With spring in full swing and summer just around the corner, it’s a busy time for gardeners putting in preparations for a beautiful summer garden. Seeds should be sown, vegetables and flowers should be planted, and lawns should be given some tender loving care to ensure they are looking luscious and well-nourished for sunny days spent outdoors.
Patrick Wall, buyer of box bedding, hanging baskets and planted containers at Wyevale Garden Centres, shares his gardening jobs of the month, helping you to get one step closer to your dream garden:
1. Prep your pots
Plant up your outdoor pots and summer hanging baskets, but keep them in a greenhouse or porch for a few weeks to establish, before putting them outside. Establishing the plants encourages roots to grow out and increase their drought tolerance which means they will be able to withstand the drier months ahead.
2. Full of beans
Start sowing runner, dwarf and climbing French beans. All beans appreciate a rich, deep, well-drained soil in a sunny position, so before sowing make sure you dig over your plot to clear any rocks and large stones, and dig in a good amount of compost or well-rotted farmyard manure to encourage the beans to grow.
3. Quench crops’ thirst
Now that the weather is warming up it’s important to water thirsty crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers and courgettes regularly. Make sure that the soil or compost stays moist but is not waterlogged and take care to water the ground around the plant and not the leaves.
4. Mulch beds and borders
Not only does mulching lock in the soil’s moisture and improve its texture, it also works to supress weeds. By covering the soil with mulch, weed seeds struggle to come into contact with the soil when they land; this, combined with their deprivation of light means they cannot germinate and are prevented from growing. Make sure you apply enough mulch (around 2-3 inches) and ensure that the mulch is not pushed too closely up against your plants.
5. Watch out for pests!
It’s important to check plants regularly for pests. Pay close attention to shoot tips to check for pests, such as capsid bugs, as well as the underside of leaves which can attract aphids, mealy bugs, red spider mites and thrips. There are plenty of ways to ward off those unwanted pests in an eco and wildlife friendly way without causing damage to your plants.
6. Love your lawn
Apply nitrogen-rich summer feed to your lawn to encourage leafy growth. May is the best time of year to do this as the longer daylight hours and warmer soil create the perfect conditions for the grass to grow. Always fertilise your lawn after mowing to avoid disturbing the fertiliser on the surface.