July is the month of school holidays beginning, normally a month when you are taking your annual holiday – but perhaps not this year. Hopefully, you can experience some quality time in your garden instead. One of the jobs we have all had to carry out less this summer so far is watering – at least in my region of the country! Perhaps watering will be a little more necessary in July …
- If you have lavender and would like to dry some for scent sachets or similar, you should cut newly opened flowers now. Once cut, hang somewhere cool and dark for them to dry.
- Dahlias can need support as they grow at this time of the year, so be sure to tie them to some good supports and feed and water them well.
- Get your weeds under control now, either by hand or using your trusted hoe, to prevent them going to seed and causing you even more trouble next year!
- If you have sweet peas, pick the flowers regularly to ensure they continue to bloom. Removing seed pods will encourage prolonged flowering also.
- Feeding plants such as summer bedding plants and roses is necessary at this time of the year, as is deadheading.
- In preparation for next year, now is the time to start to sow your biennials such as foxgloves and wallflowers for next year’s blooms.
Fruit and Veggies
- Aphids can be a nuisance on runner beans, so check regularly, and get them off before they manage to multiply.
- If you do not have an automatic watering system then you will need to ensure that you water thirsty plants such as your salad plants, beans, peas etc., regularly.
- Rhubarb will be coming to the end of the season, so pick any remaining fruit and then cut any flower spikes back to the bases.
- If you still want to harvest more peas and beans in the autumn, then you will need to sow before the middle of this month.
- Fruit trees will not need as much watering as normal for this time of the year with the wetter weather we have had but laying mulch around the base of the trees will not only provide nutrition, but also help to conserve the water as well.
- We all love butterflies, but to protect your cabbages cover them with a fine net to prevent cabbage whites laying eggs on the leaves.
- If you like courgettes, pick them now before they become marrows!
In the Greenhouse
- When we do get warmer weather, make sure you keep the greenhouse well ventilated with good air circulation.
- Pests such as aphids and weevils can be quite prolific at this time of the year, so keep a close look out and treat as soon as you can.
- Your tomatoes, chillies and cucumbers will all benefit from a high-potash content fertiliser at this time of the year. Consider doing this weekly to keep the fruits coming.
- If you haven’t already, you might want to consider installing an irrigation system in the greenhouse so that you can always ensure the right level of watering for all of your plants.
General Jobs around the Garden
- Keep your compost heap topped up with your kitchen and garden waste. If you chop and mix the contents this will help to speed up the decomposition and you will have ready compost sooner.
- Birds and bees will be on the look-out for clean water to drink and bathe in, so ensure your bird baths are kept clean and topped up during the summer.
- Lawns should be kept a bit longer than normal during the warmer months, so although you should mow regularly, just raise the blades on your mower to leave the grass longer.
Summer Pond Care
Cleaning ponds is best carried out in late autumn, when there are less active creatures about, but ponds will also need care and maintenance during the summer.
- Make sure to keep water at the required levels. Both plants and animal life can suffer from a low water level.
- When you top up your pond, it is best to use rainwater, or any other natural water source if you have access.
- If you keep fish in your pond only add tap water in small amounts as the chlorine in tap water can burn the fish, and the temperature can shock them if too cold.
- To improve oxygen levels in a pond, particularly on hot, humid evenings, either install a water feature that infuses the pond water with oxygen or spray the surface with a hose which breaks the surface and improves the oxygen levels.
- Floating weeds can cause issues for both fish and plants. Drag algae and weeds off the surface and leave on the side overnight. This gives creatures that might be in the weeds to return to the pond before you clear the weeds away.
- If your pond is fitted with wildlife ramps, keep them clear and clean to allow the wildlife easy and safe access to the water.
And once you have finished all your jobs, take a glass of what you fancy and enjoy the fruits of all your hard work in your beautiful garden.