25 June, 2017

June into July 2012

Jonathan Piercy (AGW 2011)

Jonathan’s tips for June and July.

1. Water carefully. It may be raining quite often at the moment, but remember that most plants at this time of year have a lot of foliage that acts as a umbrella.

2. Feed the lawn as regularly as possible to keep it looking good through the summer.

3. First early potatoes will begin to be ready for lifting.  Also remember that you can now buy potato sets for autumn lifting.

4. Nurseries will start taking orders for Autumn Bulb planting shortly so watch websites for details of how to order.

5. Feed tubs and hanging baskets planted with annuals with a liquid fertiliser to keep them looking good all summer.

6. Insects are starting to attack plants so be ready with an insecticide and spray roses with a fungicide to prevent blackspot.

7. Dead head regularly as plants finish flowering.

8. Shrubs that flower on the previous season’s growth can be pruned as soon as the flowers have finished.

9. Check stakes and canes regularly as the foliage they carry can be heavy.

10. Watch out for slugs. They can cause a lot of damage in a short time, so apply pellets or an alternative organic method to control them.

Jonathan Piercy 2012

 

Peter’s timely advice.
Peter

Peter Blackburne-Maze (AGW 2011)

I thought some tips about using growing-bags might be helpful. For a start, don’t moan about the cost of the bag. They sometimes represent the only way in which vegetables can be grown in an otherwise floral garden.

A pint of beer costs nearly twice as much as a growing-bag!

Tomatoes, peppers and aubergines.

You will normally do best, though, to grow the higher priced vegetables. Tomatoes are a natural.

Peppers and aubergines (egg plants) are good value but they always do best in a greenhouse. Our summers are too short and cool for them.  Peppers are all right in a sunny and sheltered corner but I wouldn’t even consider aubergines.

Raise or buy the plants as and when you would tomatoes. Prick out straight into small (3in.) pots and pot on, later, into 4in. or 41/4.

If aubergines are reluctant to send out side shoots, it is a good idea to nip out the tops when they are about 6in. tall.

Tomatoes, peppers and aubergines should be planted in bags when the first flower is open. It may be a bit late for this advice but remember it for next year.

Once the plants are flowering, tap the stems periodically to help fruit set. This is standard practice with all tomatoes.

Watering

Drainage used to cause problems but most bags now have holes in the sides. The trouble with these, though, is that, at the height of the season, you may have to water three times a day.

Correct watering is the key to success with growing-bags and there is nothing difficult about it.

The initial watering after planting should be of about a gallon per bag. You should then not need to look at them again for a week or so. More detailed advice is usually given on the bag.

The dampness of the compost is the main thing and will determine how much water is needed. Always avoid extremes of sopping wet and bone dry; that is bad for any plant and is the main cause of ‘blossom end rot’ in tomatoes.

The dampness of the compost is the key.

If the top inch or so is drying out, give water; if not, don’t. Always water thoroughly; it should never be necessary to give less than about half-a-gallon. Aim to keep the compost evenly damp the whole time. This will give the plants as much as they want but never too much.

How many plants per bag?

The number of plants per bag is also relevant; particularly if it isn’t in the instructions.

Lengthy trials have shown that the best number of tomato plants is three per bag in the greenhouse but four outside and I find it odd that this has been changed to three for both. Four outside is fine; you stop them earlier than under glass and need that extra plant to make up for it.

For other plants outdoors, it’s largely common sense but here are some examples.

Runner beans (8)

Cucumbers, peppers, aubergines (3)

Marrows and courgettes (2)

Lettuces (6-8)

Melons – according to variety (2-3)

Strawberries (10)

 

Peter Blackburne-Maze 2012

 

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