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We have gone from one extreme to another. The garden has really struggled with the weather and I think we are almost three weeks behind where it normally would be at this time of year. The plants suffered with no rain which hampered their growth and then came the cold which delayed them even further. The incessant frost put paid to a few seedlings but generally most of the garden survived.
The much needed rain came but the warmth did not. The garden put on a little growth thanks to the rain but now it really needs warmth. Thankfully, it has arrived in the past couple of days and the garden is loving it. The plants are growing before our eyes and unfortunately so are the weeds! It is now a case of keeping up with the growth of the garden. This is the time to stake your plants well to provide support as they grow. I always stake too late and the plants are too large and tall to stake. Luckily this year as the garden was so behind I found I had time to properly stake the plants.
I have made a number of hazel stakes around the garden but also have collected many other stakes over the years. One great tip is to cover your catmint with upside hanging baskets. I also do this to the sedums too. It just helps them from collapsing as they grow. Plants which particularly benefit from staking are lupins, foxgloves, artichokes both the ornamental and vegetable variety, delphiniums, catmint, dahlias, leucanthemum, ammi and cosmos. There are too many to list. Anything that grows over 50 cm will need staking. As the herbaceous borders start to fill out now is the time to add your annuals to fill any gaps. If you have been growing them in the greenhouse, everything is safe to go out now. Get planting! You can also sow many annual seeds directly and now is the perfect time so don’t worry if you haven’t started off any already. The veg patch – this is also the busiest time in the veg garden. Any veggies that you have started off early in the greenhouse can also all be planted out into the garden. I have been busy planting out french beans, peas, mange tout, kale, beetroot, radishes, courgettes, lettuce, pak choi, herbs and just this week I have been brave and potted on the tomatoes and they are also outside. As the weather improves and the soil warms up I will also plant out the squash and pumpkins, covered initially and then exposed. They need space to trail so make sure you leave enough space. They are good grown over arches and framework but also a popular companion planting are the Three Sisters; beans, sweet corn and squash.
Don’t worry if you haven’t started off your veggies, now is the ideal time to direct sow your veggies. Everything I have previously listed can also be sown directly and will soon catch up. Remember to water any new plants well after planting and also for the following few days for the roots to get established. The Cutting Garden, this is also another area so far behind. The dahlias are only just starting to break through the soil and the annuals sown directly are just showing themselves too. The sweet peas have really struggled with cold and wet but will hopefully now thrive with the current warm weather conditions.
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