June 2013 Newsletter

June – finally we can relax a bit and enjoy the results of all the hard work over the last couple of months. Now it’s just keeping on top of weeding, watering and feeding where necessary but also make time to enjoy the fruits of your labours too - so relax, sit down with a nice cup of tea (or in my case an even better glass of wine!) and just enjoy what you have achieved over the last few months. First early potatoes, peas and asparagus should all be cropping now. Flower borders are bursting with lush growth and colour to remind us summer has finally arrived!

Happy gardening!

If you are constantly exasperated by pigeons, rabbits and other grazing animals snacking on all your young plants and have you tried just about everything you can think of to deter them but still they manage to chomp away on your borders and vegetable patch. We have found the perfect antidote to your problem Grazers is an effective solution as it makes the plants very unpalatable to pigeons, rabbits, geese and deer. It is applied to the plant foliage where it is absorbed systemically through the leaf of the growing plant. Grazers has proved very successful with farmers and growers and has only recently been offered in sizes suitable for the home gardener.

Because it is nutrient based, it can be sprayed safely on ornamentals, shrubs, bedding, fruit or vegetables and lawns. The product is absorbed through the leaf, stimulating plant growth and helping repair any damage already caused. It is odourless to the human nose, and safe for pets. In most cases a single treatment is effective but 2 or 3 applications will allow Grazers to build up within the plant. Being trace element based it is beneficial to the plant and can be sprayed safely even on young plants at the earliest growth stage.

If the last thing on your mind in summer is sowing vegetable seed for autumn and winter, the ideal solution for you could be Marshalls Young Vegetable Plants they have been grown to the planting out stage by our expert grower - all you have to do is dibble a hole, pop them in, water well and watch them grow! They can be planted into any space where earlier crops have finished.

Brassica Collections are always very popular but we also have many other varieties to give you even more flexibility. There are lots to choose from why not try Hardy Autumn and Winter Salad Plants for great tasting cool season salads. There are plenty of varieties to keep you going right through to next May!

VegQuick growing crops such as Lettuce and Radish can be sown as a catch crop between Sweetcorn or Brassica plants. They will be ready to harvest well before they are overshadowed by their larger neighbours and will make full use of all available space. If you are fond of Watercress have a go at growing your own, it is so easy to grow in a large pot, Watercress Aqua germinates quickly and all you need to do is keep the compost moist by standing the pot in a saucer of water, top the saucer up daily and just watch it grow! As well as being very tasty it is also extremely good for you and is packed with cancer-fighting vitamins and minerals. Gram for gram, Watercress contains more vitamin C than oranges, more calcium than milk, and more iron than spinach!

Keep cropping Lettuce, Radish, Spring Onions, Spring Cabbage and Asparagus spears. By making short, repeat sowings of Salad Crops every couple of weeks you will have a good supply all summer. It’s amazing how much you can get from a two or three feet row of a cut and come again salads, you can begin to crop when the leaves are only three inches tall and they grow equally well in a container


Don’t forget to keep monitoring the slug population – June is prime time for them and they can decimate a crop overnight! Brassicas, Lettuce and other particularly susceptible varieties can be covered with Extra Fine Insect Netting which will protect your vulnerable crops from a whole host of nasties including whitefly, aphids, carrot root fly, cabbage white butterfly, cutworm, birds and rabbits. It can lie directly on to the crop but better protection is offered if it is placed over a support. The mesh is re-usable and will last for years.

Biological Controls are also very effective Nemaslug consists of millions of tiny nematodes – microscopic worms which kill slugs above and below ground. You just water in and they are completely harmless to birds, animals and children. Nemasys has the same effect on the larvae of Vine Weevil – the scourge of the container gardener! Drench the compost with the Nematode solution and you will have protection until autumn. An autumn drench will destroy all larvae that hatched during summer.

Butterflies will be out and about now too, they may be pretty to look at but keep an eye out for the eggs on the undersides of your brassica leaves that will quickly emerge as caterpillars and devastate the plant! You can squash them (not a very nice job!) or wipe them off at this stage. The simplest thing is to cover the plants with Insect Netting or alternatively try Nemasys Grow Your Own Pest Control which is a unique mix of different nematode species which targets a broad range of pests. Especially for the home gardener, it has been specifically researched to combat caterpillars, carrot root fly, cabbage root fly, leatherjackets, cutworms, onion fly, ants, sciarid fly, gooseberry sawfly, thrips, and codling moth.


