This week July 21 2006

  • If you haven’t planted your garlic yet, (folklore says to plant it on the shortest day of the year) you still have time, but do not delay. Garden Centre garlic should be certified virus free but you will pay more for this. Supermarket garlic should be okay but you are taking a risk because apparently health giving garlic will repel vampires but not viruses.
  • Brassica plants (cabbage, cauli and broccoli) can be planted now for late spring harvest.
  • Lettuce plants for spring salads can be planted under cloches. It is still too cold to plant them in the open without the protection of a cloche.
  • If you have a frostfree spot, new potatoes can be planted for late spring harvest.
  • In the home orchard, apple trees should be pruned now along with grapevines. To spur prune grapevines, take them back to two growth points from the main trunk, removing all weak and spindly growth. It looks drastic but grapes respond to heavy pruning.
  • Lawn care: it is a good time to oversow bare patches in the lawn or to sow fresh lawns for spring. Ideally they are best done in autumn, but there is still time to get them established before summer.
  • In the ornamental garden, now is the time to dig and divide clumping plants. Do not delay this task because they will be going into growth very soon. Summer flowering perennials and hostas like to be divided and replanted into soil which has been freshly cultivated. They will reward your efforts with plenty of fresh vigour.
  • Pruning hydrangeas is another task to be finished as soon as possible.
  • Daffodils are coming through the ground. Be wary with the Round Up because they don’t like being sprayed at this stage.
  • Spring is only about six weeks away. The buds are already swelling on the cherry trees and magnolias, and the snowdrops are in full flower.