Now’s the time to get smart

PUBLISHED: 12:23 10 August 2006 | UPDATED: 14:47 12 May 2010

Make sure you plant bulbs in good time

Make sure you plant bulbs in good time

WHEN returning from holiday, your garden may look rather neglected. The first thing to do to improve its appearance is to cut the lawns and grass paths round the vegetable garden, taking care to trim the edges. This immediately alters the appearance. The

WHEN returning from holiday, your garden may look rather neglected. The first thing to do to improve its appearance is to cut the lawns and grass paths round the vegetable garden, taking care to trim the edges.

This immediately alters the appearance. The next task is to remove all dead flowers from borders and finally get out the hoe and clear the weeds which will have flourished during your absence.

Pick off any courgettes which may have started to develop into full-size marrows - once this happens the plant stops growing and the crop finishes.

Removing them encourages a fresh crop of courgettes which, in effect, are baby marrows.

Midway through August there are signs that autumn is coming soon and it is time to prepare for storage of shallots and onions for the winter.

By now, their foliage will have died down as the stems will have naturally bent over and stopped the supply of sap to the bulbs.

They need to be very dry if they are to keep well, so gently ease the onions and shallots out of the ground and leave them on top to ripen further before stringing them up in a cold dry shed.

As ground becomes vacant from summer crops such as peas and beans, clear away any weeds and then dig it over.

Where winter vegetables such as sprouts and cabbage are growing, keep the ground free of weeds and apply a mulch of compost to feed these plants.

Bulb catalogues should have arrived through the post several weeks ago and it is a good idea to buy early for September planting of small bulbs such as crocus and grape hyacinths.

In general, the earlier bulbs flower the earlier they need to be planted.

However, daffodils need a long spell in the ground so they should also be planted next month.

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