Here are my top tips to keep things under control in your garden in late June.
With the increase (we hope) in temperature, grass growth slows down and so should the frequency of cutting. Remember don’t have the blades on the lawnmower too low in very warm weather as too tight a cutting will weaken the grass and allow the weeds space to grow! For those who do not have a feeding regime for their lawn and the grass is losing its luscious green colour, it is probably lacking in nitrogen and will require a feed. Try using Westland Aftercut (weed and feed) or for those of you with a weed free lawn, use Osmo Park and Fairway to add much needed nutrients to the lawn. If you sowed a new lawn earlier in the year, do ensure it isn’t drying out. Before it has reached cutting height (8cm in approximately 6 to 8 weeks) watering should be light and frequent. However, once you are cutting your new lawn, you should consider watering more deeply but much less often if there is a risk of it drying out.
Do continue to deadhead your flowering plants throughout the month as the first flush of flowers fade. This stops the formation of seed (and unwanted seedlings popping up) as well as encourages continuous flowering through the season. Deadheading takes no time at all if done regularly; why not keep a secateurs to hand as you take an evening stroll around the garden admiring the results of the past spring’s hard work! Remember – don’t just cut the flower from the top of the stalk, remove both the flower and the stalk completely which will help maintain a healthy and well-shaped plant.
The increased temperatures in late June also means an increase in the risk of blight on potato crops. Paraic has previously written several articles about the prevention and treatment of potato blight. Blight is a fungal infection spread when the spores are carried on the wind and is identified by brown patches on the leaves, sometimes with a whitish furry covering on the underside of the leaf. If left unchecked, blight causes the foliage to rot away and the tubers, starting with brown patches on the skin, to rot completely. Prevention is always better than cure so a treatment of Bayer Garden Potato Blight Control could be used with the first of the blight warnings. Your plants can be treated to a maximum of 4 times per year. If you notice blight on the leaf in a small amount, remove these leaves completely; do not add them to the compost bin, discard them. In severe cases of blight, cut the stalk at the stem and discard completely. Wait approximately 2 weeks before removing the tubers from the soil; do so carefully and completely so as to reduce the risk of spread to neighbouring plants. Remember, tomatoes are a member of the potato family so can also suffer with blight. Good air circulation around the plants as well as watering the soil rather than the leaves helps in the prevention of an attack of the fungus.
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In the greenhouse, air circulation and watering are imperative at this time of year. Don’t forget to open doors and windows to ventilate the space regularly. Keep your greenhouse clean of waste and debris as this is where most of the pests, such as spider mites or slugs and snails, like to hide. Be sure to keep on top of watering your greenhouse based plants and the heat under glass increases water evaporation and can lead to scorching.
Plants such as pumpkin, courgette, squash, tomatoes require regular watering to ensure a good crop later in the season. Don’t forget to feed your vegetable beds and containers, use Osmo Universal Liquid Food; and organic mineral fertiliser for improved growth and plant health.