Top tips from my small urban garden…Comments Off on Top tips from my small urban garden…
It may not feel like it just yet but Summer is here and that means there’s lots of exciting things happening in our gardens! Here are a few top tips from my small urban garden to keep your plants happy and healthy throughout the summer months…
1. Wise watering
We really hope that July brings lots of lovely hot weather which is great for our gardens, however this does mean we need to keep on top of our watering. This can be easier said than done in the summer months when we are tempted to leave our gardens for beaches and holidays so my top tip is to drip feed your plants with cut off water bottles turned upside down and buried in the soil. This will keep your thirstier plants (like tomatoes) happy, especially those in containers. This will help water get straight to the roots of your plants and it won’t evaporate on the surface or burn the leaves. Plus you can fill them up and be happy that you can leave your plants for a few days. You can also mulch underneath your plants and water at night to reduce evaporation. And don’t forget you can use your household ‘grey water’ from baths and washing up bowls as long as you haven’t used bleach.
2. Harvest and feed
Even if this rainy weather continues your plants will still need feeding, especially those in containers as they will run out of the nutrients they need to produce fruit and flowers. I use a few different things; worm wee from my wormery (obviously), comfrey leaves to make a tea (very smelly!) and an organic seaweed feed. It also helps to pop some fresh compost on top too. I find that feeding little and often is most effective.
It’s likely you will already be harvesting crops like strawberries, radishes, runner beans, courgettes and early tomatoes, especially cherry toms. Remember to keep harvesting as most these crops will will be better if picked small and sweet and this will also stimulate the plant to produce more.
3. Tame your tomatoes
I am a little obsessed with growing tomatoes – I have 9 varieties growing in my tiny little urban garden. I love homegrown toms as they taste far superior to anything you can buy in the shops. This is the time to make sure that you are pinching out side shoots to encourage fruit growth rather than leaves. You can also cut off some of the older leaves at the bottom of the plants which will allow more light to get to your plants. This is particularly important if, like me you do not have a greenhouse and are growing your toms outside. Also keep on top of watering – your toms will get thirsty even if it’s not that hot!
4. Enjoy edible flowers
I love a summer salad! There’s nothing better than all those fresh flavours and bright colours so when it can be picked right outside your back door you are onto a winner. I like to grown some slightly more unusual salads, because when you only have a tiny space you might as well grow something you can’t buy at the supermarket. So my salads have the added excitement of colourful nasturtiums, beautiful borage flowers, peppery landcress, sorrel, purple orache, chive flowers and sometimes even fushias.
5. Relax…and then sow some more seeds
Of course you will be basking in the glory of your garden this month but don’t forget it’s a great time to sow a few more seeds. Maybe another batch of leafy greens, especially oriental leaves which will be less prone to bolting this time of year. And how about some Kale, cavelo nero and chard for the Autumn. It will only take half an hour and then you’re back to sipping cocktails in the sun! I said in the SUN…come on weather you know you want to!