Summer Gardening Tips
Here in the southern hemisphere, the Christmas and New Year holidays arrive at the worst possible time - particularly for the summer vegetable garden. At this time of the year, temperatures are normally very high and there is often little or no rainfall (although great for holiday makers!). After returning from a relaxing holiday, the veggie garden is often a very serious challenge indeed. However, there are still months of warm weather ahead in which your summer vegetables can thrive and produce fresh food for the table.
- Preparation of vegetable beds before planting is always one of the keys to success, and even more so when planting a summer garden. Ensure copious amounts of Daltons Compost is added to existing soil prior to planting or sowing seeds, then mulch around young plants with additional compost. This will improve the soil texture as well as maintaining soil moisture.
- Replant quick maturing veggies throughout summer eg: radish, lettuce, dwarf beans and spring onions. The ongoing care of tomato and runner bean plants is achieved by adding compost, removing old growth and applying side dressings of Daltons Goldcote Vegetable and Herb Fertiliser, ensuring it is well watered in.
- Maximise the use of water by irrigating in the cooler parts of the day and deep watering every few days, rather than a brief sprinkling every day. Provide shelter for the more exposed parts of the garden, as hot winds can dry out soils very quickly in summer months and cause stress for your young plants.
- Be vigilant with insects in the garden; when temperatures increase, insects like aphids, whitefly and passion-fly hopper can multiply at an alarming rate. Regularly remove all dead plant material such as leaves etc as they can harbour insects and be a source of fungal infections.
- This is probably the most difficult time the year for roses. Rust and black spot can appear and spread very quickly. Mulch plants with crushed bark, apply light side dressings of Daltons Premium Rose & Flower Fertiliser regularly and continue deadheading flowers. These measures will all help keep your roses healthy. Remember that once you are through this difficult period, most roses provide a strong display of blooms in late summer/early autumn.
- If plant varieties have been chosen correctly, the summer annual flower bed should look an absolute picture! Most plants will requite continuous dead heading, for example marigolds, while others like petunias will need to be cut back at least once during their growing cycle.
- Fruit from pip and stone fruit trees should be picked when ripened. Check the trees regularly for any nasty pests or diseases.
- As with roses, this is the most difficult time of the year for lawns, unless you have an endless supply of water on your property. Irrigate your lawn in the cooler parts of the day. Remember laying a new lawn and fertilising existing lawn is best carried out in the cooler autumn months.
- As many herbs originate from hot sunny countries, most thrive in the hot dry summer months. Continue clipping even if you are not eating that particular herb. This will encourage new fresh tasty leaves that are best for cooking.
- Where some herbs go to seed in mid to late summer months, replace them with new plants.