Richard's top tips for June
Top toms. For a bumper crop of tasty tomatoes, start feeding them with Flower Power as soon as the first fruits begin to form. Feed outdoor tomatoes once a week but indoor toms need feeding two, or even better, three times a week. Don’t let the plants dry out or the fruits may split.
Colurful clematis. Keep these lovely climbers well watered during the summer and give them a feed with rose fertilizer to boost flowering. In hot sunny spots, sprinkle some compost or bark chips around the base to keep the roots moist and cool.
Summer bedding. The last of the summer bedding should be planted out now. Water it in with Young Plant Food to help the plants establish faster and a few days later start feeding with Flower Power. As the plants flower, take off any finished blooms to stop them from going to seed.
Clip shape. Leylandii, privet and lonicera hedges can be trimmed back now, and then once more later in the summer. But if you’ve a beech or yew hedge, don’t cut it until July.
Grassed off. Compost heaps can get swamped with grass clippings at this time of year – turning black and smelly. To stop this, add layers of shredded or scrunched up balls of newspaper when emptying the grass onto the heap.
Bean feast. Once the broad beans start to develop pods, pinch out the tops of the plants. This boosts the crop and helps keep blackfly at bay.
Do a runner. Strawberry plants produce their best crops in the first two years. After that, it’s best to replace them with fresh plants in early autumn. The cheapest way to do this is to grow your own from runners – shoots with young plants attached – that the older plants are producing now. Root the runners in soil or compost and they’ll be the perfect size by September.
Ravishing roses. For better and healthier roses, give them a feed with rose fertiliser and keep them well watered. Spray with Bayer Systhane at the first signs of mildew, blackspot or rust.
Pump action. Pond pumps should be checked every fortnight in the summer to make sure they’re not getting clogged up with leaves, blanket weed or silt at the bottom of the pond.
Lovely lilies. Give pot grown lilies a big boost before they flower by feeding them once a week with high potash fertilizer like liquid tomato food.
Cool it. Greenhouses can get very hot at this time of year. Help keep the temperature down by shading the glass with netting, blinds or Coolglass which is painted on. Watering the floor regularly also helps and the extra humidity deters red spider mite.
Sow good. For cheap colour that looks good for years, sow seeds of perennial plants like aquilegias, lupins, delphiniums and achillea. The young seedlings can be planted out in the garden in early autumn and will start flowering from next year onwards.
Top pots. The nutrients in potting compost usually runs out after a month so recently planted hanging baskets, window-boxes and containers will need feeding from now, ideally twice a week with a high potash feed like Flower Power.
Blitz whitefly. Keep this pest off tomatoes and other patio veg by growing pots of marigolds or basil next to them. In greenhouses you can also use Agralan yellow sticky traps which are cheap and surprisingly effective.
Lovelier lupins. When lupins and delphiniums have finished blooming, cut off the old flower spikes. Feed the plants with rose fertiliser, keep well watered and, with luck, they should flower again later in the summer.
Luscious lawns. If you’ve the time, try to mow your lawn twice a week during the summer. It’ll look and grow better. In hot spells, once a week should do, but don’t cut too closely – set the blades to cut at 1.5in. Also feed once a month with Lawn Magic for a stronger, healthier and better looking lawn.
Houseplant heaven. Give your houseplants a real treat. Pop them in the garden for the summer. They’ll flourish in a sheltered spot. Don’t worry about the occasional shower of rain – it’ll wash clean their leaves.
Cherry aid. Fruiting cherry trees will begin to ripen soon – and that’s when the birds start flocking and before you know it, they’ve munched most of the crop. Keep them at bay by covering the tree in netting or fleece.
Sow go. It may well be mid-summer but now’s the time to start thinking of next year! Sow seeds of wallflowers, forget-me-nots, pansies and Sweet William for lots of cheap and very cheerful colour for next spring.
Harvest herbs. For the best flavour, pick herbs early in the day when they are fresh, not wilting from the summer heat, and try to avoid using flowering shoots if possible.