Kieran Gallagher of Cardwell Garden Centre gives us some tips for Summer Gardening.
As we approach the end of spring and reflect on the gardening weather of 2017, it is fair to say ‘so far, so good’.
April and May saw some dry and warm weather, perfect for the gardener to motivate themselves and get the spade out. In truth, come mid May we were hoping for a wee bit of rain at Cardwell Garden Centre, for two reasons.
The garden is looking good just now, the warmer weather has brought the soil temperature up a few degrees and everything is coming to life nicely. However, many gardeners, you know who you are, still don’t water the plants enough. A warm, dry spell for a even a couple of weeks can dry out the soil and leave plants lacking. This is especially true of planted containers and hanging baskets, which dry out quicker.
So a couple of days of rain now and again is a good thing for the garden. Prolonged dry spells, albeit unlikely in the west of Scotland, cause a crust to form on the top of soil. By this point, a shower of rain will run off the soil rather than penetrate it, leaving the roots dry.
Keep an eye on moisture content in your soil and water as required. Bedding plants will wither very quickly without water, so as soon as you see this water the plants liberally.
For flowering plants try and water directly into the soil, rather than over the open flowers. For pots that have completely dried out, submerge the conatiner in a bucket of tepid water for 15 minutes or so. Not the plants, just the pot. This will allow the compost to soak up water.
The second reason we want some rain at Cardwell is that it saves us an awful lot of time watering! Anyone who waters during the midge season will understand why this is a good thing!
Lawns also need watering and while it is rarely so dry that your lawn will suffer drought damage, you will still notice a significant difference between a lawn that is watered and one that is not.
Weeds will also be growing around the garden and can be treated either by physically removing the weed or by treating it with a weedkiller.
Removing weeds by hand or hand tool is obviously the way to go if you want to avoid using chemicals, but be aware that the weed will more than likely grow back from any section of root of that is not removed.
If you are using chemicals then please make sure you use the correct treatment for the problem. Using a path weedkiller on a lawn or vice versa will cause more harm than good. Equally old chemicals should not be used and should be disposed of safely. Your local council can advise you of nearest disposal point.
Buying chemical treatments for the garden can be a daunting experience if you are not familiar with them. There a multitude of different brands, chemicals and uses.
A recent change in legislation now means that any shop selling garden chemicals must have someone trained in the products available at all times to advise you, the conumer.
To be honest, most good garden centres have always had this by choice, but it now applies to everyone. Ask to speak to that person in your store and they will guide you to the solution to your problem.
In many cases, actually removing part of an unidentified weed or diseased plant and bringing it into the garden centre will make the whole process much easier and quicker.
As always, don’t put diseased plant waste in your brown bin as this waste is usually recycled into compost. And if you cannot get what you need from your local store, pay us a visit at Cardwell in Gourock.
Hopefully the decent weather we have had up until now will continue through the summer and into the autumn. We gardeners have not had a good run at it for some years now.