As a rule, plants grown in beds and borders do not need to be fed. There are usually plenty of nutrients in the soil, especially if you garden on clay or loam. Plants grown in containers, on the other hand, do benefit from being fed. And to boost the yields of fruit and veg, it’s often worth giving them some extra nutrients too.More on plant nutrition
Monty likes to make his own fertiliser using comfrey or nettles – for a step-by-step guide on how to do this, see Related Links (above right). But if you’d rather buy a fertiliser from a garden centre or DIY store, it can be difficult to know which one to pick. By law, fertilisers have to state how much nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) they contain and this is usually summarised on the label as the N:P:K ratio. If the ratio is the same for all three elements, then the fertiliser is considered to be balanced and therefore suitable for a wide range of plants. But if the figure is highest for:
Nitrogen (N) - it will encourage lots of green, leafy growth
Phosphorus (P) - it will promote good root development
Potassium (K) - it will encourage an abundance of flowers & fruit
As Monty said, a fertilizer rich in potassium (or potash) is the one most gardeners will need, which is why a tomato feed is often recommended for flowers regardless of whether or not you grow tomatoes.
The Phoenix GardenThe Phoenix Garden
21 Stacey Street
Located in London’s lively West End, this community garden provides a welcome retreat for commuters and local residents alike. It was created on the site of a former car park and, over the years, has become a real haven for wildlife. If you’re in London and fancy a visit, check out the website below for more details.
Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof GardenSouth Bank Centre
South Bank Centre
Tel. 020 7960 4200
The Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden is open every day from 10.00am to 10.00pm. For details on how to get there, click on the link below.
(Photograph: Many thanks to JasonUnbound from the Gardeners’ World Flickr group)More on growing mizuna & mibuna
Oriental greens have become a lot more popular in recent years. Mizuna, for example, is often sold in mixed bags of salad at the supermarket, whilst pak choi is an essential ingredient of any stir fry. But what many people don’t realise is just how easy they are to grow at home.
Mizuna, mibuna and mustard are a doddle if you feel like having a go. And they grow incredibly quickly with young leaves being ready to pick in as little as three weeks. You can either sow them direct, or in seed trays or modules ready to plant out at a later date. And by sowing them now before the end of August, they’re far less likely to bolt than if they were sown in the spring. In a mild winter, they may even survive the cold if you cover them with a layer of fleece.
OPEN GARDEN SQUARES WEEKEND
The Open Garden Squares Weekend is always held in London in June. It is run by the London Parks & Garden Trust and a team of dedicated volunteers who are keen to promote and preserve London’s green spaces. Thousands of people attended the event this year, with over 200 gardens available to visit all over the capital. For more information about next year’s event, due to be held on 8 and 9 June 2013, why not sign up to their newsletter or check out their website nearer the time?Open Garden Squares Weekend
JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND: CUT FLOWERING STEMS OFF CHARD & BEETROOT
When a plant runs to seed prematurely, this is known as bolting. Sudden changes in temperature or soil moisture are often responsible, but a change in day length can act as a trigger too. Chard, beetroot, lettuce, Florence fennel and coriander are all very prone. With some crops, it’s worth trying to delay the process by cutting off the flowering stems as soon as they appear. But if your lettuce starts to bolt, cut your losses and dig it up. The leaves will be bitter and taste horrible.More on bolting veg
JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND: REMOVE POND ALGAE
If you have a pond, there’s a good chance you’ll get a growth of algae at some point over the summer. With the aid of a bamboo cane or garden rake, gently scoop it out and leave it by the side for an hour or two. That way any creatures trapped with it can return to the water. After that, you’ll find that it makes excellent compost.More on algae control
JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND: CUT BACK DELPHINIUMS
Once delphiniums have flowered, it’s worth cutting them back to the ground. Not only will this help to produce bigger, healthier plants, there’s a good chance they’ll throw up fresh flower spikes in the autumn.More on cutting back flowers from BBC Gardening
- Series Producer
- Liz Rumbold
- Monty Don
- Carol Klein
- Joe Swift
- Rachel de Thame
- Louise Hampden