From pond clearing to summer blooms
Keep your pond in top condition
Ponds and other water features also need some care in July and August to keep them healthy and looking good.
Look out for any yellowing leaves on water lilies and other water plants and remove them promptly. Allowing them to fall off and rot in the water will decrease water quality. Remove blanket weed with a net or rake to let oxygen into your pond. Remember to give aquatic life a chance to get back to the water by piling the weed next to the pond for a day. Top up water levels. Water can evaporate rapidly from water features and ponds in the height of summer, so top them up if the water level drops significantly. Rainwater from a water butt is best – chemicals in tap water can affect the nutrient balance in the pond.
Encourage summer flowers
Cut back early flowering perennials to the ground and they will send up fresh leaves and maybe even some extra late-summer flowers.
Give them a boost after pruning with a good soak of water and some tomato feed.
Exploit plants’ desperate need to set seed by removing blooms as they fade. Remember that plants in containers are dependent on you for their water as they will get little benefit from any rain. Give them a good soak at least once a day in sunny weather.
Houseplants: holiday care
Most houseplants will tolerate a few days’ absence without suffering, but absences of more than a week call for some creative measures to provide valuable moisture in the right quantity.
This method is useful for large single pot plants. Use a large container to hold water, and a piece of capillary matting as a wick. Insert one end of the wick into the reservoir and tuck the other end into the plant pot. This will enable the plant to draw on the water reserves in the reservoir.
Feed your lawn
For many of us the lawn is the centrepiece to the garden that sets off everything else. As long as there is no drought, it’s worth feeding the lawn regularly. During dry weather, raise the blades on your lawn mower to allow the grass to grow a little bit longer. This will keep it greener and help it retain moisture. Don’t panic if your grass does turn brown as it will soon green up again when the rain returns.
Get a bumper vegetable harvest
Now is the time to reap of lot of what you’ve sown, but remember there’s still time to plant extra crops.
Keep an eye on the watering and your fingers crossed for sunny summer days. Catch veg while it is at its peak and harvest it regularly rather than leaving it to go woody or bitter-tasting. Remember that if you have more of something than you want to eat or store, it’s just as useful to recycle it by adding it to the compost heap.
Limit tomato growth by pinching out the growing tip of your cordon tomato plant when it reaches the roof of the greenhouse. Pinch out the side-shoots as they develop.
Veg to sow outdoors in July include beetroot, carrots, dwarf French beans, lettuce, radishes and runner beans.
Sow beetroot, carrots, dwarf French beans, lettuce, radishes and runner beans.