The lazy hazy crazy days of summer have been rolled out, and we suddenly wonder how those bronzed people living in the Med can work in the heat; that is why the siesta was invented, my friend. In between holidays and siestas, however, there’s always time for gardening! If you are going away, this is where it pays to be kind to your neighbours and friends. If not, installing a drip irrigation system is an option; and the old trick of leaving plants in the bath with a bit of water seems to be effective, if frowned upon. Here’s what to do in the garden in July:
In the garden
- Lengthen flowering time of your precious blooms such as dahlias and roses by deadheading.
- If rose buds are closed, peel the top petals off.
- Start collecting seeds for next year’s annuals.
- Mow the lawn once a week if it’s not too dry and even then, set it at a higher cut.
- Mulching borders can help retain moisture; this will keep down the weeds.
- prop up tall perennials such as lupins, delphiniums and gladioli.
- Prioritise pots, baskets and seedlings when watering.
- Take semi-ripe cuttings of shrubs such as choisya and hydrangea.
In the kitchen garden
- Container-grown apples can be pruned back to 5 buds.
- Harvest garlic if tops have started to brown.
- Plant winter brassicas.
- Some fruit frees will hang on to more blossoms than they need, shake some branches to lose the buds.
- If you haven’t already, start harvesting your early potatoes; it’ll soon be time to harvest second earlies!
- Harvest fruit and veg such as courgettes before they become marrows. It’s also time to enjoy peas and strawberries.
- Remove tomato suckers.
- Take cuttings of thyme and sage.
- Prune cherries, plums and peaches to avoid silver leaf.
- Start planting autumn-flowering bulbs such as amaryllis and crocus
- Biennials such as foxgloves, forget-me-nots and Sweet William
- Remember to water daily, and water legally! Use recycled water where possible.
- Keep an eye out for green and black fly.
- Keep hosing down the greenhouse.
- Clear algae, blanket weeds and debris from the pond; keep the pond topped up.
- When weed killer has been applied to the lawn, do not add first few clippings to the compost heap.
- Watch out for aphids on stems and leaves of young shoots.
- Ensure newly planted trees and shrubs do not dry out.
- Remember the birds! If the hot weather continues and the ground hardens, it will be much more difficult for them to find food. Do not forget to keep the bird bath topped up with water.
So, essentially, weeding, watering, feeding, harvesting and deadheading. Sleep and repeat! What is your favourite cut flower? Have you had an bumper crops so far?