Tips from Alex – July 2017

I started off last month’s tips with a comment that we had received at last, some welcome rain and the impact that it had on my lawn. This month, I start with another welcome of much needed rain. The spell of extremely hot weather we have enjoyed in June has come to an end with more seasonally normal temperatures now being experienced. With temperatures over 30C my lawn has again suffered, showing many areas of scorched grass but this time, I fear it will take much longer to recover. My strawberries of late have almost cooked before I get the chance to pick them. Instances like this, I think are indicative of global warming and we are all going to have to adapt the way in which we garden in the future to these higher temperatures and sporadic heavy rainfall.

​A benefit of a return to more normal temperatures is we don’t have to water as much. For me this has meant less frequent watering of bedding planted in June and most noticeably, in the greenhouse where once a day watering has resumed.

​Carrying on from what I wrote in last month’s tips, July will largely see most use of the hoe in the garden ensuring all those plants from which you hope to make your selections for the flower show do not have to compete with weeds and can make the most of the nutrients in the soil. Sowing and planting will now largely be confined to successional crops. I have planted out my squash and will be sowing some swede for winter use.

​Thanks to the local pigeon population, I am sowing mangetout for the third time but making sure they are netted this time. It’s amazing how long it takes some of us to learn! This will probably be me done for the year.

​With an eye on the flower show scheduled for Saturday 2nd September:

  • Ensure your roses are pruned which should give a good display until and beyond the show.
  • Ensure your sweet peas are regularly picked and not left to go to seed. They will also benefit from a good feed from time to time. Some of you may have watched Monty Don on BBC’s Gardeners World advocating the picking of sweet peas at ten day intervals. I can’t believe this is the best way to ensure continuity of blooms and prevent seed production but there are few hard and fast rules in gardening. I think it is whatever works for you!
  • Make sure the tinning of all your crops particularly root vegetable have sufficient room to grow too their optimum size.
  • Regularly dead head flowers to ensure they go on flowering and do not produce seed.
  • In the greenhouse, ensure adequate ventilation and continue regular feeding of your crops and with tomatoes, the pinching out of side shoots.

​Next month, I shall devote most of my tips to the presentation of your produce at the flower show with a view to catching the judge’s eye. In the meantime,

Happy gardening,

Alex – July 2017