July jobs and tips for your garden

 

This is often one of the hottest months of the year and a great time to sit out and enjoy your garden. Keep plants looking good by regularly dead-heading, and you'll enjoy a longer display of blooms. Make sure you keep new plants well-watered, And hoe off weeds, which thrive in the sunshine. Although this is still a busy month, with all the watering and dead-heading to be done, don’t forget to find time to sit back and relax so that you can enjoy all the hard work you’ve put in to achieve such a beautiful display!

 

General:

• Order catalogues for next year’s spring-flowering bulbs.

 

• Water tubs and new plants if dry, but be water-wise.

 

• Make sure you have someone looking after houseplants while on holiday.

 

• Try watering the soil around the base of plants rather than the foliage. Make pools around individual plants

so that the water is directed straight to the roots where it is needed.

 

• Water your containers and baskets thoroughly in hot weather. Continue to feed them with a balanced liquid

fertiliser every 2 to 4 weeks.

 

• Collect valuable rainwater.

 

• Remember that with the warmer weather your potted plants, especially those in the greenhouse, will more

than likely require a daily watering. They should also be given a feed, whether in the form of a full strength

one which would be required once a fortnight or a diluted one on a more regular basis.

 

• Crops being grown in growing bags mustn’t be allowed to go short of water, and one solution to assist this

would be to place them on gravel trays.

 

• Also doors and ventilators should be opened each morning but closed again in the early evenings if it is

cool.

 

• As whitefly and red spider mite can be a problem at this time of year keep a check and, if necessary, a

biological control should be used.

 

• Why not carry out any painting or preserving work, when the dry weather comes along, as fences, garden

furniture, sheds, etc. could always do with a regular new coat.

 

Flowers:

• Transplant seedlings of winter/spring flowering plants into seed trays or small pots.

 

• Dead-head bedding plants and roses to encourage further flowering. It’s also advisable to use a spray on

roses for the control of rust, black spot and mildew.

 

• Baskets and containers can dry out quickly in warm, sunny conditions and may need watering twice a day.

Feed regularly to promote flowering.

 

• Remember that by regularly watering and feeding every two weeks, cascading varieties such as million

bells and petunia surfinia will give spectacular displays lasting right through until early frosts.

 

• Sowings can be made of alyssum saxatile, aquilegia, armeria, campanula, coreopsis, delphinium, lychnis,

myosotis, penstemon, pansy, physalis, pyrethrum and helianthemum.

 

• Also at this time sowings of biennials such as foxglove, sweet william, canterbury bells and forget-me-nots

can be made for planting out in autumn.

 

• Cut back faded perennial plants to keep borders tidy.

 

• Cut back Penstemon to encourage flowers, as your Penstemon flowers fade, cut them back to just above a

bud to encourage more flowers.

 

• Cutting back growth in hanging baskets can encourage new flowers and foliage and will revive the display.

Make sure you that feed your baskets well after doing this.

 

• Cut back Delphiniums to encourage new growth.

 

• Cut back hardy Geraniums and Delphiniums after the first flush of flowers to encourage new growth and

further blooms.

 

• Continue to tie in and train new growth on climbing plants.

 

• Prune Wisteria now. Just remove the whippy side-shoots from the main branch framework to about 20cm

from their base (about five leaves from the main stem).

 

• Prune lupins  to encourage further flowers.

 

• If you need to prune your deciduous Magnolia, now is the best time to do it.

 

• Divide clumps of Bearded Iris  now so they have time to form roots and flowers buds for next year before

the cold weather arrives.

 

• Take cuttings from your favourite tender plants for over-wintering indoors. Cuttings can also still be taken

from shrubs and herbaceous perennials.

 

• Dead-head your roses to keep them looking tidy. Leave the flowers in place if your rose produces attractive

hips (seed pods).

 

• Dead-head sweet peas regularly to keep them blooming. Water daily in dry weather.

 

• Capture seed heads from dandelions and other weeds. Collect them before they get a chance to release

their seeds and spread throughout your garden.

 

• Keep an eye out for pests on plants, early treatment is best.

 

• Stop rust damaging hollyhock foliage by pruning out affected leaves and/or spraying with a fungicide.

 

• Look out for Clematis Wilt. Symptoms include wilting leaves and black discolouration on the leaves and

stems. Cut out all affected material and dispose of it in your household waste.

