July 2009 >>>
The promise of warm sunny weather, especially at the weekends, makes outdoor living and eating a firm family favourite. But if your garden is to play host to friends and family then flower borders, patio pots and hanging baskets should be full of colour thanks to regular feeding and watering. If you have joined the 'Gro Time' bonanza, your tomatoes, salads and other fruit and vegetables will also need regular attention to produce tasty crops.
If your lawn is lush, thick and green then it's the ideal surface to use for summer picnics. Children love the soft, friendly feel of a welcoming lawn where the rough and tumble of roly-poly and cartwheels are no problem and adults appreciate the cool green perfume of newly mown grass. So it's time to lay out the blankets, dust off the deckchairs and invite family and friends to your own back lawn Bistro.
You will want everything to look 'just so', so instead of laying out damask cloths you will need to feed your lawn so it is soft and green for your guests to enjoy. Try EverGreen Mow-It-Less Lawn Food which guarantees to make your grass greener and lusher in less than a week without making you extra work. You may have seen the diving frog ad on the television that demonstrates that your Mow-It-Less lawn needs less mowing than a lawn fed with other lawn products.
For quickest results water in the EverGreen Mow-It-Less granules just after you've applied the granules evenly over the lawn.
Keep cutting the grass every week and trim the edges for a really smart dividing line between dark green grass and beautiful borders.
In drought conditions it is much better to water the grass a few days before you apply a lawn treatment so that the soil is moist and the grass is not under stress.
Treat the odd dandelion or daisy with Verdone Extra Ready To Use by lightly spraying the weed leaves. This spot weeder will kill all broad-leaved lawn weeds without harming the grass.
THE ORNAMENTAL GARDEN
Dead-heading roses grown for flowers and not for hips will encourage a further flush of blooms later in the year. For best results the Royal National Rose Society recommends you simply snap off the dead head without removing any leaves. According to their trials the old-fashioned way of using secateurs to cut back the stem at the same time slows down future flowering and reduces the number of blooms.
In warm weather roses and other flowers and shrubs are often attacked by aphids which can breed at phenomenal rates if left undisturbed to distort leaves and disfigure natural growth. Zap them with a suitable insecticide at the earliest opportunity. If you are treating roses it's a good idea to use a product that will control mildew, blackspot and rust diseases at the same time. The RoseClear 3 Gun! will do all that from one easy spray. For greenfly and blackfly on other ornamentals use BugClear Ultra Gun! This new product gets inside the plant's sap stream so that one spray will kill even the pests that are hiding under leaves.
Summer flower shrubs such as philadelphus, jasmine and weigela will benefit if you cut back flowering shoots to strong new growth immediately after all the flowers have faded. Encouraging new growth like this will ensure the plant carries flowers all over the plant instead of just at the top. To give these shrubs the energy to produce plenty of flower-bearing stems, dress around the roots with Miracle-Gro Organic Choice All Purpose Plant Food.
If it becomes necessary to water plants growing in the garden then give annual bedding plants and newly planted shrubs or perennials first priority. A light feed at the same time with a liquid plant food will ensure your flowering beauties continue to bloom all summer long. To alternate easily between watering and liquid feeding fit the Miracle-Gro Liquafeed sprayer to the end of your hose-pipe. This modern innovation in hose-end feeding uses concentrated Liquid Miracle-Gro Plant Food to quickly and accurately feed all round the garden - flowers, vegetables, shrubs, trees and lawns. The spray automatically dilutes the plant food and delivers it in three adjustable spray patterns - shower, jet and flat. Plants receive the exact amount of nutrients they need to grow bigger and more beautiful. In fact it's so good it guarantees to grow plants twice as big as those that are simply watered.
Connect to a standard hose - insert a bottle of Miracle-Gro Liquafeed All Purpose Plant Food and you can be feeding in seconds. Water flow is controlled by a knob that switches from Off to plain watering and then to feeding, so you can leave your Feeder attached to the hose for feeding or watering at any time.
Tough weeds such as ground elder, bindweed, docks and thistles are now in full leaf and are ripe for control. Spray the weed leaves with a glyphosate weedkiller such as Fast Action Roundup RTU or Tumbleweed Ready To Use on a dry day when rain is not expected.
THE VEGETABLE GARDEN
Watering and feeding are top priority for the fruit and vegetables that you are growing in garden soil or Giant Planters. Adding Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Plant Food to the watering can every fortnight or so will ensure your salad leaves, beetroot, spinach and herbs will grow fast and strong.
Tomatoes need the micro nutrients in seaweed extract for maximum flavour and that's why they deserve a feed of Tomorite every week to promote strong growth and quick ripening of tasty fruits.
Plant out leek seedlings in good rich soil. Make a hole about 10 cm (6 inches) deep with a broom handle, drop in the seedling and water in. Don't worry if you can't find room to grow the plants in rows, they are quite happy growing between flowers and shrubs where they get the occasional feed. The foliage is no more obtrusive than decorative alliums and allows you to grow a hardy vegetable that is useful and tasty in stews, quiches and casseroles.
