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Thursday, 6th Aug 2020

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Article from the Hayling Island Horticultural Society

Jobs in the Garden for May and June

With many people now isolated in their own home or simply working from home, your outside space, be it your own garden, balcony or a communal garden, is going to become a much needed escape or a haven. I also suspect that more people will be reading this article than ever before!.  Even if you don’t have your own garden we can rejoice that we are surrounded by nature bursting into life, even in the smallest space.  For the gardeners reading this article, there is plenty to be doing in the coming months.

Many outlets supplying garden supplies are now offering a home delivery service so we should be able to get the compost, plants, seeds, containers we need – even if we cannot enjoy wandering around choosing our own plants!  If you have never grown anything from seed before now is a good time to start.  Any container will do as long as it has drainage (just pierce some holes in the bottom) and is lined with something like a bin bag or some hessian.  Good choices would be quick growing salad leaves that you can pick and will keep on growing, rocket and radishes.  If you have a bit of spare garden space, or even a pot on a balcony, you could also sow some runner or French beans, making sure to offer some support for them to climb. Old pallets can also be put to good use as plant containers. Maybe also start some of your favourite flowers from seed on a sunny windowsill, putting them outside to harden off as the evenings warm up.  If you don’t have enough pots, once again you can be creative with your containers (old plastic bottles, tins, guttering, wooden boxes… )  Also share and swop with friends and neighbours any plants surplus to requirements.  Prepare your outdoor pots and containers ready to receive the new plants once the danger of frost is past (which should be early May).  
With more time to spend in the garden, weeds and pests and lawns can be kept under control and if garden waste bins stop being collected, then it is a good time to start your own compost bin or heap.   There is plenty of advice online about how to do this on a small scale.  Mulching your garden encourages the retention of moisture and prevents weed growth as well promoting the growth of your plants.  A good way to deal with small weeds is to hoe them on a sunny dry day and leave to dry out and on the surface.  This way they cannot re-root in moist soil.

If you like a lush green lawn, then give it a nitrogen-rich summer feed to encourage leafy growth. May is the best time of year to do this as the longer days and warmer soil create the perfect conditions for the grass to grow. Maybe leave some areas of grass to grow to encourage wildflowers and provide insects with a haven.

By June your roses and many other plants should be in bloom, so continue to deadhead them regularly to encourage a longer growing season. Once roses have flowered, you can give them another feed as well. Your spring flowering bulbs will have finished by now, so either lift the bulbs and dry them out ready for next year or leave the foliage to die back completely before you cut it back.

Taking the time we have at home to get on top of the garden now will mean more time to sit and enjoy the fruits of your labours in the summer, hopefully being able to spend time with friends and family.

Meanwhile, enjoy your garden if you need help or advice our facebook page is a good place to visit to ask any questions.  Someone will always try and reply and it is also full of excellent news and advice.  Also send in your photos of any interesting projects or just a lovely photo of something in garden we would maybe post for everyone to see.

The Society would like to extend good wishes to everyone at these difficult times.  Our Summer Show is on Saturday 27th June and features Roses and Sweet Peas.   Obviously we are not sure it will be going ahead, but we will keep you informed.  Keep an eye on our website: www.hihs.org.uk

Posted on Thu, April 23 2020