Jobs to do in the garden this week.

  • Plant up hanging baskets. More information available here.
  • Ensure that soil in hanging baskets and patio planters is kept moist. Remove fading and dead flower heads from plants, this will encourage new flowers. Feed hanging baskets and planters weekly with liquid fertiliser if a slow release fertiliser was not added when planting the basket.
  • We have probably now seen the last of the frosts. Summer bedding plants can safely be brought outside from the greenhouse or purchased from the Garden Centre.
  • Apple and pear trees will shed some fruit, this is known as the 'June drop'. This is quite natural, it's the trees way of restricting the amount of fruit that develop.
  • Move houseplants outside for some summer sunshine.
  • Tidy up in the greenhouse now that you have moved bedding plants outside.
  • Plant tender perennials including pentstemons and salvias.
  • Depending on recent weather conditions and daytime temperature, gooseberries should now be ready to be picked.
  • Tomato plants can be moved outside. If growing them as 'cordons' nip out the side shoots
  • Bluebell leaves will have yellowed, so they can be lifted and divided.
  • When the leaves of cyclamen have fallen, stop watering and allow the bulbs to dry out.
  • Continually nip out side shoots from upright (cordon) tomato plants. These reduce the amount of food available to fruit baring branches. If growing plants in the greenhouse, nip out the growing tip after the plant has produced 4-5 fruiting trusses, reduce this to 3-4 if growing tomatoes outside. See here, for more information: https://youtu.be/zFBgCBaFSnk
  • Cover strawberries and fruit bushes with netting to protect them from birds. Start to feed the plants weekly when the fruit starts to form.
  • Buy plants in strips or trays that are compact and sturdy, the compost that they are growing in should be moist. Try to buy plants in bud, with few open blooms.
  • Stake and tie perennials to prevent them being broken by wind and rain. Remove fading delphinium flowers to encourage a second flowering.
  • Paint shading on the greenhouse glass, or use shading to lessen the scorching effect of the sun and to keep temperatures lower.
  • Check the ties on climbers, flower stems and standard roses - the tops of plants can get very heavy when in full bloom or when wet.
  • Pinch out the growing tips of annuals and some perennials to create a stockier plant and to encourage more flowers More information here.
  • Sow hardy annuals in their flowering positions to fill any gaps in the border.
  • Check gooseberries for sawfly. Prune this year's growth back to 4-5 leaves (this shouldn't affect fruit as they appear on old wood).
  • Earth up the first early potatoes that were planted in March, to stop the tubers being exposed to light, turning green.
  • Cut runners from strawberries (unless trying to propagate more plants). Runners will divert energy away from crop production.
  • Remove spring bedding plants and lift and store spring flowering bulbs (with the exception of snowdrops).
  • Trim hedges to encourage the branches to thicken up and to keep them neat and tidy.
  • Take soft wood cuttings from thyme. Thyme cuttings take easily, so they can be stuck in the soil or in pots. Remember that thyme likes full sun and hates to be grown in the shade.
  • Plant out greenhouse grown runner beans or sow them at the base of wigwams 5cm (2in) deep. Keep well watered.
  • Propagate marginal pond plants. Take short cuttings, remove lower leaves and push stems into pots of mud. Keep top of the pots just under the surface of the water.
  • Lots of tender plants can be grown outside in containers between May and September as long as the pot is big enough and they get enough water and the occasional feed.
  • The adult vine weevil, the number one garden pest, will be emerging from the soil as the temperatures rise.
  • Control weeds in lawns with a selective weedkiller. Don't cut the grass for at least a week after applying. Don't put these grass cuttings on the compost heap.
  • Protect plants from slugs and snails with slug pellets, course grit or traps. Alternatively try to encourage birds, hedgehogs and frogs to your garden - all prey on slugs and snails. More suggestions to reduce slug and snail damage.
  • Regularly water trees and shrubs that were planted last autumn and winter. Their roots won't have had a chance to fully develop yet.
  • Cut grass weekly, long grass takes more nutrients out of the soil. It is also harder to cut and may leave yellow patches in the lawn.
  • Apply a weed and feed to established lawns. Water in with a hose after a few days if it hasn't rained.
  • Feed established roses, fortnightly, with a rose fertilizer, dead-head regularly and check for aphids and black spot.
  • Lift, divide and replant chives.
  • Sow vegetable seeds (courgette, marrow, runner and French beans) in the vegetable patch and salad seeds (lettuce, spring onion and radish) little and often to provide a staggered harvest through the summer.
  • Your pond may have started to turn green and cloudy. This is due to a rapid increase in algae, which flourish in the warmer spring temperatures. Once the pond plants start to grow again, especially the oxygenating plants, these will use up the nutrients and create shade, reducing the amount of algae. To speed up the clearing of the water, drop a small string bag/pair of old tights stuffed with barley straw, into the pond. Weigh the straw down, so that it floats just below the surface of the water.

    As the straw breaks down, it produces hydrogen peroxide, which reduces and inhibits the growth of algae and blanket weed. If the algae is particularly bad, barley straw extract can be bought in liquid form and added to the pond water (follow the instructions on the bottle, but as a guide before purchasing,125ml treats approximately 4,500 litres/1,000 gallons, but multiple, fortnightly treatments through the year may be necessary). If you have a fountain or waterfall, try to position the barley straw underneath this. Remove and replace the barley with new straw after about six months, before it completely rots down, polluting the water.

    The small, pre-filled barley straw bags to add to your pond, cost about £2 each, but you can buy a 17 litre pack, which will last a few years for less than a fiver from your local pet shop or Amazon here: Supreme Petfoods Tiny Friends Farm Russell & Gerty Barley Straw, 17 Litres Blagdon Extract of Barley Straw - 250ml

  • Weed and spread compost from the compost bin over the borders and vegtable patch. This adds valuable nutrients to the soil and acts as a mulch, to retain moisture and reduce weed growth. Ensure that the soil is moist before adding mulch.