 

• Now is a good time to spray ground elder, bindweed and other persistent weeds with a glyphosate-based

weed killer as the plants now have lots of leaf surface area with which to absorb it.

 

 

Perennials and Bulbs:

• Flowers that are coming to their end should be removed, as this may with some varieties encourage further

flowering.

 

•Flower-spikes can be cut down to just above a new shoot or leaf, apply liquid feed to each plant to

encourage fresh growth.

 

• Dahlias especially will be growing well, and for the plants to produce a greater number of flowers, the first

bloom should be cut with a very short stem and avoid cutting into the flower buds below.

 

• If larger flowers are required – remove the flower bud shoots (this is disbudding) below the main leading

flower bud, which will strengthen the stem, and make the flower size noticeably larger.

 

• By pinching out shoot tips on chrysanthemums in early July this will encourage shoots to branch out and

carry more blooms.

 

Vegetables:

• Pick courgettes before they become marrows.

 

• If you are growing onions they should not be allowed to go short of water as this will affect the size of crop.

Should conditions be dry it is advisable that the plants are watered once or twice a week; and do keep the

weeds down.

 

• Remove side-shoots on tomatoes and stop the plants when 4-5 trusses have been produced. Feed

regularly with a high potash liquid fertiliser.

 

• Do not allow plants to dry out as this can lead to blossom end rot.

 

• It will soon be time for harvesting second early potatoes, therefore, to make sure the potatoes have

developed into a good size just examine one of the plants and if they are still a bit on the small size leave

them a little longer but remember to water regularly every week.

 

• Beetroot and other crops can be harvested while they are young and tender.

 

• Continue to make sowings of carrot, lettuce and spinach.

 

• Sow spring maturing cabbage using varieties such as April or Offenham 2 – Flower of Spring.

 

• Sowings of broad bean The Sutton and dwarf French beans can still be made until the middle of the month.

 

• Regularly pick runner and French beans and courgettes to encourage further cropping.

 

• Pot-grown sweet corn can be planted out and it is best to place the plants in blocks rather than rows

spacing them out about 45cm (18″) apart each way.

 

• At this time herbs such as thyme and sage produce fresh healthy new stems which if cuttings are taken will

quickly root.

 

• Plant second cropping potatoes now to give you new potatoes for Christmas. Plant your Christmas potatoes

in pots or bags which can be brought under cover before the first frosts.

 

• Pepper plants will benefit from being potted on into progressively larger pots.

 

• Train cucumber stems upwards instead of trailing over the ground, to make the most of the space available.

Simply tie in their long stems to vertical wires or a wigwam of poles.

 

• If you're growing aubergines pinch out the growing tip once they have 5 or 6 fruits. Pick fruits while they are

young. You can expect to start harvesting in mid to late summer.

 

• Nip off the growing tips of squash and courgette to encourage branching.

 

• Pinch out tomato side shoots each week. Cut off any leaves growing below the lowest ripening fruit trusses

to improve air circulation and prevent diseases.

 

• Boost your tomato crop by regularly feeding them with dilute tomato fertiliser once a week. If leaves look

pale and yellow feed more regularly.

 

• Feed crops with a general purpose fertiliser.

 

• Apply a high-potash fertiliser once fruits start to form on peppers, cucumber and tomatoes. You can use this

on sunflowers too.

 

• Harvest garlic when the tops start to bend over and yellow.

 

• Pick your courgettes while they are young. Regular picking encourages more fruit.

 

• Encourage more marrows by harvesting regularly. Marrows that form in July and August should reach a

good size by autumn. Let their skins harden in the sun before cutting them later in September or October.

They can be stored into winter.

 

• Pick, dry and freeze herbs for using later in the year.

 

• Resist the temptation to harvest more rhubarb stems. This allows the plant to build up reserves for next

year.

 

• Pick your runner beans regularly

 

• Pick runner beans regularly to prevent them becoming stringy and to make room for developing pods.

Leaving mature pods on the plant can prevent further flowers forming and reduce your crop.

 

• Harvest beetroot, peas, carrots, chard, potatoes, salad leaves, lettuce and tomatoes this month.

 

• Water your fruit and vegetable crops daily in warm weather. Try to ensure that they are consistently moist.

 

• Use grass clippings as mulch around potato plants to stop tubers near the surface from turning green.

Alternatively earth up your potato plants as they grow. If you're growing potatoes in bags, gradually add

more compost until the bag is full.

