August 24, 2007 Weekly Garden Guide

While we can still get caught by a late frost (and inland areas may continue having frosts for a while yet) temperatures are rising and the days are getting longer. These act as signals to plants to go into spring growth.

  • Do not delay on moving larger trees or shrubs that you have in the wrong place. The sooner you can get these relocated, the longer the plant has to settle in before drier and warmer conditions cause stress (for the plant, not the gardener). If any such plants look to have very large tops in comparison to rather small root systems, then prune them to reduce the stress and water loss that will result from the move.
  • Similarly, all woody plants are better planted out in the garden now rather than later.
  • If you have not pruned your raspberries, then do it this weekend. Remove all last year’s fruiting canes and trim back the new canes to a suitable length if needed. Thin the canes to avoid overcrowding. It is not ideal to prune at this time – it is better to remove spent canes straight after fruiting in summer and to tidy up the new growth in autumn. But we will admit to having just done ours this week and we still expect a good crop.
  • If you have not dug in any green crops you may have, then make it top priority this weekend (along with pruning the raspberries and grape vines). You will need to wait another six weeks before you can use the ground for planting.
  • Kiwifruit should also have been pruned by now. Select out last summer’s long canes to be the fruiting wood for the coming season. Cut out all the weak and old growths and confine the plant to a limited number of strong fresh canes. It is usual to tie these down to a wire or similar support.
  • It is not too late to sow broad beans for harvest in early summer. Fresh broad beans straight from the garden are a taste treat and bear little resemblance to either the frozen product or the tough old leathery things sometimes sold.