- 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.
- 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.