Head Gardener Stephen has a few bits of seasonal advice for the height of the summer season, which will come in particularly handy if you’re getting involved in our Grow to Give fundraising campaign!
I imagine many peoples’ gardens are looking the best they ever have, as gardening has been such a popular lockdown activity. If ever there was a time to appreciate the value of gardens for our wellbeing – and to spare a thought for those without access to outdoor space – that time has been the past few months.
So, it’s fair to assume that everyone is well ahead with weeding, deadheading and watering!
Pots and planters will benefit from a bit of care if you want to keep them going into the autumn. Keep removing faded flowers and give the containers a regular feed with organic tomato food as they begin to exhaust the nutrients in their original compost.
There is still time to sow some quick-growing vegetables and salads. Beetroot and carrots sown now will yield lovely tender ‘baby’ veg in the early autumn. Spinach, chard and ‘oriental’ leaves such as Pak Choi will all be ready to pick within a month or so at this time of year.
If it gets hot outside, it’s important to keep your greenhouse cool. Open doors and windows to improve airflow, and pour water on the floor to cool and moisten the air inside. If you can, it’s good to have blinds or shading too, as tender plants can scorch in the strong sunlight – or use the shade of large-leaved plants to keep the sun off others.
Another greenhouse job worth doing is to remove the lower leaves, as well as the side-shoots (which grow in the ‘V’ between the main stem and the ‘branches’), of tomatoes. Bush varieties don’t need this treatment, but it will help both the yield and the ripening of ‘indeterminate’ tomato plants. Don’t forget to feed them either, and stop the main stem by pinching off the top growing-point once 6-8 trusses of fruit have formed.
We hope you enjoy all your homegrown goodness in the sunshine!