This month is the start of the Summer fruit season with berry fruits at their peak and stone fruit starting to ripen. With longer days and the warmer temperatures these fruits will ripen quickly so they must be looked at each day and are best picked in the cooler mornings before they get too hot. This will help them to keep longer. My pip fruit have had a good fruit set and will need to be thinned to ensure that the fruit will be of a good size, also the preventative spray programme to control coddling moth, mites and mildew at this time of the growing season is very important.

Tomatoes growing in the green house will now be ripening so the removal of the bottom leaves to help air flow needs to be carried out. Regular watering of the tomatoes both in the green house and outside, along with liquid feeds will help prevent any blossom end rot on the fruit.

Watering of the gardens and lawns and conserving water use is what the Council is asking us to do. To keep our gardens in good condition we will need to manage our water use by using mulches to retain soil moisture and avoid water wastage by only directing watering to the base of plants. Not using maximum pressure, using soak hoses not sprinklers when windy and avoiding excessive over spray onto paths or drive ways. I still recommend that a good deep watering once a week to ten days is more efficient than a quick splash around each day. Watering pots also needs to be managed to avoid water wastage. Give the pots only enough water to keep the pot moist;  watering until it comes out the bottom wastes water. I grow a lot of plants in pots and dependant on the weather my pots may need to be watered only every other day or so. I find that about 5 to 10 seconds of water per pot is enough. We know that more plants die from over watering than anything else.

Plants grow very fast during the Summer months, many of the taller perennials will need to be staked before they get too tall to keep them in bounds and straight stems.

Chrysanthemums, Dahlias and some annuals all benefit from pinching out their growing tip; this helps to make them branch and stops them getting too tall when they flower later on.

Enjoy the Season, Michael Coulter

The CHS are working with the Southern Seed Exchange (SSE) to bring you a range of fabulous seed packs, for big and small gardens alike Take a look here.

Remember: questions can be posted on HortTalk our online facebook group or you can email Michael directly at: