Jobs to do in the garden this week.

  • Continue to earth up potatoes, to stop the tubers being exposed to light, turning green.
  • If you are going on holiday either get a neighbour to water your house plants, hanging baskets and patio planters, alternatively put all of your plants including house plants on the patio or lawn, put the lawn sprinkler between them and connect the hose to an outside tap using a water timer (set the timer to come on twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening - 10 minutes each time should be sufficient). Test the settings before you go away.
  • Flag Iris leaves will start to droop now that they have finished flowering. Lift and divide the clumps.
  • Check shrubs reguraly for aphids, treat with a soap or chemical spray.
  • Pick strawberries as soon as they are ripe, left on the plant they will over ripen, rot and encourage pests and diseases.
  • Lift old strawberry plants before planting with new stock. Burning or disposing of the old plants, rather than putting them in the compost bin, will help prevent any disease and viruses from spreading.
  • Summer prune apple trees to encourage swelling of the fruit.
  • Feed tomato plants fornightly with a liquid fertiliser (this must be diluted in water to prevent burning the plants)
  • Tie tomato stems to canes or stakes to prevent the weight of the fruit breaking the plant.
  • Pond fish will eat more in the summer, feed them little and often, once or twice a day. If the food has not been eaten within 15 minutes, remove and dispose of the excess.
  • Ensure that soil in hanging baskets and patio planters is kept moist. Remove fading and dead flower heads from plants, this will encourage new flowers. Feed hanging baskets and planters weekly with liquid fertiliser if a slow release fertiliser was not added when planting the basket.
  • Apple and pear trees will shed some fruit, this is known as the 'June drop'. This is quite natural, it's the trees way of restricting the amount of fruit that develop.
  • Move houseplants outside for some summer sunshine.
  • Plant tender perennials including pentstemons and salvias.
  • Depending on recent weather conditions and daytime temperature, gooseberries should now be ready to be picked.
  • Continually nip out side shoots from upright (cordon) tomato plants. These reduce the amount of food available to fruit baring branches. If growing plants in the greenhouse, nip out the growing tip after the plant has produced 4-5 fruiting trusses, reduce this to 3-4 if growing tomatoes outside. See here, for more information: https://youtu.be/zFBgCBaFSnk
  • Cover strawberries and fruit bushes with netting to protect them from birds. Start to feed the plants weekly when the fruit starts to form.
  • Buy plants in strips or trays that are compact and sturdy, the compost that they are growing in should be moist. Try to buy plants in bud, with few open blooms.
  • Stake and tie perennials to prevent them being broken by wind and rain. Remove fading delphinium flowers to encourage a second flowering.
  • Paint shading on the greenhouse glass, or use shading to lessen the scorching effect of the sun and to keep temperatures lower.
  • Check the ties on climbers, flower stems and standard roses - the tops of plants can get very heavy when in full bloom or when wet.
  • Pinch out the growing tips of annuals and some perennials to create a stockier plant and to encourage more flowers More information here.
  • Sow hardy annuals in their flowering positions to fill any gaps in the border.
  • Check gooseberries for sawfly. Prune this year's growth back to 4-5 leaves (this shouldn't affect fruit as they appear on old wood).
  • Trim hedges to encourage the branches to thicken up and to keep them neat and tidy.
  • Take soft wood cuttings from thyme. Thyme cuttings take easily, so they can be stuck in the soil or in pots. Remember that thyme likes full sun and hates to be grown in the shade.
  • Propagate marginal pond plants. Take short cuttings, remove lower leaves and push stems into pots of mud. Keep top of the pots just under the surface of the water.
  • Greenhouse
  • The adult vine weevil, the number one garden pest, will be emerging from the soil as the temperatures rise.
  • Protect plants from slugs and snails with slug pellets, course grit or traps. Alternatively try to encourage birds, hedgehogs and frogs to your garden - all prey on slugs and snails. More suggestions to reduce slug and snail damage.
  • Regularly water trees and shrubs that were planted last autumn and winter. Their roots won't have had a chance to fully develop yet.
  • Cut grass weekly, long grass takes more nutrients out of the soil. It is also harder to cut and may leave yellow patches in the lawn.
  • Apply a weed and feed to established lawns. Water in with a hose after a few days if it hasn't rained.
  • Feed established roses, fortnightly, with a rose fertilizer, dead-head regularly and check for aphids and black spot.
  • Lift, divide and replant chives.
  • Weed and spread compost from the compost bin over the borders and vegtable patch. This adds valuable nutrients to the soil and acts as a mulch, to retain moisture and reduce weed growth. Ensure that the soil is moist before adding mulch.
  • Bluebell leaves will have yellowed, so they can be lifted and divided.

Other garden tip pages: