TIPS AND TRICKS FOR YOUR GARDEN IN EARLY JULY
  • When the first flush of roses is over, prune back lightly and feed with a rose fertilizer.
  • Be on the lookout for developing pest problems and take action.
  • Re-seed bare patches in lawns.
  • Treat weeds with a lawn weed killer before they get a firm foothold.
  • Sow seeds of salad leaves, beetroot, radishes, spring cabbages, kohl rabi, Swiss chard, spinach, Oriental greens, chicory, swede and turnips for green tops.
  • Pinch out the shoot tips on fuchsias and bedding plants for bushier growth.
  • Cutting back growth in hanging baskets can encourage new flowers and foliage and will revive the display. Make sure you that feed your baskets well after doing this.
  • If you need to prune your deciduous Magnolia, now is the best time to do it.
  • If you're growing aubergines pinch out the growing tip once they have 5 or 6 fruits. Pick fruits while they are young. You can expect to start harvesting in mid to late summer.
  • Harvest garlic when the tops start to bend over and yellow. To find out more about harvesting and growing garlic read my ‘how-to' guide.

How to Protect Veg Plants from Pests

Just when your vegetables are almost ready to eat, invariably something else finds it first & feasts on your hard work before you get a chance for harvest. The first step in protecting your crop from pests is to ensure that your plants are strong & healthy. A well-grown plant withstands the ravages of pests better than an ailing one. Keep the soil well fed & well drained by incorporating plenty of organic matter before planting such as organic Farmyard Manure& feed your plants with a quality and dedicated plant food to keep them at their peak all of the time. Many pests that affect our plants are transitory problems moving around the garden at will. Before you reach for the pest spray, consider whether you could protect your plants with a mesh, a barrier or a trap. This keeps edible plants free from residues and helps support a wildlife friendly garden. Use a fine mesh over brassicas and carrots to keep out cabbage white butterflies, carrot fly and many other flying pests. Remember to use slug barriers around susceptible plants to protect against slugs & snails, or trap them in beer traps.  The best weapons in the war on slugs are natural predators that eat them for breakfast. Frogs, beetles, hedgehogs& birds consider these slimy slugs a protein-rich delicacy. Keep an area of the garden wild. Feed the birds consistently to identify your garden as a food source and try to use pesticides as a last resort.

Harvesting your garlic. Garlic is best planted between November and April although you will generally get a bigger and better crop if you plant it in the autumn. Garlic bulbs are sold according to their suitability for spring or autumn planting.  Autumn-planted garlic will be ready to harvest in June and July and spring-planted garlic will be ready slightly later. Simply wait until the leaves have started to wither and turn yellow, and then loosen the bulbs from the soil with a trowel. Be careful not to cut the garlic bulbs with your trowel as this will reduce their storage potential. Also, be careful not to leave the bulbs in the ground too long after the leaves have withered as the bulbs are likely to re-sprout and may rot when stored. Lay the garlic bulbs out somewhere warm and dry before storing them. Any dry soil left on the bulbs can be gently brushed off. Bulbs should then store for up to 3 months in good condition. It really is so easy to grow your own garlic so maybe give it a try this autumn and ease yourself into the GYO movement!

July