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YOUR MONTHLY GARDENING DIARY

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GARDENING DIARY FOR JULY 2013



It’s holiday time and your garden should be looking in peak condition for family ‘at-home’ weekends and to impress your summer visitors.

The lawn should be lush green and a joy to lie on. But most of all it should provide an attractive foil to all the beautiful flowers that should be in full bloom in your borders or in patio containers.

Watering is the main job of the month – without a hose pipe or watering can you will be struggling to keep a rich variety of plants thriving as we should have good periods of warm, sunny weather to look forward to. Remember to organise for a neighbour to take over the task if you are going away for more than a weekend.




PATIO GARDENING


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The roots of flowers, fruit and vegetables that you planted in patio containers will be growing strongly and may well have used up all the nutrients commonly found in an ordinary multipurpose compost. If that’s the case you will need to start supplementary feeding so that the plants can draw on balanced nutrients to keep growing and flowering until the first winter frosts.

If you invested in a modern enriched compost, such as Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Compost, you will already know that it contains enough nutrients to give background feeding for six months and will absorb more water than ordinary products. But if not, you will need to start feeding right away.

You can perk up plants in existing pots and hanging baskets with weekly applications of Miracle-Gro Soluble Plant Food. If you have a box of traditional blue crystals in your garden shed then it's an easy job to dilute a tablespoonful in a watering can to feed and water in the traditional way. For best results apply in the evening when the sun is low so that you can safely wet the leaves of your plants as well as the compost. The foliar feeding benefit of Miracle-Gro helps to feed almost instantly.

Nowadays, the quickest and easiest way of feeding your hanging baskets and patio pots is with a hose-end applicator that feeds as easily as it waters. Miracle-Gro LiquaFeed is really simple to use. Just connect to your garden hose and twist in a bottle of concentrated liquid feed and away you go. There's a circular adjustment of the spray pattern from jet to shower to a flat stream and a separate control that adjusts the flow from plain water to ready dissolved liquid plant food. There's no mixing, no measuring and no mess. With LiquaFeed plants get the right balance of water and feed so they can grow twice as big as unfed plants. If you want to learn more before you buy then use the internet to see a demonstration on www.lovethegarden.com.

Fruit and vegetables growing in containers on the patio will continue to need feeding. Tomatoes and other fruiting plants deserve weekly feeds with a high potash feed such as Tomorite, while green, leafy plants appreciate the higher nitrogen formulation of Miracle-Gro All Purpose Soluble Plant Food.

Fruit and vegetables growing in containers on the patio will continue to need feeding. Tomatoes and other fruiting plants deserve weekly feeds with a high potash feed such as Tomorite, while green, leafy plants appreciate the higher nitrogen formulation of Miracle-Gro All Purpose Soluble Plant Food.


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EXPERT GARDENING TIP

When you see a line of ants marching around the house, instead of trying to find the nest, simply put an Ant Stop! Bait Station directly in the run. This enclosed container holds an attractive ant killer that the workers carry back to the nest that will kill the whole colony.




THE ORNAMENTAL GARDEN

Many herbaceous and perennial plants will have produced their first summer flush of flowers and will need dead-heading to encourage the development of more buds. So too will annual plants such as alstroemeria and godetia. If you allow plants to set seed they think their work is over for the year. By removing these seed heads you can often stimulate further flushes of blooms on roses, bedding plants and herbaceous perennials. Simply remove all faded flowers without removing any foliage.

sweetbox
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In warm weather roses and other flowers are often attacked by powdery mildew disease, especially on fresh, young leaves. If you see the first signs of this disease or the first spots that indicate they have rose blackspot, you need to spray the foliage thoroughly with a systemic fungicide.

RoseClear Ultra and its ready-to-use partner RoseClear Ultra Gun! are designed to give all round protection to this queen of plants and will at the same time kill off any greenfly that may be hidden on the foliage. Alternatively you can spray FungusClear Ultra Gun! Feeding is as important as the dead-heading of faded blooms. When carried out together, these two actions will encourage fresh growth and many more beautiful blooms. Flowering shrubs that blossom in early summer such as weigela, philadelphus and jasmine will benefit if you cut back flowering shoots to strong new growth immediately after all the flowers have faded. By encouraging new growth like this you will ensure the plant carries flowers all over the plant instead of just at the top. To give these shrubs the energy to produce plenty of flower-bearing stems, dress around the roots with Miracle-Gro Rose & Shrub Plant Food. If your plant seems very shy to produce flowers at all instead dress the soil at root area with Miracle-Gro Sulphate of Potash Fruit & Flower Enhancer.

After feeding any shrub apply a mulch layer of chipped bark around the root area using Levington Water Saving Decorative Bark. This will not only prevent unnecessary loss of moisture by evaporation, but will also help to prevent germination of weeds.

EXPERT GARDENING TIP

Keep weeds under control between flowers and shrubs with Weedol Gun! Max. You can see the weedkilling effect in just a few hours.




LAWN CARE

Unless you have started artificial watering, the look of your lawn will reflect the previous weather. If June has seen a fair amount of rain it should be looking good, but only if you fed the grass in spring. It will look even better in July if you give it a triple-action summer treatment that will give the colour a boost and at the same time kill weeds and any moss that is present.

