Just doing a few simple tasks in the garden now will save precious time and pay dividends this summer, my top tips are easy to follow and really not too arduous.
A weed isn’t just a plant in the wrong place, they compete with other plants for nutrients and moisture in the soil and can overwhelm more delicate plants. Most weeds have grown big enough to recognise by now, dig them up before they spread and become even more of a problem. See tips 4 and 5, if you’re left with patches of bare soil.
Permanant planting has to soldier on in the same soil year after year, give it a boost and you’ll be rewarded with lovelier, healthier plants. Carefully remove a couple of inches of soil from the surface, take care not do damage the roots, and replace it with some new compost. Generally the best type for containers is a mix of loam-based compost, such as John Innes No 2, and a lighter one such as multi-purpose compost. You can also add slow a release fertiliser at the same time.
3. EDGE THE LAWN:
Use a sharp spade or a special half-moon edging tool if you have one, to re-define the edge of the lawn. It won’t last all summer, but you’ll be surprised at what a difference this simple task will make, giving the garden a nice, crisp finish.
4. FILL GAPS IN THE BORDER WITH ANNUAL SEEDS:
Weeds will quickly colonize a bare patch of soil, so fill any gaps with hardy annual seeds before they get the chance. An annual is a plant that only lasts a year, its’ mission in life is to set seed, so it quickly grows, and flowers and is perfect for this purpose. Hardy annuals such as poppies, calendula ( english marigolds) Californian poppies ( Escholzia californica), Love in a mist (Nigella damascena) or Cleome chilensis are all really easy. You could also sow some patches of mixed salad leaves, very ornamental as well as edible. Sow seeds in straight lines so you can distinguish them from weeds.
This means simply spreading a layer of organic material such as home-grown compost or soil-improver over the surface of damp soil. It improves the soil structure so that the soil doesn’t dry out too quickly, and also supresses weeds. It’s best done before the growing canopy of existing plants makes the job too difficult.
Get hold of some herb plants to use in your summer cooking. My favourites are Thyme, it’s lovely with fish or chicken dishes, Rosemary for lamb and burgers and Chives to perk up a tomato salad.
Most herbs prefer to grow in sunny positions in well drained soil, plant in containers if you haven’t got the right conditions.
Have you got any top tips for the garden to share?