July in the Garden
In the flower garden.
Summer can still throw out a few surprises – make sure tall plants and climbers are well supported in case of bad weather.
Water at dusk to reduce evaporation and use mulch to retain moisture around plants.
Terracotta pots are prone to evaporation so dampen the pot down to keep roots inside cool and damp.
Regularly deadhead bedding, perennials and roses to encourage new blooms for as long as possible.
Prune wisteria now. Just remove the whippy side-shoots from the main branch framework to about 20cm from their base (about five leaves from the main stem).
If you need to prune deciduous magnolia, now’s the best time to do it.
Divide clumps of iris so they have time to form roots and flower buds for next year before the cold weather arrives.
July is a good time to spray ground elder, bindweed and other persistent weeds with a glyphosate-based weed killer as the plants now have lots of leaf surface area with which to absorb it.
On the veg patch
Train cucumber stems upwards to make the most of the space available. Simply tie in their long stems to vertical wires or use cane supports to create a wigwam of poles.
If you’re growing aubergines, pinch out the growing tip once they have 5 or 6 fruits. Pick fruits while they are young. You can expect to start harvesting mid to late summer.
Pinch out tomato side shoots each week. Cut off any leaves growing below the lowest ripening fruit trusses to improve air circulation and prevent diseases.
Boost your tomato crop by regularly feeding plants with dilute tomato feed once a week. If leaves look pale and yellow, feed more regularly.
Harvest garlic when the tops start to bend over and yellow.
Pick runner beans regularly to prevent them from becoming stringy and to make room for developing pods. Leaving mature pods on the plant can prevent further flowers from forming which reduce your crop.
In the fruit garden
Feed lemons and other citrus fruit trees throughout summer with a special citrus fertiliser.
Check the leaves of gooseberry bushes for sawfly larvae, which can completely strip the foliage in a matter of days. Jet them off with water or pick them off by hand.
Peg down runners on your strawberry plants to create more plants for next year. If you don’t need more plants simply remove the strawberry runners completely.
Maximise your fig crop by pinching out the tips of side shoots after they’ve developed five leaves.
Prune your stone fruit trees like plum, apricot, peach and cherry now. Pruning these species in the summer reduces the risk of silver leaf disease.
If you’ve trained your apples and pears as cordons, fans or espaliers, give them their summer prune now to maintain a good shape.
Prune the fruited stems of blackcurrant bushes after harvesting.
Raspberries are shallow-rooted so they’ll appreciate being watered generously in hot, dry weather.
Wildlife in the summer
Keep birdbaths topped up with clean water in hot weather.
Look after your aphid eaters — ladybirds, hoverflies and lacewings feast on greenfly and blackfly so it’s worth protecting them and make a bug hotel for them to hide in.
If your plants are wilting for no obvious reason, check for vine weevils by tipping your plants out of their pots and looking for ‘C’ shaped creamy maggots amongst the roots. Treat with vine weevil killer or nematodes if vine weevils are spotted.
Create a shallow dish of water with pebbles in for bees to drink without fear of drowning.
Make a shady corner or behind your shed and put some upturned pots there to make a home for toads and hedgehogs
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