February, the height of Summer and a very busy time in the garden; from harvesting to planning ahead for the Winter.

The weather so far has been challenging, with average day time temperatures, strong drying NE winds, above average sunlight and below average monthly rainfall.

While you are harvesting fruit from the stone fruit trees look out for any signs of disease that can be treated once the fruit has finished so that there will not be any carry over to next season.

Keep the water up on the pip fruit to keep them developing the fruit and look out for any signs of black stop and mildew that may need to be treated.

Old fruiting canes on the berry fruits should now be removed to encourage new growth and a application of fertiliser on strawberries will help the plants to continue fruiting.

Harvest garlic and dry the bulbs off before storing them.

Tomatoes, peppers, chilies and potatoes can be effected by the tomato/potato psyllid. Spraying with an insecticide can prevent this.

The heat will dry out the lawns so a regular deep watering, feeding and treatment for grass grub will keep the grass in good condition.

The flower garden will now be in peak flowering;  dead heading, staking, watering and weeding will extend the flowering right through the Summer. Flowering perennials such as chrysanthemums and dahlias will need to well staked to keep them from wind damage.

Thrips are about so treat the plants that are prone to thrip attack and treat them now before the damage is done to the foliage.

Citrus plants need to be kept well watered as the fruit develops so that the fruit will not be dry or small at harvest time. They will also benefit from an application of fertiliser now.

An important tip - always run out the water from your outside hose until the water runs cold as the hot water can scold you or your plants.

Happy Gardening, Michael Coulter

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