THE HEAT IS ON
Gardeners need to be prepared in the hot weather, says BGC’s Chris Day
The move north of the summer jet stream means high pressure is dominating our weather currently, which is great news for gardeners – plenty of lovely warm sunshine! However, you need to be keeping a careful eye on your garden. Observing your plant beds, shrubs, fruit, vegetables and trees will help you decide how to remedy problem areas that crop up during this season.
Be mindful of the weather forecast. When you see a cool day appearing soon on the horizon, hold off any major watering until then. That way more of the water is absorbed by the soil and plant roots as opposed to being evaporated by the heat. However, newly planted stock, especially fruit trees and hedging do need a thorough soaking at least 2-
When it comes to pots and hanging baskets plants, you already know they will dry out very quickly if not in the shade. The smaller the container, the quicker they will dry out. Check the soil, but plan on watering pots once or twice a day (first thing in the morning and early evening is usually best) when the weather really heats up. If you have an automatic watering system with a timer, adjust it to take hot and dry weather into account. Move container plants into the shade if you are going away on holiday and no one is watering your plants. Oh, and if you are going away, remove all the flower blooms on your baskets so you don't come back to lots of deadheading and the plants having wasted energy on seed production.
WHAT ABOUT USING GREY WATER?
Here is what the Royal Horticultural Society have to say about the use of grey water through the current dry spell of weather. "Grey water should be used with care but can be useful in times of water shortages. Plants can be watered with shower, bath, kitchen and washing machine water (from rinse cycles), collectively referred to as 'grey' water. It varies in quality and may contain contaminants such as soap and detergent. Fortunately, soil and potting composts are effective at filtering them out, and the residues can sometimes act as a mild fertiliser.
To minimise bacterial growth, grey water should be saved for only 24 hours, unless filtered through a reed bed or professionally designed system. It is best applied by watering can; grease and fibres can clog irrigation systems.
There should be no problem with small-
Softened tap water and dishwasher water are less useful. Salts used in them can damage soil structure, particularly if rich in clay. This said, short-
KEEPING WEEDS AT BAY
During the summer, weeds have a way of seemingly springing up overnight, stealing away the nutrients from the plants you want to survive. Get rid of them by picking them out by hand or use a hoe carefully between the plants. You can spot treat individual weeds in the flowers borders, vegetable garden, paths and lawns using Roundup Weedkiller Gel. Always read the instruction carefully before use.
WOES AND FOES
In terms of feeding your plants, some light feeding of stressed-
For the general run of sap-
THINK CAREFULLY ABOUT MULCHING
Mulch, mulch, mulch is the usual advice, however, it is pretty pointless mulching dry soil, better wait until the autumn and then think about applying some well-
AND DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOURSELF……
it's not only plants that can start to flag in dry weather. If you are working in the garden in hot conditions, it's wise to take the following precautions... wear suntan lotion or sun block, work in the shade if possible, or out of direct sunlight; wear a hat or headscarf and take regular breaks and have frequent non-
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