The longer days of Summer are here along with the warmer days and nights which means plants will grow rapidly. There are many tasks in the garden that will need to be attended to on a regular schedule.

We have had some useful rain in the last month but not enough to sustain good plant growth so watering is needed. Watering is best directed to the areas of the root zone of the plants and given a good soaking so that they may need to be watered about once every 10 to 14 days dependant on how hot and windy the weather has been.

Lawns will also need to be watered regularly to prevent them drying out. They will also benefit from being cut at a higher level.

Watering is best done in the early morning avoiding the very hottest part of the day or in the early evening, but allowing time for the plants to have dry leaves before the night time so that fungal diseases are not encouraged.

Summer fruits are beginning to ripen (I have picked our first strawberries) so watch out for the birds and cover with netting before the berries show colour.

The vegetable garden is now producing from Spring plantings and crops like beans, sweet corn, pumpkins, tomatoes and potatoes will all be growing fast. Keep weeding around all these plants to reduce competition to get the better quality produce from your efforts. I suggest that a quick hoe around the garden once a week takes little time and gets the weeds as small seedlings that die quickly. You are also looking at the plants so will notice any problems that can be easily fixed.

There are some pests that need to be treated now so that they are not a problem later on in the season; potato psyllid, grass grub, codling moth and thrips. The more noticeable pests like aphids and caterpillars can be treated when you see them on the plants throughout the growing season.

In the green house crops, white fly and mites can be a real problem so treat the plants now to prevent the populations getting to a crisis point when they are almost impossible to control.

In the flower garden planting Summer annuals can now be completed with the planting out of the likes of begonias, dahlias, marigolds etc. and earlier planted plants can be pinched to encourage a more bushy plant.

Roses will be now in full bloom, dead head as the flowers fade and treat for black spot and aphids.

Summer is a very busy time in the garden so take time to smell the roses, enjoy the fruit so that you can appreciate why we garden.

Happy Christmas, Michael Coulter  

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