Couldn’t get enough of the first instalment of our summer gardening checklist? Well, not to worry, because here are ten more tips to keep your garden gorgeous, your backyard beautiful and your terrace looking terrific.
Conservatories are superb places to foster those patio plants who can’t stand the nip of frostbite during the colder months, but once the weather begins to heat up, you’ll want to move them outside for all the world to see. Not only will they spruce up your backyard, they’ll also make way for seedlings and cuttings you might want to nurture indoors before sending them off into the big wide world.
Pots (and terracotta pots in particular) are prone to overheating when placed in direct sunlight. Avoid this problem by moving them into the shade where possible, or else by applying mulch to the topsoil to keep moisture in. Do not place pots inside saucers of standing water, as this can attract mosquitoes, midges and other unwanted bugs, as well as encouraging root rot. Instead, place them in a saucer of damp sand. If hydration becomes a real problem, submerge the plant’s roots in water for half an hour before draining thoroughly.
New seedlings and plantings need all the help they can get, especially in periods of prolonged sunshine. Let them get fully established by shading them from the strongest sun’s rays with shadecloth, net curtains or leafy fronds for the first couple of weeks of their life.
While there is a wide array of pest control methods available these days, not everyone is so keen on such a proactive approach. Fortunately, there is an all-natural and chemical-free way to keep slugs, snails and other unwanted pests away from your precious plants – eggshells. Simply sprinkle crushed shells around the base of the plants in question and those troublesome creepy crawlies will give them a wide berth.
Having said that, it should be remembered that not all insects are pests – in fact, many of them are far more effective than any herbicide in killing off unwanted visitors. Ladybirds, lacewings, hoverflies and many other predators can keep aphids, caterpillars, mealybugs and countless more pests at bay. Get yourself a bug book and read up on which insects are friends and which are foes.
Though birds generally require more help in feeding during colder months, elevated temperatures can also lead to packed soil, which means they struggle to dig up enough earthworms. Leave some birdfeed out to supplement their diet and add a birdbath (preferably with a fountain or other source of running water) to encourage them to come back – our feathered friends also serve as a superb deterrent to unwelcome critters.
There’s something about handpicking your own vegetables that just makes them taste all the sweeter. If you haven’t already done so, make this summer your debut season in the veg growing world. Broccoli, cabbage, carrots and potatoes are all excellent places to start – just remember to chit (allow to sprout) your potatoes before planting them in order to achieve the best results. The ingenious bulb planter from Wolf Garten makes things even easier by burying your bulbs with the minimum of fuss.
When it comes to your vegetable patch, you should be aware that the more you reap, the more you’ll sow. Harvest your veggies as soon as they’re ready and they’ll continue to produce more yield throughout the whole summer. What’s more, leaving fruit and veg to wither on the vine is a textbook method of attracting insects and other unwanted pests to your garden for a feast. Keep on top of your patch and you’ll enjoy more produce for longer.
A bad workman always blames his tools – but in the case of dirty or damaged gardening utensils, they can actually be the cause of many problems. Dirty secateurs and pruners can transfer bacteria and fungi to open pruning wounds, thus infecting the plants in question. Moreover, a clean and sharp blade will make your job all the easier and keep your implements functional for longer, thus saving you money in the long term. Check out our dirt protector sprays to keep your tools in top condition.
Care and maintenance is all well and good but it can only go so far in prolonging the life of your trowels and transplanters. Once a tool is ready for the scrap heap, accept that fact and replace it immediately. There’s no use in working with faulty or obsolete materials, and with our fantastic range of hand tools, there’s no reason to, either. Make sure you’re fully equipped for the summer by checking your arsenal now.