Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland




Hints and tips for gardening


SUMMER is here and the garden beckons so here are a few important reminders.

Keep checking the soil of your plants and crops through the coming months.

Do not allow your plants to dry out otherwise you may be looking at an increase in the height of your compost heap.

Regular and frequent watering will enable your plants to survive the coming months.

If you are going away and you have no-one to look after your plant maintenance then it could be the ideal opportunity to add a self-watering system.

If this is beyond your purse strings then why not get a water butt filled up with water.

Place a length of capillary matting into it then place all your pots onto this. The plants can suck up the moisture gradually and this could keep them watered enough until you return off your hols.

It can really make you sick when you compare the perfect lawns of Wimbledon to your own patchwork of weeds, moss and grass.

To produce a perfect lawn can take years of hard sweat and toil.

At this time of the year troublesome weeds like clover, yarrow, speedwell etc. can be a right eyesore.

An application or two of a liquid lawn weedkiller like PBI Toplawn or Scotts Verdone will control these.

Apply it, using a watering can with a weedkilling bar or a sprayer with a weedkiller cone to help you apply the weedkiller in just the right spot.

Once the foliage has blackened, rake out the dead weed growth. If there is any sign of re-growth then re-apply to hopefully remove them for good.

This time of year the greenhouse can soon become too hot to work in. This is a sign that the greenhouse needs plenty of ventilation and shading. Shading should be placed over the whole structure and vents should be left wide open to allow through drafts to circulate the air inside.

Outdoor tomatoes will need feeding as their fruit set. Wait till the fourth truss has set, then count two leaves above this and take out the tip of the plant.

This will allow all the goodness to enter into the fruit. Keep applying water and liquid feed regularly and evenly through the growing period.

If you don't the fruit on the trusses will split or will slowly develop blossom end rot, thus spoiling your crop and leaving it ideal only for chutney or the compost bin!

If you have noticed irregular holes appearing in the foliage of your mint crop, at a closer inspection you will notice some iridescent emerald-green beetles and their rotund black larvae.

The adults can grow up to 10mm in length and are known as Mint Beetles. Usually their attack is not enough to hinder the growth of your Mint plant but it can make it look unsightly. Control is easy and the manual organic method of placing the Mint Beetle on block A and then bashing it with block B is sufficient or you can use an insecticide like Liquid Derris or Polysect to eradicate the infestation.

Lawnmower man keeps your garden looking good

'THE Lawnmower Man', Paul McCormick, who has been in business in Lisburn for six years, will keep your garden in top shape this summer.

Offering a wide variety of services, including grass and hedge cutting, large conifers topped, faced or removed, large and small trees branched or removed, create weed-free flower beds and borders and all types of fencing, all with free estimates, Paul can keep your garden looking its very best.