No I am not talking about Johnny Depp’s solicitors, but the jobs you should be doing now in your garden; oh and looking after chickens of which there is more later. Summer is now in full swing and there are some jobs you need to be doing every day if you want to stay on top of things. But before that some of the things I never got time to post before Open Garden Day took up all my time.
The things I did a little while ago and forgot to tell you:
Planting Loofahs. Regular readers of this blog will remember that I grew Loofahs last year for the first time, and they were such a success with Cruella (my wife) and her friends from the Coven where they were in such demand for their skin smoothing properties and efficient removal of nose warts.
You will remeber that I planted the seeds in March and it was time to pot them up. Loofah do not like their roots to be disturbed so I always plant them in 4 inch pots before carefully transferring them to a larger pot – two to a pot. Loofahs love full sun, lots of water and a weekly feed. The first photo below shows my loofahs ready for potting. The second shows the extensive roots and the next photo shows the loofahs in position ready to grow through my balustrade. And finally the loofahs as they are now. Click on each photo for a larger view.
Planting up my new flower bed. Regular readers will remember that I created a new flower bed a month or so ago. This was now ready to be planted up with mini sunflowers, Marigolds and Gazanias all grown from seed. The first photo below shows the planting in process. Followed by the newly completed bed and then a photo I took just the other day. The final photo shows the mini sunflowers stripped of their lower leaves to allow light into the underplanting. This process does not weaken the sunflower as the top layer of leaves are the important ones. Click on each photo for a larger view.
8th June. Things I have been doing lately:
Now, that our we are up to date it is time to settle down into the routine maintenance work that will sustain your garden through the summer so here we go.
Waging war on weeds. People often say to me that they don’t worry about weeds as the summer sun soon dries them all up. I hate to tell you this, but you better keep up your weeding otherwise all those weeds will flower, turn to seed, and their offspring will revisit you for a thousand generations. The best time to weed is in the morning, when the soil is slightly damp with dew, or even better after rain. Your first line of defence is to hoe regularly. But when you do have to hand weed between plants, don’t just pluck the leaves off the weed, instead grip it firmly at the base and wiggle it around till you can free the roots and extract the whole plant. I’m not showing any photos of weeds, you know what they look like.
Feeding plants. Just as you cannot survive on one meal a year, the same is true of plants. Now that we are in peak growing season, a regular weekly feed will make your plants healthy and vibrant. The photo below shows the variety of plant foods that I use. But I do not want you to get hung up about the different types. A standard universal feed will be ok for most plants. It is only old fuss pots like me that prefer to use specialised feeds.
The feeds shown can all be bought in normal garden centres. Left to right they are:
- Ordhid feed
- Fruiting plants feed
- Universal feed
- Granular longer lasting universal feed (can be scattered in flower beds)
- A mix of iron that I add a glug to all feeds
- Geranium feed
- Acid lovers feed
- Citrus feed
Deadhead if you want more flowers. Deadheading is the Cinderella of gardeners chores. A lot of people don’t bother as they think it takes up too much time, but if you do it then your plants will be become showy princesses. The first thing to do is grow your thumbnails long. This is an important tip as it saves you the time going to the shed to fetch your secateurs. Instead you merely nip spent flower heads off between your thumb and forefinger. The photo below shows my thumbnail ready for action together with those of my wife (Cruella). Click on each photo for a larger view.
Deadheading should be a daily job now that Summer is in full swing, and your reward will be abundant repeat flowering. Different plants are deadheaded in different ways. Dipladenia, which have become very popular in Spain are deadheaded by pulling spent flowers gently from the stem. Marigolds should have their first sets of buds pinched out between thumb and forefinger to encourage bushy growth and mass flowering, once flowered then deadhead rigorously. Dianthus and carnations should be nipped between thumb and forefinger and of course roses should be done with secateurs by taking back to the next viable bud node. The photos below show deadheading in action; and you thought Tom Cruise in Top Gun Maverick was the hight of thrills, gardening beats it every time. Click on each photo for a larger view.
Taking care of chickens. And who says men can’t multi task. Cruella (my wife) has flown back to our English house to spend all her time cuddling and sniffing the idiot son. She has foolishly left me and Tango the blind Labrador in charge of her fancy chickens. This has added 3 hours to the end of my already busy days as I try to round up the chickens and make them go to bed.
I have tried various techniques, bribery with food, creeping up on them, involving friends as chicken wranglers and rounding them up with Tango the blind Labrador. The last of these has been the least successful as Tango and I have charged around, him bumping into trees and knocking me over whilst the chickens flee in every direction. To be fair it is not Tangos fault he cant see the chickens, they can see him and all he gets is me shouting ever more frantic instructions that I have recycled from “One Man and his Dog” the TV programme about shepherds; and I have no idea what “come by” means.
The photo below shows the chickens in action and poor old Tango lying exhausted after our nightly efforts. Click on each photo for a larger view.