As we move towards summer the momentum in the garden continues gathering pace. Be vigilant against late frosts, protecting tender and vulnerable plants, especially tender bedding, patio and vegetable plants.
Earth up potatoes now. If you have seed potatoes that remain unplanted get them planted without delay.
Hoe weeds regularly. Hoeing is most effective in dry weather especially when there is warm sunshine or a drying wind. Hoe early in the day to facilitate drying out by the sun during the day. If you hoe in these optimum conditions, the weeds should be well wilted by evening. Use a good sharp Dutch hoe for best results.
Keep greenhouses well ventilated on warm, sunny days, opening up doors and vents. If you have dogs or cats around it is a good idea to secure some netting on the door while open. This will prevent any unwelcome visits and damage while you are away or at work.
Watch for vine weevil on plants. The following are especially susceptible: Begonias; Busy Lizzies; Primulas; Heucheras; Strawberries.
Mow lawns on a weekly basis and feed your lawn now.
Planting up hanging baskets and window boxes
This is the time to plant up hanging baskets, window boxes, barrels, tubs and patio containers. If you are re-planting existing containers, discard last years old spent compost. This will have run out of ‘steam’ and may have a legacy of soil borne pests. Use a good potting compost such as Bord Na Mona Seed and Potting Compost. Most people add a slow release fertiliser to the compost prior to planting. This should be well mixed into the compost at the rate recommended by the manufacturer. Ensure all containers have drainage holes. Use a liquid Tomato feed such as Brandon at weekly intervals throughout the growing season. Use Geraniums, Surfinias, Petunias, Lobelia and Sanvitalia for sunny aspects. Choose Fuchsias and Begonias for the more shaded aspects.
Watch for sawfly and aphids on gooseberries, which will devastate the leaves if not attended to immediately. Handpick to keep in check.
Container grown fruit may still be planted but keep watered in dry weather.
Sow carrots, parsnips, cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, cauliflowers, Swedes, turnips, French Beans outdoors in well-prepared soil. Sow pumpkins, squashes, melons, runner beans, courgettes indoors in a greenhouse. Sow one seed per pot. You can sow into a 3 or 4” peat pot. Water well prior to sowing but allow to drain for a couple of hours before sowing.
If you don’t have a greenhouse sow in a warm room.
The vegetable plants, which have been started indoors, may be well hardened off at the end of May/early June and planted into their final outdoor quarters. Put supports in place for climbing vegetables such as Runner Beans, peas etc.This can be a wigwam made out of strong bamboos or hazel sticks. Alternatively use mesh wire netting such as sheep netting supported by strong 2” posts. Runner beans should have support up to 240cm (8ft). All newly planted vegetables should be protected against slug damage. There is no reason why vegetables cannot be included in plantings in the Flower garden. Many vegetables are very ornamental. A couple of wigwams strategically placed in the border can be a very attractive feature adding height, colour and interest to the border.
Check roses for suckers. Cut out at the source of origin. Roses will benefit from a Rose food applied during the month. If you are growing Roses in pots a weekly liquid feed of BRANDON Tomato food is recommended.
Stake all tall perennials, using strong stakes. Mesh wire suspended over four strong, stout posts is ideal. Plant perennials to give colour throughout the summer. Add Nerines for late autumn colour in sunny, well-drained borders.