Even though July is still a busy month, especially with all the watering and dead-heading to be done……why not find time to sit back and relax so that you can enjoy all the hard work you’ve put in to achieve such a beautiful display!
After all your efforts in growing soft fruit, it’s time to make the most of those strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants, whitecurrants, cherries and rhubarb. Surplus strawberry runners should be removed by cutting them close to the plants. Prune established plums and apricots. Trim new growth of gooseberries in the early part of the month if not carried out last month. New canes of blackberries and loganberries should be tied to supports. Container grown apples can be pruned by cutting back side shoots to within five buds of where they originate. The tips of figs can be pruned of any unwanted sideshoots below the fifth leaf or remove completely.
Protect fruit bushes from birds by placing netting over them, but remember to check daily making sure no birds are trapped.
If you are growing onions they should not be allowed to go short of water as this will affect the size of crop. Should conditions be dry it is advisable that the plants are watered once or twice a week; and do keep the weeds down.
Remove side shoots on tomatoes and stop the plants when 4-5 trusses have been produced. Feed regularly with a high potash liquid fertiliser. Do not allow plants to dry out as this can lead to blossom end rot.
It will soon be time for harvesting second early potatoes, therefore, to make sure the potatoes have developed into a good size just examine one of the plants and if they are still a bit on the small size leave them a little longer but remember to water regularly every week. Beetroot and other crops can be harvested while they are young and tender.
Continue to make sowings of carrot, lettuce and spinach. Sow spring maturing cabbage using varieties such as April or Offenham 2 – Flower of Spring. Sowings of broad bean The Sutton and dwarf french beans can still be made until the middle of the month. Regularly pick runner and french beans and courgettes to encourage further cropping.
Pot grown sweet corn can be planted out and it is best to place the plants in blocks rather than rows spacing them out about 45cm (18″) apart each way. At this time herbs such as thyme and sage produce fresh healthy new stems which if cuttings are taken will quickly root.
Transplant seedlings of winter/spring flowering plants into seed trays or small pots. Dead-head bedding plants and roses to encourage further flowering. It’s also advisable to use a spray on roses for the control of rust, black spot and mildew. Baskets and containers can dry out quickly in warm, sunny conditions and may need watering twice a day. Feed regularly to promote flowering.
Remember that by regularly watering and feeding every two weeks, cascading varieties such as million bells and petunia surfinia will give spectacular displays lasting right through from June until early frosts.
Sowings can be made of alyssum saxatile, aquilegia, armeria, campanula, coreopsis, delphinium, lychnis, myosotis, penstemon, pansy, physalis, pyrethrum and helianthemum. Also at this time sowings of biennials such as foxglove, sweet william, canterbury bells and forget-me-nots can be made for planting out in autumn.
Bulbs & Perennials
Dahlias especially will be growing well, and for the plants to produce a greater number of flowers, the first bloom should be cut with a very short stem and avoid cutting into the flower buds below. If larger flowers are required – remove the flower bud shoots (this is disbudding) below the main leading flower bud, which will strengthen the stem, and make the flower size noticeably larger. By pinching out shoot tips on chrysanthemums in early July this will encourage shoots to branch out and carry more blooms.
Flowers that are coming to their end should be removed, as this may with some varieties encourage further flowering. Flower-spikes can be cut down to just above a new shoot or leaf, apply liquid feed to each plant to encourage fresh growth.
It is advisable to mow lawns at least once a week, if possible twice, keeping the edges neat. Lawns should be fed, if this has not already been done, and remember to treat weeds and moss. When weedkiller has been applied do not add the first few mowing clippings to the compost heap. Having problems with moles ruining your lawn, why not use a natural solution such as Anti-Mole Bulbs.
General & Pond Care
Remember that with the warmer weather your potted plants, especially those in the greenhouse, will more than likely require a daily watering. They should also be given a feed, whether in the form of a full strength one which would be required once a fortnight or a diluted one on a more regular basis. Crops being grown in growing bags mustn’t be allowed to go short of water, and one solution to assist this would be to place them on gravel trays. Also doors and ventilators should be opened each morning but closed again in the early evenings if it is cool. As whitefly and red spider mite can be a problem at this time of year keep a check and, if necessary, a biological control should be used.
Why not carry out any painting or preserving work, when the dry weather comes along, as fences, garden furniture, sheds, etc. could always do with a regular new coat.
Clean pumps and filters to remove any weeds or other debris that may have built up. Flowering aquatic plants should be deadheaded so that they do not set seed, also tidy up any plants that may get out of hand. Water levels should be topped up during hot spells which will ensure the health of plants and fish, this also prevents damage to the pond liner. Blanketweed should continue to be removed as it appears.