Summer is a brilliant season in the gardening world for many obvious reasons; loads of colour, smells and produce to pick! I’ve been mucking around in my garden for nearly a year now and am learning an incredible amount each month. It’s really amazing to see the difference I’ve made each season and the experiences that help me improve with every plant I grow.
I started with just plug plants and now I’m growing from seed. My Cosmos and Rudbeckia plants are all thriving and it’s so exciting knowing I nursed them on in my bedroom on the windowsill from seeds (lacking the greenhouse still). I have different varieties of tomatoes growing from last year and I’m also trying new vegetables such as courgettes after growing vegetables I didn’t eat much of last year, such as sweetcorn.
So I thought I’d write down, just as much for myself as for any readers, some top tips to keep handy for each year to come!
Save the excess –
I love growing Runner Beans! I grew a few last year and they were brilliant, so had to do the same this year. I changed the variety and amount though and now have ended up with SO many I can’t pick them quick enough. Rather than letting them go to waste I thought what better than store away so I can enjoy in the winter months when I have nothing growing!
I’d read about various ways to store your beans – some say to blanche them first, some say they don’t taste as nice if you do. Some others say not blanching them is better, but won’t last as long. So I decided to try both options and make my own mind up.
I cut my beans into chunks and gave them a good rinse before blanching in boiling water for 2 minutes. I then ran them under cold water to stop the cooking process and popped them into freezable bags. Not forgetting to label which were which too!
You can do this with so many fruit and veg. I hate having to go back to buying them at the supermarkets as they just taste like water and nothingness, so this way I have them for much longer. These beans will last right up until my Christmas dinner. Brilliant addition!
Deadheading your plants is a crucial summer task as this encourages more blooms to grow right through the season.
It also neatens up the display. Easy to do, just by plucking the dead blooms from the plant. The pictures above show my Petunia Night Sky, one of my absolute favourites! The white speckles change depending on the amount of sun exposure and they’re so beautiful in my pots. Petunias are so easy to deadhead but they do leave an annoying stickyness on your fingers. I’m also deadheading my other summer bedding plants such as Marigolds, Busy Lizzies, Cosmos and Rudbeckia.
Might sound silly but it’s easy to forget, especially when it’s heatwave season like we’ve had recently and everyone’s out in beer gardens! People also make the common mistake when it rains, to not bother. However, several plants are left thirsty as the roots haven’t experienced the rainwater and have just bounced off the leaves! So remember to fill up those watering cans on a daily basis.
Cut flowers for indoors –
I absolutely adore my new additions to my borders this year, especially my Cosmos and Rudbeckia. As I’m trialling new plants I learn a lot. For example, the final positions these plants are in are probably not the most ideal as they drown out my smaller bedding plants such as Busy Lizzies and Marigolds, due to the height of them. I’ll definitely remember this for next year and position them elsewhere.
But I’ve also learnt they’re great flowers to cut for indoor pleasure! There are so many blooms on each plant, so plenty to enjoy outdoors and still able to take several cuttings for indoors too.
Perfect use for some of my empty Kilner jars laying around the house! I just took my scissors and cut close to the main stem to allow the plants to carry on thriving indoors for as long as possible. I absolutely love them – saves so many pennies on shop bought bouquets and I can just pick more as they bloom outdoors!
Lastly – Sit and enjoy! Summer won’t be around forever, so enjoy the colour around you in the garden. Grab some pimms & friends, and sit outdoors all day long; bliss. And if you don’t have your own garden then get out to one of the open gardens near you! If you’re local and haven’t visited Beth Chatto Gardens, I highly recommend!
What’re you up to in your garden this summer, and what’re your summer tips? I’d love to know! xo