June 9 - June 16
Spring-flowering bulbs like daffodils can have the tops cut off now, and you should not loose any of next year's flowers. The bulbs can be lifted and stored in a dry, airy, cool, dark place like a garden shed until autumn.
t Cut back bulbs
Spring-flowering bulbs like daffodils can have the tops cut off now, and you should not loose any of next year's flowers. The bulbs can be lifted and stored in a dry, airy, cool, dark place like a garden shed until autumn. Discard any bulbs that are showing signs of rot or damaged.
t Prune back shrubs
As the flowers fade on deutzia, forsythia and other May-flowering shrubs that bloom on the previous season's growth, prune them now. Cut out old or damaged stems back to the base, and younger growth that flowered this year back to about four buds. Use clean and sharp secateurs to avoid damaging stems. Feed them with a balanced liquid fertiliser, and mulch round the base with good garden compost or similar to keep the roots moist and shaded.
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t Thin carrot seedlings
Carrot seedlings should be thinned to a spacing of 5cm. Ensure those left in the ground are watered well, and remove all the thinnings as they will attract carrot root fly. Use horticultural fleece to protect the crop from carrot root fly, ensuring the edges are securely pegged into the ground, or put up a barrier of sacking or plastic sheet round the bed at least 45cm high.
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t Don't be weedy
The problem with all this heat and rain is the weeds seem to grow at a pace. The best way to control them between rows of young vegetables and in flowerbeds is to use a sharp hoe to slice them in half leaving the tops of annual weeds to dry up in the sun. The process of hoeing also helps to prevent moisture loss from the soil and destroys slug eggs laid just below the surface.
t Get bedding plants in
Time to plant out the bedding plants you have been hardening off in the cold frame or sheltered corner as the chances of a frost now are very low. When planting out half-hardy annuals like petunias and pelargoniums it is important to prepare the ground well beforehand. Remove all weeds and large stones and the remnants of spring bedding. Feed the soil with some quality fertiliser such as growmore or pelleted chicken manure to help your plants establish quickly, but do not overdose the area. Give the plants a good watering-in even if rain is forecast.
t Blooming good advice
To keep bedding going longer, keep removing the dead flowers - it makes them look much better and keeps them flowering longer. When feeding pots and tubs use a high-potassium fertiliser to keep the blooms coming - a tomato fertiliser is ideal. Slow-release fertiliser is good. Also use the tablets, three in a hanging basket and more for large tubs, but they will need topping up each month. Ensure plants are firmed in well, or they will tend to lift out of the compost and dry out, and check compost does not settle leaving plants exposed. If so, top it up. Hanging baskets and tubs will need watering everyday.
t Sow and sow
Continue to sow catch crops of your favourite vegetables and salads to keep a continuous supply through the summer. Lettuce, radish, salad herbs like rocket and vegetables such as mange tout, French beans, runner beans, and beetroot.
t Beating whitefly
Tomatoes in the greenhouse are susceptible to whitefly and aphid attack. One way to reduce this problem is to plant French marigolds to attract hover flies that feast on white ly. Use the sticky yellow traps suspended above the plants as white ly are attracted to the colour yellow.