If you’ve had a slow start with your hanging baskets with such a late growing season or if your plants have been side-swiped by a late frost don’t despair, there is still time for you to enjoy a great display with our New Colour Themed Basket and Container Collections. They will give a designer-style display with lots of impact but minimum work! Not only that but we are offering the great bonus of a Buy One Get One Free offer!

The collections all have a unique mix of 9 selected plants including trailing geraniums, fuchsia, petunias along with other foliage and flowering plants. Choose your favourites from our superb themes, Cool Blues, Fire and Ice, Purple Haze, and a Traditional Basket Mix.

 

In the greenhouse keep pinching the side shoots of Cordon Tomatoes to channel the plant's energy into producing fruit rather than foliage. The earlier the side shoots are removed the more energy will go into producing fruit, try to do it at least once a week otherwise you’ll find they are suddenly a foot long!

Once the first truss has set – when you can see first little tomatoes beginning to form – it’s time to start feeding. Tomatoes are greedy plants and to get the best and juiciest fruits you need a good tomato feed. Nutri Tomato Food is a high nutrient formula with a wide range of benefits. It contains Vita-Boost a natural plant extract and encourages early flowering, ripening and heavy cropping.

Greenhouses can get really hot in bright summer sun so keep the vents and door open unless it is really windy, to keep the air flowing around the plants. Use Shade Netting to protect plants from scorching by direct overhead sunlight. Damp down the floor by splashing with water on very hot days or use a hand-held mist sprayer to increase humidity.

 

If the weather is hot and dry do not neglect to water all young Veg Plants. One good soaking to the roots every week is preferable to a little splash here and there – as this only promotes surface roots, which dry out much quicker. A good deep soak occasionally will encourage the roots to go deeper to find water, and will give them a much better chance of survival during periods of drought. It is important to catch as much rain as possible and a Water Butt is an absolute must in any garden, you can position it anywhere there is a down pipe, be it garage, house, shed or greenhouse. I have two butts one on the back of the garage and one on the shed - I use this one mostly to top up my wildlife pond in the summer when levels begin to drop.


Thin out the young fruits on Peach and Nectarine trees, leaving only one fruit every 4-6 inches. This will ensure better and larger fruit with more flavour. Leave the thinning of apple trees until after the ‘June drop’, which is a naturally occurring process in which some of the smallest fruit will drop to leave the strongest to develop. If the tree still has too much fruit after this, thin to one or two fruits every 4-6 inches.

If wall trained Apple and Pear trees are becoming too vigorous shorten the leaders and side-shoots to divert more energy into the production of fruit rather than lots of weaker stems. Keep all wall trained fruit trees well watered they can easily miss out on even the heaviest rain if they are in a sheltered position. Help them to retain water by providing a thick mulch of compost around the tree. Rake in a handful of Organic Extra before applying your mulch to boost good growth.

 

 


Cover soft fruit with Bird Netting to avoid competing with birds for your Strawberries, Raspberries and Blackberries - once they find them to their liking they will keep returning to grab your fruit before you get the chance! Lay straw or protective mats under strawberry plants to keep ripening fruit clean and free from disease. Tie in the young stems of Raspberries, Blackberries and Hybrid Berries to prevent wind damage and make the fruit easier to pick later on. Gooseberry bushes will benefit from thinning of the fruit if branches are carrying an excess, you can use the small fruits in pies, leaving the rest to mature on the bush.

If you grow a lot of fruit it might be an idea to invest in a Fruit Cage, at the end of the day they can save you a lot of work – and a lot of fruit!


Squash, Pumpkins, Courgettes and Marrows should all be planted outside now, and also plant out indoor sown winter Brassicas, Artichokes and Sweetcorn as soon as they have a strong enough root system, plant your Sweetcorn in a block rather than in rows to encourage better wind pollination. It isn’t too late to sow French and Runner Beans directly into the soil, it is warm enough for them to grow away quickly - they will crop a bit later but will still give a good harvest. Sow Beetroot, Maincrop Carrots, Florence Fennel, Rocket, Spring Onions, Salad Leaves and Kohl Rabi. June is the perfect time to grow Oriental Veg they will just romp away in the warm soil, but do keep them all well watered if the weather is dry.

Keep hoeing between your plants to keep on top of the weeds which will compete with your veg for water and nutrients – hoeing regularly little and often will keep on top of most weeds and prevent them from setting seed. The Great Little Weeder is especially useful if you have Raised Beds and tend to grow your plants a bit closer together, (as I do) it is small enough to get between the narrowest rows without chopping down any of your precious plants!