TIPS AND TRICKS FOR MID JULY
  • Prune out plain green shoots from variegated trees and shrubs.
  • Water runner beans, celery, marrows, courgettes and salads.
  • Thin heavy fruit crops, leaving developing fruits about 10-15cm apart.
  • Sow seeds of herbs now, including basil, parsley and coriander.
  • Water tomatoes regularly to prevent fruit splitting and blossom end rot.
  • Ventilate your  greenhouse daily, blight warning for the coming week.

Lavender can be used for culinary use. Choose an angustifolia variety. We find lavandula angustifolia “hidcote” the most successful lavender to grow in the midlands. Next time when you are barbequing your meat, try sprinkling some dried lavender on the hot coals. Not only will this add flavour that is good to the taste buds, it will also adds scent that is pleasing to the nose.  We have posted up on our Facebook page a few other uses for you to experiment with. Blueberry and lavender jam?

Patio orchard  Growing fruit trees in large pots on the patio is a great way of increasing the range of fruit you have in your garden without taking up valuable border space. The warmth of a sunny patio means you can try more exotic fruits such as figs that need a good summer to ripen. It is also an ideal way of squeezing a fruit tree into a very small garden without it dominating the whole design. Raising trees in pots allows you to grow fruit that would otherwise fail to thrive in your garden. For example, you could try plums that need a well-drained soil even if your garden is heavy clay, or acid-loving blueberries in a garden with alkaline soil. There are other advantages, too. The trees are easier to protect from late frosts because you can move them inside or cover them with garden fleece. They can be protected from pests and diseases more effectively and sprayed more easily. Since the tree will remain small it will be easier to prune and harvesting is a real pleasure. Cherries make excellent patio trees, with spectacular blossom and colourful fruit. It is essential that you choose a variety on a dwarf rootstock such as Colt or Gisela, even then it will make a medium-sized tree in the garden. However, in a container it will remain quite small, so that it is easy to look after. You can even cover it with near-invisible fine-mesh netting just as the cherries start to ripen to prevent the birds beating you to your crop. A self-fertile variety such as ‘Stella‘ or ‘Sunburst‘ would be an excellent choice for growing in a container on the patio. If you want to try acid cherries for cooking, ‘Morello‘ is worth considering. Plums can make large and difficult-to-manage trees in the garden, but in a container they are kept small enough for any size plot. Choose a dwarfing rootstock such as St Julien A or Pixie. Apples are probably the easiest fruit to grow in a container. Plant one called scrumptious it is scrumptious. Squeeze in a mini peach tree in your glass house.

July