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Prune, prepare and tidy up

All Areas > Homes & Gardens > In the Garden

Author: Julia Smith, Posted: Wednesday, 25th July 2018, 09:00

We have had the most incredible hot, sunny May, June and July, and everyone has spent more time in their garden than usual this year. It just goes to show how important our plots are – whether they are tiny yards or large rolling lawns – and that they are vital to our well-being as somewhere to sit out and be in the open air.

Put aside time for the necessary garden jobs

If the weather continues as it has been, be sure to keep enjoying the sunshine, but put aside some time to get on with the necessary garden jobs.

In order to create new plants, peg down the runners of strawberries either in the ground or into small pots of potting compost like John Innes No.1. Peg them down using u-shaped bits of wire – cutting up wire coat hangers works well. Keep them watered and, when they have rooted, cut the stem, holding them to the parent plant and replant in a newly prepared strawberry bed.

If you want some spinach to ‘overwinter’, late August is the time to sow it. Do this in a spot in full sun and apply a general fertiliser like Growmore before sowing (100g per square metre) to give it a good start. Follow the directions on the packet for distances, etc.

Keep your tomatoes and peppers consistently moist throughout the growing season or the roots won’t absorb nutrients properly and can get blossom end rot (light brown spots appear at the flower end of the fruit). Only apply a liquid fertiliser when the soil is moist.

Now is the time to prune established fruit cordons, espaliers and fans to help restrict growth, maintain the shape of the tree and promote next year’s fruiting spurs. With clean, sharp secateurs shorten new shoots growing from the trunk or main stems to three leaves. Prune sideshoots growing from established lateral branches to one leaf. Ordinary fruit trees are pruned in the dormant season.

Tidy up climbing roses

August is the time to tidy up climbing and rambling roses after they have flowered. If they are grown over arches or pergolas they can be a real hazard if their shoots are too long and whip around in the wind. The shoots should be pliable when they are young and are best trained around supports in a spiral fashion, which encourages the most flowers. The main pruning will be done in February but this is just to keep them under control.

A nice job to do on a balmy summer evening is deadheading flowers, which prolongs the flowering potential of roses, dahlias, delphiniums, petunias and other plants in your hanging baskets. This can easily be done with a glass of cold wine in hand!

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