Watch out for those white cater­pil­lars

Han­nah Stephen­son has tips on how to pro­tect your vegeta­bles

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - GREEN SPACES -

KEEP an eye on emerg­ing cab­bage leaves for tell-tale holes and pick off any cab­bage white cater­pil­lars you find be­fore they do any more dam­age.

To con­trol them and stop the fe­male but­ter­flies lay­ing their eggs, you need to keep fine mesh cov­ers which were put on ear­lier in the sea­son in place.

Check reg­u­larly that there are no holes in the net­ting and that the leaves aren’t touch­ing the cov­ers, as the but­ter­flies will get through the small­est gap and lay their eggs on the leaves through the mesh. Squash by hand any you see.

Cranes­bill Gera­nium

These vig­or­ous hardy gera­ni­ums will cover ground faster than weeds and pro­duce some of the pret­ti­est summer flow­ers in shades rang­ing from white to pink to purple, mak­ing them ideal can­di­dates for the front of the border.

They will grow in any rea­son­able gar­den soil in sun or shade and should sup­press weeds ef­fec­tively as well as look­ing good un­der trees, although you may have to pull clumps out from time to time to keep them con­tained.

Good va­ri­eties in­clude ‘Rozanne Blue’, ‘John­son’s Blue’ and ‘War­grave Pink’. The soft mound shapes need part­ners with strong out­lines such as phormi­ums or irises.

These hardy peren­ni­als are also used as ground­cover, on banks, be­tween shrubs or un­der roses.

What To Do This Week

Con­tinue to plant out vegeta­bles in­clud­ing run­ner beans, cab­bage, sprout­ing broc­coli and cel­ery

Sow cour­gettes, pump­kins and squashes di­rectly into their grow­ing po­si­tion Lift and dry Ja­panese onions Plant out, wa­ter and feed out­door toma­toes, pep­pers and aubergines

Sup­port new growth of dahlias and feed with a liq­uid fer­tiliser

Wa­ter hydrangeas with a so­lu­tion of colourant to en­sure blue va­ri­eties re­main blue next sea­son and to en­cour­age pink ones to turn blue where soil con­di­tions are not nat­u­rally acid

Keep the pond bal­anced, cov­er­ing around a half to two thirds of the sur­face area with float­ing plants like wa­ter lilies

Re­cy­cle grass clip­pings, com­post­ing them in a bin or us­ing them as a mulch round trees and bushes

Pinch out the tips of trail­ing plants in hang­ing bas­kets to make them branch out and pick off dead flow­ers ev­ery few days

Trim back rose stems that have fin­ished flow­er­ing to a point just above a leaf, to en­cour­age the for­ma­tion of new growth and a late flush of flow­ers

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