Our faithful Gnome is back with his seasonal wisdom for summer
Suddenly its summer! Sunshine and warmth brings rapid growth; lots of nitrogen and potassium will have been washed out so a bit of a boost is required, especially for fruiting and flowering crops and other plants. We can top dress with seaweed meal and organic potassium, and we can liquid and foliar feed too: home-made comfrey and nettle liquid or organic tomato feed.
The weeds will be growing strongly too: hoe, hoe, hoe!
If you haven’t planted out seedlings e.g. beans, courgettes, sweet-corn, get them in quick, and you can now sow them directly into the ground; water well on planting then draw dry soil around them to prevent evaporation and deter molluscs. Successional sowing of dwarf beans, lettuce, beetroot etc. can be done now. It’s still a bit early to plant out leeks; maybe wait until early spuds are harvested, then plant them 6 inches deep in the freshly dug and weeded soil when they are about the thickness of a pencil. [Late June or early July.]
We may be able to start harvesting baby new potatoes, carrots, beetroots, broad beans, peas, lettuce and other salad crops as well as Japanese onions planted in the autumn. Also its time to plant out cabbages, Brussels sprouts, artichokes and cardoons.
Remember to leave as little bare soil as possible, sow green manure if you have nothing to transplant; buckwheat, fenugreek, phacelia, trefoil, mustard (a brassica so be careful where it goes in terms of crop rotation). Put a mulch on moist soil to preserve moisture and prevent weeds.
Hedges can be trimmed once the birds have left their nests and the flowers are over, unless you want the berries. Any shrubs, fruit trees and bushes planted during the last year need watering during dry spells.
Prune shrubs that have flowered already. Next year’s flowers grow on stems made over this summer; the rule of thumb is: if it flowers before midsummer then cut back after flowering; if it flowers after midsummer cut back in early spring [flowers form on fresh fronds].
Remember to relax and enjoy yourself!