• IvyShepherd

Pumpkins for Hallowe’en - This week in the garden

Weekly advice to keep your garden looking good all year round

June is a fantastic month in the garden. There is so much going on and still so much that we can sow and grow.

There is still time to sow flower seeds as the warmer weather means easier and quicker germination. Our perennials are putting on so much new growth that the flowers are blooming daily now.

With so much growing at the moment, we will need to attend to some routine maintenance of our plants. Not to mention the regular feeding to ensure flowering all summer long and keeping on top of weeds, which are now quite literally having a field day.

As well as feeding and weeding, there is the regular deadheading to do. Not least is this important for our sweet peas. Regular deadheading of these encourages them to flower more, rather than the plant putting all it’s energy into producing a seed pod. So get picking those lovely, fragrant sweet peas for your home.

In the meantime, here are some gardening jobs to keep you busy in the next week to come.

Protect your fruit Growing your own fruit is second to none. But if you’ve ever tried to grow your own and find that the birds get there first, you’ll know how important this one is.

Fruit trees, strawberries, gooseberries and currants will all need some sort of protection if you’re to outfox the birds this summer. There are many different methods to use for this, including using decoys to scare birds away, putting up windchimes as they don’t like the noise or hanging CDs to confuse the birds when they are reflected in the light.

One of the most effective ways though is to net the fruit to prevent the birds from stealing your fruit. Simply drape the netting over your trees or fruit bushes and tie it all together at the bottom.

The jays get my cherries every year and the pigeons and blackbirds love my strawberries, but no matter. I’m happy to share with the birds.

Sow pumpkins for Hallowe’en Pumpkins and squashes are easy and fun to grow. Imagine growing your own pumpkin for Hallowe’en.

If you get sowing seeds now, you could grow your very own pumpkin in time for October 31st. Sow the seeds outside where you want them to grow. They will need to be covered for a few weeks after the seeds have germinated.

Pumpkins need lots of sun, water and shelter, as they don’t like cold winds. And once you start to see the fruits form, they love a good feed too every fortnight.

Keep an eye on them and ensure that you harvest before the first frost. Never easy to judge. Otherwise, if the frost gets to them, the pumpkin cannot be stored. Happy carving, folks!

Water young plants Now that the weather is warming up, some of our plants will need a bit more water.

In particular young plants, such as seedlings, will struggle in the heat as they have not established themselves yet. Watering early morning or in the evening is better, rather than in the hot temperatures of the middle of the day. And we mustn’t forget our veg plants, especially tomatoes, as they will be putting on lots of new growth at the moment and will need more water to ripen and swell their fruits.

Regular watering of tomatoes is key, as they can suffer due to inconsistencies in their watering. Not enough water, overwatering, or sometimes a combination of the two can result in blossom end rot or lead to the skin of the tomatoes splitting.

I will be checking regularly on the moisture of the compost for my tomatoes. I will also feed them every ten to fourteen days with a tomato feed once the fruits start to show.

Prune summer-flowering shrubs If you have a summer-flowering shrub in your garden, such as a Philadelphus or Weigela, you can prune these back once they have finished flowering. This will actually help them in future years to keep them healthy and flowering well.

The first thing is to remove any dead, damaged or diseased stems. Then you can shape the shrub to ensure a nice, open structure. Cut back these stems to an outward-facing bud.

It is best to prune back stems that have been rubbing against others, as this can eventually let disease in. Happy pruning, gardeners!

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