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Thirsty plants in the sunshine

This is the month to appreciate your garden as it should now be displaying stunning colours, glorious scents and hopefully a steady supply of lovely fresh vegetable and early soft fruit.

Whilst there are always jobs to be done, of course, you should make time to relax and enjoy. What could be more pleasant than sitting back, glass suitable filled with an appropriate drink surveying the results of all your efforts. When people say gardens are all hard work, I feel they may have missed the pleasure and satisfaction of the end result.

Should we continue to have dry weather water shortages could be a problem for many garden and vegetable plants. It is crucial to water thoroughly, as a quick splash will encourage surface rooting and make plants even more vulnerable to drying out preferably water first thing in the morning or in the evening when there is less chance of evaporation stealing the life sustaining liquid.

In the greenhouse, great attention needs to be given to ensure plants in borders or grow bags/pots do not go short of moisture. Tomatoes and cucumbers are thirsty beasts. In addition to watering the plants directly (avoid splashing the leaves), spraying water frequently over the central greenhouse path (known as damping down) helps to create a humid atmosphere that is especially beneficial for aubergines and cucumbers –but most plants appreciate a moist atmosphere on a hot day.

Tomatoes require constant attention like the removal of side shoots, feeding and tying in. Keep watch too for early signs of pests. If fruits are failing form, poor pollination may be the cause. Try shaking the plants each day to spread the pollen. ‘Stop’ your plants by removing the growing tip, when they have formed as many trusses of fruit likely to ripen in an unheated greenhouse. Tomatoes respond well to a high potash fertiliser once the fruit is developing.

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