If you have room for Brussels sprouts and purple sprouting broccoli, transplant seedlings to their cropping position leaving about 75 cm (30 in) between plants.
Water runner beans and dwarf French beans regularly and feed them weekly with Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Plant Food so the growth remains vigorous. Pick all beans when they are young and tender, never allowing any of them to set seed, or this could stop further production. New potatoes will be ready for digging when the stems start to turn yellow.
Watch out for pests on your vegetables, especially caterpillars on any of the cabbage family. At the first signs of attack spray your plants thoroughly with BugClear Gun! for Fruit & Vegetables.
THE FRUIT GARDEN
It's time for picking, protecting and feeding the fruit in your garden. Start picking gooseberries now taking one or two here and there, leaving smaller fruits to grow and be harvested later.
Protect strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants from attention by birds using suitable netting. The strawberries will also need protection from slugs and a light sprinkle of SlugClear Advanced Pellets around plants will help.
After fruiting has finished, peg down strawberry runners so that you can have new plants for next year's crop. To make the transplanting job easier, sink pots of fresh Levington Multi-Purpose Compost where the plantlets have formed and peg these down with wire staples. Only use runners from healthy plants, dig up and burn any plants that show signs of yellowing or rolling and crinkling of the leaves.
Watch out for greenfly, blackfly, whitefly and caterpillars on fruit. Whenever you see these pests spray them with a suitable insecticide such as BugClear Gun! for Fruit & Veg.
THE PATIO GARDEN
Eating outside and socialising are great ways to relax, but only if your pots and growing bags are looking perky and your guests don't have to fight their way into the garden through a jungle of unsightly weeds!
Perk up plants in existing pots with weekly applications of Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Plant Food. Just water on, either dissolved in a watering can or automatically via a Miracle-Gro Feeder. Tomatoes growing on the patio in Tomorite Giant Planters will need feeding every week to encourage quick ripening and tasty fruits. Use Tomorite liquid plant food that is enriched with seaweed extract and added magnesium every week to keep the plants strong and healthy.
Clear unwanted weeds from gravel paths, drive and patios. For an effective way of waging war on weeds, let Pathclear Gun! Weedkiller or Pathclear Weedkiller PC deal with them for you and protect from new seedlings taking hold. Just one spray will give you weed-free surfaces for up to three months.
Check all hanging baskets and patio planters daily and water as required. Even on dull days transpiration through the plants can use up water reserves, especially if it's windy.
Plants in pots are planted close together and are therefore more prone to a quick spread of pests. Keep a ready to use insecticide handy so that you can treat any pests early. The BugClear Ultra Gun! is systemic and after spraying the leaves the active ingredient moves around the plant to control any sap-sucking or nibbling pests that may be hiding away under leaves.
Ants are certainly going to be a widespread pest on the patio this year, following a warm and dry spring. When the weather is right for this insect they seem to pop up everywhere. There are various ways you can control these pests using powder, liquid sprays and bait stations.
To protect your home from ants the Home Defence Ant-Stop Gun! gives long-lasting protection from a colourless, liquid spray. Simply spray where the ants are running and also along skirting boards and around windows and doors to keep the creepy crawlies out of your kitchen.
Out in the garden, Home Defence Ant Stop Powder will be great for controlling ants, earwigs and woodlice. Simply dust the pests where they are running and any entrances to the nests that you can spot.
On the patio you need something that will kill the whole nest including the queen. That's where the Ant Stop Bait Station comes into its own. Inside the discreet black containers the ants find an attractive bait that is laced with a special ant killer. The workers collect this tasty treat and take it back to the nest to feed the rest of the colony. After a few days there should be no more activity from the nest.
ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. USE PESTICIDES SAFELY
Home Defence© Ant-Stop Gun!™ contains deltamethrin. Home Defence© Ant-Stop Powder contains bendiocarb. Home Defence© Ant-Stop Bait Station contains fipronil. BugClear Ultra Gun!™ contains acetamiprid. BugClear Gun!™ for Fruit & Vegetables contains pyrethrins. Pathclear® Weedkiller PC and Pathclear Gun! Weedkiller contain glyphosate, oxadiazon and diflufenican. Roseclear® 3 and RoseClear® 3 Gun! contain bifenthrin and myclobutanil.. Fast Action Roundup RTU and Tumbleweed Ready to Use contain glyphosate. SlugClear™ Advanced Pellets contains metaldehyde. Verdone ® Extra RTU contains fluroxypyr, clopyralid and MCPA. Weedol® Gun!™ Max contains pelargonic acid.
® ™ and Miracle-Gro, Levington, Tomorite and Scotts are Trade Marks of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company LLC or its affiliates. Roundup is the registered trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC.
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
Salisbury House, Catteshall Lane, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1XE. Tel 0870 5301010