This month in your garden

With temperatures rising rapidly and water in short supply, we can only hope that the few brief summer thunderstorms that we have had recently quenched the thirst of the plants in our gardens. Hopefully, any others will not be like those in May, which destroyed the fruit crops in the mountains.  It will help your plants if you dead head them regularly. Do this either very early whilst it is still cool, or in the evenings after the sun has gone down. Water is such a precious commodity that to waste it is a crime.  Someone I met a recently in the USA remarked that water is the next oil! I think he is right. New plants in my garden have a cut-off water bottle dug into the ground behind the plant during the first summer and water is inserted through that. A system to help fruit trees is called ‘The Israeli Watering System’, where you set watering nozzles on the irrigation hoses halfway between the trunk of the tree and the leaf canopy. Each irrigation time the water will seep through the ground at those points and the fibrous roots will find their way to this vital source.

Keep the area under plants free of debris from flowers and leaves, as this will stop any water from reaching down to the roots where it will do the most good. Either put them on your compost heap or take them to the nearest dump. It is an interesting fact that the skins of citrus fruits are thin when there is plenty of water and temperatures are not too high, whilst if the summer is hot and long, the pith becomes much thicker to protect the fruit inside. Figs are ripening fast now so check every day and pick any that look as if they are nodding their heads, which is a sign that they are ready to be picked. Vines, which always look so lush, even in the height of summer, will have many bunches of grapes by now, so remove any fruit that doesn’t look perfect. Take off any of last season’s ripe citrus fruits and let the trees concentrate on growing the new crops.

July 18