Les’s Patch column

Les Foden.
Les Foden.

I am quite sure a few gardeners would have watched the recent Wimbledon tennis tournament and wished that their lawn could look as perfect as the courts.

Well it can with a little effort.

The first thing I should mention is that when we have had a very dry spell but rain is forecast, get out on the lawn with a garden fork and liberally spike the grass so that when the rain arrives it can penetrate into the lawn instead of just running off.

I have noticed quite a few bowling greens spiked ready for rain after a dry period.

Back to your lawn, give it a good raking using a springbok rake to remove the thatch, which is a build-up of dead grass and moss. A machine can be hired which will do the same job.

After the raking the lawn will look a mess and once the rubbish has been removed give it a mow and you may find some bare patches that will need reseeding.

There is no answer to the problem of weeds appearing in a lawn. Seeds are carried in by the birds or blow in by the wind.

Large patches of weeds all over a lawn is due to bad management I’m afraid.

If you don’t water during a long, dry spell you will not need to as often, but later there could be a problem with weeds because once it rains the moss, etc, will have a perfect breeding spot in the thin turf.

To reseed a bare patch scratch the soil and sprinkle on some compost, then sprinkle on grass seed and cover with compost otherwise the birds will eat the seeds. Then water well. Next give the lawn a weed and feed.

Mildew may become troublesome from now onwards on grape vines, covering the leaves and grapes with a white, mealy growth. If there is the slightest sign of this disease, give increased ventilation and dust the foliage and fruits with flowers of sulphur.

Make certain that the border is not short of water. Dry soil and a damp, unventilated atmosphere are sure causes of mildew.

I have noticed mildew on climbing roses against walls which is obviously caused by dryness at the roots. You may also see mildew on garden peas and sweet peas, again because of dryness at the roots.

Make a final sowing of parsley for autumn and winter use. If the seeds are sown in a very sheltered spot leave some of the plants undisturbed and keep on cutting from them as long as possible, but a portion of the seedlings will have to be transplanted into a frame or cold greenhouse in September if you wish to have a supply at Christmas.

There is still a few successional sowings to be made. Mustard and cress and also radishes can be sown now. A small sowing of stump rooted carrots can be sown in a sheltered spot and will give a supply of young roots well into the autumn.