First and foremost the garden and terrace pots need watering. It may seem quite obvious but there are still silly little quirks that escape us. On the terrace for example the pots themselves will feel warm to the touch so it is not difficult to imagine the condition of the soil and with that, the roots of your potted plants.
There are some plants that you may well notice are drooping by the afternoon so it won’t do any harm to give them a careful drink. I admit that I frequently say ‘never water in full sunshine’ but this is a matter of just a top up and be sure not to wet the leaves, just make sure the water runs directly down into the roots.
Here is where a good drip tray comes into its own, if this is always kept topped up with water then the plants in the pot will rarely droop. The garden itself is another matter, a light sprinkle of water everywhere is nowhere near enough water at this time of year, it all needs a regular really good soaking to make sure the water drains down to the roots.
This once again we are recommended to do in the evening when the sun will be going down and the water will not evaporate before your very eyes but soak down into the ground where you want it to go.
The only area that I can think of that really enjoys full sunshine watering is the Bermuda grass lawn, this is something else, it grows almost before your very eyes but really looks lush and green but as a result demands much more frequent cutting so there we go the full circle of watering, growing, cutting, producing masses of grass cuttings for the compost heap.
You can even use a sprinkle of these grass cuttings as a mulch over the garden to help keep the weeds down and feed the worms who love to come to the surface to pull down the odd grass cutting. Not that we will ever see this happen but at least that is what we are told to do in the gardening books .
Lots could be happening in the vegetable garden with Courgettes and Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Peppers and Aubergines if you have them all planted up. You can even sow a few more vegetables with care and frequent watering.
I was asked this week by a reader how she could cope with whole packets of some seeds where one ends up with a real glut. In this case just continue to sow the seeds every few weeks to stagger the end result of too many ready for harvesting all at the same time.
The Ramallet Tomato that is known more here in Mediterranean gardens than in the north will be ripening now and carefully picked with a little bit of stem on it to tie it up by will be the start of keeping this tomato hanging as one would a string of onions. It is essential that this tomato is harvested before any of the summer rains. Admittedly rain seems the last we can expect these days.
We don’t always consider all the different varieties of the tomato some given the name of their shape, pear and cherry for starters then come the salad and keeping ones. They do require regular watering and some feeding to enhance this summer ripening fruit.
Again a reader brought a tomato to show me its brown dried patches, this is frequently the result of poor watering, the brown patches are often on the bottom end of the tomato as it hangs on the vine and is referred to as ‘ blossom end rot’ which appears after infrequent watering. Unsightly splits around the tomato are also a result of infrequent watering . So here we revert to our opening comments today, water, and continue watering now that the heat of the summer months has truely arrived.
There will be some crops such as the peas and bean family that are over so the plant can be pulled up altogether because it won’t produce any more but you can plant up again with new seed, it is a growing season all year round here.
Broad beans always used to be a commercial crop and when finally harvested were burnt off with the ash being high in potassium to be ploughed back into the field but, and here is the big BUT , there are to be no more bonfires as from about two months ago as there is always the risk of run-away fires, even a spark can easily catch alight and no matter how prepared one is with water or hose pipes there are to be no fires unless they are totally contained in a proper incinerator.
Look after your ripening grapes on the vine, they frequently pick up a fungal or mildew disease about now so prepare an anti mildew repellent to avoid it contacting your own vine. A garden centre will advise you as to the best product to use.