Essential Gardening Tips
Now its the time of the year when activity and growth in the garden steps up a gear. Essential gardenting tips will come in handy. With the return of warmer, sunnier and longer days. However, on closer inspection, the to-do list can sometimes seem overwhelming. So here are some tips to make your garden looking fresher and better than ever.
To avoid weeds taking over your garden, prevent weed seedlings becoming established by watering the borders once a week. It may seem like a thankless task, but the more work you put in now, the greater return in the summer. Do remember that unwanted weeds can use up much of the water supply needed by other plants and vegetables.
These will start to grow profusely now, but before trimming them back, do remember to check them for any nesting birds and to make gathering up the trimming debris easier, remember to lay out a groundsheet for the branches to fall on, so it makes it easier to clear up once you have finished.
Summer bedding plants: When the danger of late frosts has past, set about planting summer bedding plants together with dahlia and gladioli to benefit from late flowering.
Frames/ support: Taller perennials and other flowers will need a helping hand with the support of a frame or cane to prevent damage from winds.
Feeding and watering: Start to feed your plants weekly with liquid feeds and remember not to allow any of your potted plants, hanging baskets or recently planted plants to dry out. Recycle any rain water where possible.
You may find aphids, slugs snails etc in contact with your flowers/plants in which measures can be taken to keep these common pests under control. There are plenty of non-chemical alternatives on the market such as slug umbrellas or copper foil tape, to avoid your children or pets accidentally coming in contact with potentially toxic pellets.
Your lawn will need cutting once a week (in opposite directions each week to ensure correct grass growth). The blades on your mower can be lowered to their regular summer cutting height, unless you are growing new grass. Apply weed killer and feed the lawn with high nitrogen fertiliser to encourage healthy growth. If it is very hot, or if you are growing new grass, remember to water regularly to help the roots establish themselves.
Ensure that you keep all fruit and fruit trees watered in dry spells to help with good fruit development. If growing vines and to encourage more growth, pinch out the tips of shoots (2 leaves beyond a developing fruit truss). Rhubarb may be harvested later in the month and to avoid strawberries from going mouldy, lay straw between strawberry plants.
May is amongst the busiest of months if you are growing vegetables. So many different types of vegetables can be sown from French beans to beetroot and broccoli to radishes. Do remember to protect them from pests in the garden as seedlings will be rather fragile.
If you are keen to grow more plants at no cost, consider taking some softwood cuttings to propagate at home. Suitable plants from which to take cuttings can include shrubs such as hydrangeas and buddleia, but also perennials such as penstemon, petunias and verbenas.