 

• Control slugs to prevent them damaging your crops. Try using a natural pest control to reduce numbers.

 

• Tackle blackfly on broad beans by pinching off any affected growing tips.

 

• Check for cabbage white butterfly eggs under brassica leaves and squash any that you find.

 

• Clear away any diseased and spent foliage on and around your vegetable plants to keep them healthy.

 

• Clear weeds regularly, as they compete with your crops for nutrients and water.

 

Fruit:

• Harvest apricots, peaches and nectarines.

 

• Thin out the fruits on your fruit trees to produce good sized crops. This also helps to prevent brown rot.

 

• Protect any developing fruits from birds and squirrels by placing netting around your plants.

 

• If you have plants fruiting in containers, make sure you give them a high potash liquid feed to keep plants

healthy and productive.

 

• Feed lemons and other citrus fruit trees throughout summer with a special citrus fertiliser.

 

• Treat apple scab with a fungicide. Always read the manufacturers label to check the suitability for use on

edible crops.

 

• Check the leaves of gooseberry bushes for sawfly larvae, which can completely strip the foliage in a matter

of days. Jet them off with water or pick them off by hand.

 

• Peg down runners on your strawberry plants to create more plants for next year. If you don't need more

plants simply remove the strawberry runners completely.

 

• Maximise your fig crop by pinching out the tips of side-shoots after they have developed five leaves.

 

• Prune your plum, apricot, peach and cherry trees now. Pruning these species in the summer reduces the

risk of these trees getting silver leaf disease.

 

• If you've trained your apples and pears as cordons, fans or espaliers, give them their summer prune now to

maintain a good shape.

 

• Prune the fruited stems of your blackcurrant bushes after harvesting.

 

• Raspberries are shallow rooted so they will appreciate being watered generously in hot, dry weather.

 

• After all your efforts in growing soft fruit, it’s time to make the most of those strawberries, raspberries,

redcurrants, whitecurrants, cherries and rhubarb.

 

• Surplus strawberry runners should be removed by cutting them close to the plants.

 

• Prune established plums and apricots.

 

• Trim new growth of gooseberries in the early part of the month if not carried out last month.

 

• New canes of blackberries and loganberries should be tied to supports.

 

• Container grown apples can be pruned by cutting back side shoots to within five buds of where they

originate.

 

• The tips of figs can be pruned of any unwanted side-shoots below the fifth leaf or remove completely.

 

Lawn Care:

• Give the lawn a quick-acting summer feed, especially if not given a spring feed.

 

• It is advisable to mow lawns at least once a week, if possible twice, keeping the edges neat.

 

• Lawns should be fed, if this has not already been done. However, don’t mow as often during long, dry spells

just let the grass grow longer plus summer feeds shouldn’t be used as this encourages new growth.

 

• Lawns in drought areas may turn brown during warm weather in the summer, making the look less

attractive, but try not to use a sprinkler as they will quickly recover once wet weather returns in Autumn, if

not sooner!

 

• Remember to treat weeds and moss.

 

• When weed killer has been applied do not add the first few mowing clippings to the compost heap.

 

• Having problems with moles ruining your lawn, why not use a natural solution such as Anti-Mole Bulbs.

 

• This is your last chance to feed your lawn with a special lawn fertiliser to encourage healthy green growth.

 

• Water your lawn during hot weather, particularly newly seeded or turfed lawns. Do not allow new lawns to

dry out.

 

• If you are experiencing prolonged dry weather, set your mower blades higher to reduce stress on the grass.

 

• Warm weather encourages rapid weed growth - apply specific lawn weed killer to tackle this problem.

 

• If your lawn is infested by ants, brush out the nests on a dry day. Always brush them away before mowing.

 

Greenhouse:

• Check plants daily. Water first thing in the morning or in the evening to reduce water loss through

evaporation.

 

• Harden off and plant out any plug plants that you have been growing on.

 

• Damp down your greenhouse on hot days to increase humidity and deter red spider mites.

 

• Open vents and doors daily to provide adequate ventilation.

 

• Use blinds or apply shade paint to prevent the greenhouse from over-heating in sunny weather.

 

• Try hanging sticky traps to catch flying pests and help determine which pest control is needed.

 

• Tidy up fallen leaves and flowers to discourage the spread of fungal disease.

July banner copy