“Proper planning and preparation prevents poor performance”, as the saying goes. It is important to note that preparation for your garden will be different depending on where you live. The is UK such a small country compared with many, and yet just a few hundred miles distance can dramatically change what you can expect from the sky above. With heat waves one minute and downpours the next, exactly what are we supposed to do with our garden when it comes to summertime?
Water is said to be life’s soul and it is also a gardener’s best friend. As much as us Brits complain about the volatile nature of UK weather, it does generally start to get warmer in summer and therefore it is crucial that you remember to water. Giving your garden a big drink once or twice a week will enable plant roots to grow deeper into the nutritious soil.
For larger plants, shrubs and trees a good idea is to leave a water hose dribbling for around 45 minutes. The best time to water your garden is during the early morning or late evening so that the water is able to soak into the soil before the sun’s heat speeds up the evaporation process.
In the UK we also have some of the most expensive water in Europe and that’s why it is crucial not to waste more than is necessary – especially when it comes to giving thirsty plants a drink! Therefore installing a water butt is a great solution for the avid gardener. If you already have a water butt then be sure to remove the dead leaves and mould. Don’t throw it away though, as it is an excellent addition to your compost heap.
Hopefully you are able to experience a few hot days relaxing in the garden this summer. Unfortunately you won’t be the only one lapping up the sun! Particularly, keep your eye out for greenfly and blackfly as they love the heat.
When tackling the situation of pests, it is important not to take the easy option and simply drench your garden in chemical pest deterrent as it may be harmful to your plants and the honey bees. Try to take the time to discover and remove things like larvae, snails and caterpillars by hand by checking under leaves and in old pots. There are also a variety of ways you can promote natural pest control such as:
It may seem like a laborious task at the time but keeping on top of mowing your lawn is absolutely crucial for the benefit of your garden. Also, if you don’t mow your grass then it not only looks untidy but it will harm almost all of your other gardening efforts.
You should ideally try to cut your grass at least once a week during the summer months. Try mowing little and often rather than leaving the grass for a few weeks and trying to cut it all in one go. Also if you can spread your cuttings on your compost in shallow layers this will help your heap. However, be careful not to dump the whole lot on there because it could turn slimy and ruin the rest of the compost.
To have the perfect garden for summer it is important to remove all of your weeds and thistles as quickly as possible, before they turn to seed. By capturing the seed heads earlier on you will save yourself a lot of time and bother later on in the year.
If weeds are already well established then now is a good time to apply weed killer to stop them from growing at a faster rate – but, as ever, try to find one that is bee friendly. Using a woodchip base on flower beds will help to keep weeds under control and is a great strategy to reduce the time spent weeding later on in the year.
The summer is a great time to start planting the young plants that you might have started to grow yourself or purchased from a garden centre. Courgettes, runner beans, tomato plants and French beans are all great choices.
By now your garden should be seeing a lot of colour but if there any gaps in flower borders then these can be filled in with quick growing annuals such as sweet peas. For hanging baskets try pansies and petunias for an instant splash of colour.
Enjoy it! Nobody becomes excellent at gardening overnight and it really does become a game of trial and error before you are competent. So if you don’t do everything perfectly the first time around then that’s absolutely fine. As they say, there’s always next year!
If you’d like to read our article about how to look after your posture when gardening, then please click here.