July’s gardening jobs
After a wonderful April & May, the weather turned in June and we’ve had a mixture or sunshine, showers and some cool days, which was a bit of a shock to the system after the hot weather. The rain was needed for the garden though and fingers crossed we’ll soon return to warm, sunny weather.
When we went into lockdown back in March, I think most of us thought that by summer it would be all back to normal! I certainly thought that the late summer garden shows would run and we’d be able to have visitors to our garden, but sadly all shows are cancelled for the year, which is a shame, but the right thing to do.
No excuse not to keep busy though and here are some ideas for things to do in the garden.
As the flowers on roses fade, remove the old flowers to encourage more to develop. Either snap off the faded heads or cut back the flowering stems by a third to a bud to promote new shoots to grow. I also like to give a mid-season feed to encourage healthy growth through the second half of the summer.
Make sure that all summer containers and hanging baskets are always well watered as even in rainy weather they can quickly dry out. A weekly high potash feed will also keep them flowering.
This year spring flowering shrubs such as philadelphus and deutzia have bloomed very well. If the shrub is getting too large for its position the ideal time to give it a light prune is as soon as the flowers have finished. Aim to cut out half the stems that have flowered to reduce the size and improve the shape of the bush.
Established clumps of bearded irises can be lifted and divided in July to prevent them becoming overcrowded. The long leaves can be cut down by two-thirds and always plant so that the top of the fleshy rhizome is visible above the soil and position them in full sun.
If we get a spell of dry, sunny weather keep mowing the lawn and to help it stay green, raise the height of cut slightly.
Garlic and shallots are usually ready to lift during July. Once the bulbs are out of the ground, dry them off outside in sunny weather, or if damp, take them into an airy shed to dry thoroughly.
Feed tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers once a week with a high potash tomato fertiliser to help the flowers and fruits develop.
If you’re growing courgettes remember they grow very fast so you’ll need to harvest them at least a couple of times a week to prevent them from growing into marrows!
There is still time to sow beetroot, carrots, lettuce, radishes, spring onions, pak choi, spinach and turnips directly into the garden to give you a late summer and early autumn harvest.
Make sure runner and French beans are watered in dry weather to help the flowers set and after watering mulch the soil with compost or grass clippings to seal in the moisture.
Top up ponds and water features as the water evaporates in dry weather. Rainwater is always best in ponds, but if you haven’t got any, mains tap water is fine.
Give your houseplants a summer holiday and stand them outside in a shady position for a few weeks and water and feed regularly!
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