7. Things to do in July

 

Kitchen Garden

  • Beans: Look out for aphids and spray with detergent based insecticide.
  • Brassicas: Long-term crops like sprouting broccoli should be generously mulched, particularly after heavy rain (or watering) to encourage water retention.  Check broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, pak choi etc for mealy cabbage aphids & caterpillars.
  • Squash: Female flowers of squashes of all kinds – courgettes, marrows & pumpkins – may need manual pollination with a male flower if fruit is to set.  Nip off the growing tips of zucchini & squash to encourage branching.
  • Tomatoes: To prevent tomato fruit blackening at the flower end (aka flower end rot) keep plants evenly moist.   Boost your crop by regularly feeding with dilute tomato fertiliser once a week.  If leaves look pale and yellow feed more regularly.  Spray tomatoes and potatoes with copper-based fungicide against blight (RHS, The Garden, July 2013)
  • Soft Fruits: Water raspberries, gooseberry, currants during dry weather to encourage good fruiting.  Fruiting shrubs and trees need water to enhance fruiting.
  • Apples & Pears: Thin dessert & cooking- to 1 or 2 fruits spaced every 4-6 inches (15-23cm).  Look out for orange spots on the upper surface of pear leaves, which is a sign of pear rust.  Pick off and destroy affected leaves.   Treat wooly aphid on apples by scrubbing off their white protective ‘wool’ with a stiff bristled brush.
  • Cherry & Plum trees: Prune after fruiting.  Remove weak, damaged and crossing branches.  Thin slightly if necessary.

Plant Out 

  •   Plant out young winter cabbages such as ‘Winter Jewel’ (RHS, The Garden, July 2013, p23)
  • Plant specially prepared potato tubers for a Christmas crop.  Grow in a sheltered spot.

 

Avoiding Bolting  

  • ‘Bolting’ is – to cut a long story short – racing to set seed.  The ‘race to the end.’  Ahem
  • It’s a fever!  Hot spells and drought can bring on bolting – of which many garden crops are susceptible, including  lettuce, sorrel, spinach, brassicas, and so on.
  • Grow succession crops to stagger stages of plant growth across a crop.  (Yum!)
  • Water plants regularly in hot, dry weather to minimise stress.
  • Grow oriental brassicas like pak choi and mustard greens from late summer, when less prone to extremes of temperature.

 

Sow Directly Outdoors 

  • Make more sowings of French beans & Runner beans to extend your cropping season well into the autumn.  Direct sow or start them in small pots.  Expect to harvest late August.
  • Direct sow lettuce seeds every 3 weeks to ensure a continuous supply.
  • Now is an ideal time to start your first direct sown crops of pak choi as they are prone to bolting if grown before midsummer.
  • Make your last sowings of peas now so that they develop before the frosts.
  • Perpetual spinach can be direct sown for autumn and winter cropping.
  • Sow spring cabbages, chard and perennial spinach for crops into next spring.
  • Early July sow spinach, chard & turnip for autumn harvests.
  • Kohl rabi – direct sow now and it will be ready in as little as 8 weeks.
  • Sow basil in pots to bring indoors for winter.
  • Make season’s last direct sowing of beetroot so they mature in time for autumn.
  • Direct sow fast-maturing carrots (eg  ‘Nantes Frubund’ and ‘Amsterdam Forcing’)
  • Sow fast-growing herbs such as coriander, dill & parsley directly into ground or into containers.
  • Direct sow endive for a tasty autumn crop.
  • Add colour to your stir-fries with Raddichio:  sow seeds directly into the soil.
  • Make small direct sowings of radish every few weeks to ensure a constant supply. Water frequently in hot weather.  Expect to start harvesting within a month.
  • Direct sow leaf salad regularly throughout the summer.  Pick leaves when small and remove any spent plants.  Expect to start harvesting in 3 weeks.  Good crops include land cress, corn salad, spinach, and oriental leaves such as komatsuna and herbs such as parsley and coriander.
  • Spring cabbages can be sown now in a well prepared seed bed for transplanting later.
  • Spring onions: Continue to sow in drills outdoors for a quick crop to add to salads and stir fries.
  • Add colour by direct sowing Swiss Chard ‘Bright Lights’ –  this will over-winter to give a bumper spring crop.
  • Turnip: Direct sow 1cm deep.  Thin seedlings to 15cm apart and keep moist.  Can start harvesting in 60 days.
  • Flowers: biennials like Sweet William and Stock to flower the next year.

 

Harvest

  • Harvest autumn-planted onions, shallots and garlic
  • Harvest early potatoes for best flavour when they are about a hen’s egg’s size.  Lift one plant first to check tuber development.

 

Flower / Ornamental Garden

  • Bearded Iris: Divide if flowering is declining.  Replant youngest sections 12 inches (30 cm) apart.
  • Deadhead perennial flowers.  (*An exception to this rule of thumb is sea holly, which won’t re-flower after deadheading, so best to leave the spent flower heads on for autumn interest.  As also is the case for rudebekia and echinacea).
  • Roses: Deadhead roses to encourage repeat flowering.  Water in dry weather to discourage powdery mildew.
  • Feed dahlia and canna with high-potassium feed such as tomato feed.
  • Camelia: water in dry weather to encourage flowering in the coming spring.
  • Control weeds before they take over!

 

Plant

  • Plant autumn flowering bulbs such as autumn-flowering crocus.

 

Cuttings

  • Take internodal cuttings of ** taking cuttings above and below a node.
  • Take semi-ripe cuttings of lavender, thyme, rosemary and sage.

 

Wild Things

  • Keep birdbaths and water areas topped up when weather is hot and dry.
  • Garden birds will be ‘fledging’ – ie leaving their nests – at this time.
  • July is peak bat watching time.  Look out for them patrolling the summer skies at dusk.
  • Adult frogs and toads will be leaving ponds.  Make sure they have stones or wooden ramps to use to exit.
  • Wasps can help control many garden pests.
  • Keep your eyes out for dragonflies.  Mr G and I saw a beautiful copper coloured dragonfly flitting about the back patch gardens on a scorching day Saturday 7 July 2018, with the sun high in the sky and temperatures over 30 degree Celcius.  A real beauty and quite mysterious as usually you see dragonfly near open water.
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