The trusted brand choice of millions of gardeners each year is EverGreen Complete because it can be applied so easily either from a hand-held shaker container or a wheeled spreader. The dividing line between the two is usually drawn if your lawn is larger than 100 square metres (120 sq. yards). Up to that point you just need one handy shaker jar to treat the average sized lawn, but any bigger and it becomes economical to invest in a wheeled spreader that will spread bags of granules evenly and accurately over large areas. Most economical is the EverGreen Easy Spreader + with a wide hopper that treats a strip that is 53cm (21”) wide. If you intend to apply a wide variety of materials to your lawn, than an adjustable spreader like the EvenGreen Drop Spreader is the one for you. The settings can be varied easily and gives accurate application.

If the soil is dry, water your lawn a couple of day before you treat it with any dry granules. This will reduce any risk of scorching, and ensure that the weeds are actively growing so they readily absorb the weedkillers present in each tiny granule. Pick a dry day so the granules are not washed off the broad leaves of the weeds and have time to kill them off. For the same reason keep children and pets off the lawn until the granules have been watered in by rain or by you 2 days after application. Avoid scattering granules over plants in nearby borders and leave at least a couple of days before and after application before mowing.

As the summer runs on you may find that regular walking across the lawn in the same place is wearing a natural path. The lawn grasses that are trampled regularly will naturally become thin and short, exposing open soil ready for the invasion of weeds. This sort of action will ruin the look of a good lawn and indicates that a permanent path is long overdue.

You can find attractive stepping stones at your local nursery or garden centre. Place them on the top of the grass to get the spacing correct - not too close together and not too far apart - so that stepping is natural. Cut round the edges of each stone with a spade or half moon edging tool. Lift the stepping stone and using a spade, lift out a section of the turf. Check that the ground is level underneath and no stone is providing a fulcrum on which the stone can rock. Place the paving stone into the hole, checking that it is just below the level of the lawn for easy mowing.

EXPERT GARDENING TIP

Use shears to regularly trim around the edges of the lawn to create a sharp line or curve. A definite contrast between the edge of the lawn and the surrounding soil or flowers gives a great look that shows you really care.

FRUIT AND VEGETABLES

Water runner beans, bush and climbing French Beans regularly and feed them weekly with Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Plant Food so the growth remains vigorous and they set lots of pods. Pick all beans when they are young and tender. All your vegetable crops including potatoes will appreciate feeding with this soluble plant food so that they can produce the best crop. Apply in the evening and make sure you wet the leaves as well as the roots. Foliar feeding is doubly beneficial when applied in the evening when the sun is low enough not to scorch the leaves.

To help tomatoes ripen quickly and develop a rich flavour on the vine apply dilute Tomorite every 10 days both to the leaves and the roots. Again do this at dusk to prevent leaf scorch.

Earth up potatoes so the ones developing near the surface do not turn green and become poisonous. They also need watering if the weather is dry as this will help to swell the developing tubers. Feeding over the leaves weekly with a soluble form of Miracle-Gro will ensure the haulms are strong and healthy, providing nourishment right down to the roots.

Start picking gooseberries occasionally when some are big enough to be sweet, leaving smaller fruits to grow and be harvested later. If you are training your gooseberry as a cordon shape pinch out the tips of lateral shoots at about five leaves.

Protect strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants from attention by birds using suitable netting. In damp weather, look out for slug and snail damage to the strawberries. When you see signs of the pest or the resulting damage, lightly sprinkle SlugClear Ultra pellets around the plants, keeping the pellets off the leaves.

After fruiting has finished, peg down strawberry runners so that you can have new plants for next year’s crop. To make the transplanting job easier, sink pots of fresh Miracle-Gro Gro Your Own Seed & Cutting Compost where the plantlets have formed and peg these down with wire staples or paper clips. Only use runners from healthy plants. If the leaves of your mother plant show signs of yellowing or rolling and crinkling of the leaves they are diseased and need to be dug up and burnt.

EXPERT GARDENING TIP

Watch out for greenfly, blackfly, whitefly and caterpillars on fruit bushes. If you see these pests, spray them with a suitable insecticide such as BugClear Gun! for Fruit & Veg.

GARDENING INFORMATION FROM The Scotts Company (UK) Limited

WRITTEN BY JOHN CLOWES



ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. USE PESTICIDES SAFELY
Use plant protection products safely. Always read the label and product information before use. BugClear™ Gun!™ for Fruit & Veg contains pyrethrins. EverGreen® Complete contains MCPA, mecoprop-P and ferrous sulphate. FungusClear® Ultra and FungusClear® Ultra Gun!™ contain triticonazole. RoseClear® Ultra and RoseClear® Ultra Gun!™ contain triticonazole and acetamiprid. Fast Action Roundup RTU Weedkiller and Roundup Gel contain glyphosate. SlugClear Ultra contains metaldehyde. Weeedol Gun! Rootkill Plus contains glyphosate and pyraflufen ethyl. Products marked ®, ™ and Levington, Miracle-Gro, Gro-Bag and Flower Magic are Trade Marks of The Scotts Company or its affiliates. Roundup is the registered trade mark of Monsanto Technology LLC. The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company Salisbury House, Catteshall Lane, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1XE. Tel 0845 190 1881





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