Summer is here and our community gardens are flourishing! If you haven’t been able to visit any of the sites recently you can check the details of my regular drop-in gardening sessions which I host at different locations across Thamesmead, here. Feel free to stop by for a chat or to get your hands dirty and join me to do some planting. Throughout July I’ll be propagating plants, starting to sow for the autumn, trimming, pruning and of course harvesting early crops.  

Water wisely this summer! Whether your growing space is on a balcony, in your front or back garden, or on an allotment site, it needs your attention during the summer months. When the weather is hot and dry, watering should be a priority task, and will help your plants thrive. 

The best time to water your plants is early in the morning or late in the evening. During these times the cooler temperatures minimise water evaporation so that plants can better absorb moisture. Watering during the day could damage foliage as during the evaporation process water can easily cause leaved to steam. 

 If you’ve got plans to go on holiday this summer, make sure somebody is available to water your plants while you’re away.  

Only water plants that really need it, for example newly planted trees and shrubs, thirsty vegetables and hanging baskets. It’s better to give them a good soak less frequently rather than watering them a little each day. Don’t worry about your lawn if you have one – grass is more resilient than you might think and will regenerate quickly once it rains. 

Mulching helps water retention, so whenever possible, place a thick layer of mulch (using something organic like compost, woodchip or newspapers) around your stems in a circle as big as the foliage. Don’t forget to water the soil before adding the mulch! 

Harvesting the rain is always good practice for any gardener. It saves water and plants love the rainwater. If you don’t have a water butt, don’t worry. You can use any large container you’ve got at home.  

And if you’re up for doing extra jobs this month you can deadhead your ornamental plants (this will encourage them to keep flowering throughout the season), trim your shrubs and bushes, harvest your vegetables (onions, garlic, potatoes as well as any leafy vegetables), take cuttings and collect seeds for the next year’s cultures. 

Georgiana, Thamesmead Gardener-in-residence