Well I am back in Spain and I have barely seen the inside of the house. I spend my days slaving in the garden, or as my wife calls it hiding from my responsibilities. The late spring rain together with the current extreme heat means that everything has grown like Topsy. The hidden clue in the previous sentences is Harriet Beecher Stowe. See I told you gardening and high literature.
19-20 June: Things I have been doing today.
🚿 Water till you can water no more. Everything is crying out for water in this extreme heat – including me. You should be watering all potted plants (apart from succulents) every day. Only water in the evening or early morning this ensures that the water will have time to penetrate the soil before evaporating. If you have to water in the sunshine make sure you water only the base of the plant never the foliage or the water will act as a magnifier on the leaves and burn them. Plants in the ground and lawns will need to be watered every second or third day. If you have Melons, Pumpkins or Butternut Squash then you need to flood them with water to ensure the fruit swells – I mean nobody wants puny pumpkins.
🍰 Feed your plants weekly. Just as you enjoy nice food, so do your plants. If you don’t feed them they will be stunted and weedy and nobody wants that! But, don’t just feed them any old rubbish, plants like people prefer certain types of food. The photo below shows the range of feed that I use on the different types of plants in my garden. They range from general purpose, tomato, citrus, fruiting, rose and erricaceous.
🥅 Net your fruits. You need to net all your fruits now as they are about to mature. If you don’t then you won’t have a garden, you will have a bird feeding station. I have been netting like a Roman Retiarius (look it up). I have covered fig trees and tomatoes as these are specially relished by all sorts of birds, see photo below, but ignore the state of the tomatoes as my wife was left to look after them for a week. You can use netting or fleece. I prefer netting as it is more robust. However, if you do use netting make sure it is small gauge otherwise there is a danger or birds getting caught. Birds will come and have a look but with bigger gauge nets they can get their head caught. Check your nets every day. See the photos below; as a Christian I have become a fisher of figs, I think this is mentioned somewhere in the Bible.
⚔️ Cut back overgrowing hedges. Normally I only cut back my hedges once a year in January. However, because of the excellent growing conditions this year is an exception. I have a large mixed hedges of Plumbago, Hibiscus, Bignonia, Roses, Pink Trumpet, Bougainville and a self seeded Pomegranate. I let all of them happily fight for space and they reward us with a beautiful show of flower all the summer. However, as the hedge borders a lawn there was the danger of overshadowing and killing some grass areas. Using my trusty hedge trimmer I just took off the leading edge of each plant this saves the grass and also ensures that the plants will continue to flower all summer. When cutting back this time of year make such you do not go into brown wood as you will lose flowering for this summer and may irreparably damage the plant. See the before and after photos below. From the after photo you can see damaged areas of lawn which may grow back, but more likely will require re-seeding in the Autumn.
🌵 Strim your lawn edges. It’s too hot to cut your lawn short as you will just end up with a scorched desert effect, so leave the grass a little bit longer. If you want your lawn to look neat just strim the edges. The photo below shows an edge of my lawn before I strimmed it back. You should see it now, I have been approached by Wimbledon about hosting the men’s finals!