Despite the weather, there are plenty of tasks to be done this month. The rainy weather is an ideal time to be budding roses to propagate, whilst the sap is running freely. Don’t forget to wear rose protective gloves which are thorn resistant from Town & Country.
1. When shallot stalks have turned yellow no further growth develops. Scrape soil from around the bulbs and bend tops over to assist ripening. When this has taken place, ease them out with a fork. Dry well for two days by hanging them in the sun or if the rain doesn’t stop, spread them on a shelf in a dry, airy shed.
2. A warm March combined with a cool April has now resulted in early bumper crops of sweet strawberries, full of flavour. With all this rain, you may want to protect your strawberries by moving them under cover. This month is a good time to layer your strawberries. Choose the best runners and using the first plantlet only on each runner, cut off beyond this and peg it down close to the joint or node. Layer into pots of sand to facilitate moving when rooted. When the runner plant is well rooted, usually after around 3 weeks, sever the running stalk.
3. Slugs love this wet weather and can cause damage to plants. Sprinkle lime soot around seedlings, frequently renewing.
4. Sow hollyhock, snapdragon, foxglove, gaillardia and anchus on borders.
5. Summer prune apples and pear trees.
6. Prune raspberries. All old canes which fruited should be cut down near to the ground level and burned, leaving only strong canes of this year’s growth.
7. If you’re going on holiday, place ferns, palms and other pot plants if well rooted in a large container in which the water reaches half way up the pots. Place the container in a shady spot. House plants will be better outside where they will be exposed to rainfall.
8. Clip all hedges and evergreen shrubs and trees.
9. Cut off all dead or dying flowers and untidy shoots from bedding plants.
10. Mow the lawn thoroughly.
11. Hoe the soil well in beds and borders.
12. If you planted potatoes in March, these will be ready to harvest.
13. Its also the time this month to order second cropping potatoes to be planted in August for harvesting in December.
14. Plant out leek seedlings in July.
15. Enjoy a selection of herbs in your salads and harvest garlic bulbs. Dry herbs or freeze in ice cubes to drop in soups.
16. Check your seed packets to see what else is left to sow. You can continue sowing lettuce 2 weeks apart throughout July.
17. Sow winter salad crops and pak choi.
18. Sow freesia seed thinly for flowering in spring.
19. Sow turnip seed to provide roots in autumn.
20. Carry out the main sowing of spring cabbages, radishes and parsley this month.
-- Rob Amey