Midway through the year, your garden should be beginning to look good. Having done all the hard work in March, April, May; be it your vegetable garden, lawn, shrub borders or bedding plants, they should all be thriving now.
Your lawn should continue to be mowed weekly as growth is at its peak. You may still apply a lawn, weed and feed such as the Golden Vale 3:1. If you are still having problems with weeds in your lawn, you could apply either Verdone or Shell D50 for effective control. Use a grass box to collect your clippings.
In the shrub border, you should keep an eye out for greenfly or any other pests as they occur. Greenfly will seriously affect flowering and growth. Greenfly and Aphids thrive at this time of the year and particularly on soft new growth. They always occur on the underside of the leaf and can be difficult to detect. One of the symptoms is curling of the leaf. Aphids suck the sap out of the leaf and hence it curls up. Take preventative action by spraying with any general insecticide.
Roses should be sprayed with any fungicide for blackspot and mildew, use anything like Roseclear, Benlate, Captan, Nimrod T. etc. Remove any suckers from the rootstocks of roses. These are readily identifiable as they are usually more vigorous than any other growth and look like the stem of a wild rose.
Your vegetable garden should be coming along nicely now with early spuds nearly ready for harvesting in another 2–3 weeks. Onion sets are well up and you could sow a second flush of them now as well. Onions in trays, in plugs are also a handy and quick way of sowing a second crop now also. These could be pulled early as salad onions or left to form a bulb onion. Iceberg lettuce, Lollo Rossa lettuce (nicest flavour and colour of them all) and butterhead lettuce would be nearly ready for harvesting now if sown earlier. You can now sow a second crop from the trays. Other vegetables that could be planted now would be Broccoli, Cauliflower cabbages, round cabbage, all of which we have in trays. Courgettes and marrows in pots and a range of tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. The greatest satisfaction a child or adult who doesn’t do much gardening can get, is by sowing some vegetables, watching them grow, harvesting them and eating them, a great joy.
Bedding plants can still be planted. A lot of the planting has already been done due to the very fine weather we had early on in May. Continue to water and feed anything you already have planted. Take care to water and feed in the early morning or late evening, so as to avoid the sun scorching the plants. This would also apply to house plants inside on sunny windows. You can feed with any liquid feed such as Tomato feed, Miracle Gro, Phostrogen, Bio, etc. These are all basically the same. You could also feed with Osmocote. This is a slow release granular fertiliser which can feed plants over different lengths of time; 2–4 months, 6–8 months, 9–12 months. Osmocote is used by all good nurseries and garden centres in the compost that they mix for plants. They are small yellow bull like pellets of fertiliser. A common mistake people make is to think that they are the eggs of some insect in the compost and try to remove them. Don’t do this and don’t be embarrassed if you have as it is a common mistake.
Finally, I was asked recently what mix we put in our own hanging baskets. It’s a mix of peat, potting compost, osmocote, basiler (a fungicide) and swellgel. Swellgel is a granule or granules that you can mix in your own compost. It absorbs water and can hold many times its own weight in water and helps to prevent drying out, a common problem in hanging baskets.
That’s it for now, for those who will be taking holidays soon, make arrangements for someone to water everything while you are going and avoid the tears and cost of replacement when you get back.
Bosco McDermott, Jnr,
Glynn’s Garden Centre, Lydican