and have some flowering in your garden, avoid cutting of the flowerheads until after they have self-seeded. If you want floxgloves and don’t have any, then now is the time to sow seed for next year.
In the vegetable plot, sow radishes as they will grow quickly and can be used as a filler between other, slower maturing, vegetables. Sow further batches of spring onion, lettuce, salad leaves and rocket. Also sow French Beans for a good crop later in the summer. Successional sowings – say every two weeks – will guarantee a regular supply of beans.
Plant out sweetcorn but not in rows. Sweetcorn is pollinated by the wind and needs to be planted in a block. The plants will also appreciate a mulch after they have been planted and watered. This will serve to keep the soil moist and cool. Transplant leeks once they reach about pencil-thickness. Trim the roots of each plant, then use a dibber to make a hole. Drop the leek in and water. Don’t fill the hole with earth. Let the water do that job.
It is time to put a net over your raspberries to keep the birds out.
In the greenhouse, keep tying up your tomatoes. Pick off any sideshoots regularly and feed and water regularly. Don’t let the soil dry out or you risk the fruit splitting. Ideally you should visit your greenhouse daily to check the plants. In very hot weather make sure the greenhouse is ventilated and water the floor to keep the temperature down and the humidity up. Cucumbers enjoy humid conditions, whereas tomatoes less so. If you are growing both in your greenhouse try to maintain a happy medium. Cucumbers can be grown outdoors. Plant now for a crop later in the summer.
You will need to stake delphiniums and hollyhocks to prevent them being damaged by the wind. Gladioli will also need staking once they reach an appropriate height. Tall dahlias with heavy flowers must be supported too. Climbing and rambling roses will need to be tied in from time to time. All roses should be deadheaded periodically to keep up a succession of flowers. Prune your wisteria now for good results next spring.
Generally keep up with weeding. Weeds compete with your plants for food and water. Give your plants the best chance by keeping the weeds down.
At the end of the month check your early potatoes. They should be ready for a first harvest!