- 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 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.
- ‘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 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 autumn flowering bulbs such as autumn-flowering crocus.
- Take internodal cuttings of ** taking cuttings above and below a node.
- Take semi-ripe cuttings of lavender, thyme, rosemary and sage.
- 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. Some common garden birds such as House Sparrows can have three and sometimes four broods.
- 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. In a ‘your enemy’s enemy is your friend’ kind of way, you should consider wasps as allies against nuisance bugs like aphids.
- Butterflies of all kinds are active throughout the summer. Look out for citizen science projects to assist butterfly conservation like the 2020 Big Butterfly Count and the Butterfly Garden Survey.
- 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. We’ve seen this same large copper coloured dragonfly at the plot in late June and through July 2020.