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What To Do In The Garden In July.

Whilst July is often one of the hottest months of the year and a great time to sit out and enjoy your plants and your garden, it’s also important to keep on top of dead-heading so that you enjoy a longer display of blooms, weeding, watering and pests.

July is also a very productive month for gardening. All the hard work put in during the spring now starts to pay off, with so many fruits and vegetables ready for harvest. By the end of July many gardeners find themselves swamped with a surplus of delicious veg like cucumbers, courgette, Swiss chard, lettuce, beetroot, and French beans. Make sure you don’t waste any excess vegetables, and freeze the surplus where appropriate.

What should gardeners be doing in July?

Here are Ladybrook Nursery’s top tips for jobs to do in the garden this month:

The Flower Garden.

  •  Cut back faded perennial plants to keep borders tidy.
  • As your Penstemon flowers fade, cut them back to just above a bud to encourage more flowers.
  • Cut back growth in hanging baskets. This will encourage new flowers and foliage and will revive the display. Feed your baskets well after doing this.
  • Cut back hardy Geraniums and Delphiniums after the first flush of flowers to encourage new growth and further blooms.
  • Continue to tie in and train new growth on climbing plants.
  • Prune Wisteria by removing the wispy side-shoots from the main branch framework to about 20cm from their base (about five leaves from the main stem).
  • Prune Lupins to encourage further flowering.
  • If you need to prune your deciduous Magnolia, July is the best time to do it.
  • Divide clumps of Bearded Irises so they have time to form roots and flowers buds for next year before the cold weather arrives.
  • Take cuttings from your favourite tender plants for over-wintering indoors. Cuttings can also still be taken from shrubs and herbaceous perennials.
  • Dead-head bedding plants and perennial plants to stop them self-seeding and to encourage further flowering.
  • Dead-head Roses to keep them looking tidy. Leave the flowers in place if your rose produces attractive hips, (seed pods).
  • Dead-head Sweet Peas regularly to keep them blooming. Water daily in dry weather.
  • Capture seed heads from dandelions and other weeds. Collect them before they get a chance to release their seeds and spread throughout your garden.
  • Keep an eye out for pests on plants, early treatment is best.
  • Stop rust damaging Hollyhock foliage by pruning out affected leaves and/or spraying with a fungicide.
  • Look out for Clematis Wilt. Symptoms include wilting leaves and black discolouration on the leaves and stems. Cut out all affected material and dispose of it in your household waste.
  • July is a good month for spraying 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.

The Fruit Garden.

  • Pick soft fruit: strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries, and blueberries should be ready for picking. Pick on a warm dry day for the best flavour, and pick regularly as the fruits do not all ripen at the same time.
  • If you haven’t done so already, prune cherry trees. The best time to prune is just after harvesting when the trees are still in their growing season.
  • If you need extra strawberry plants, propagate your own from the runners that the plants start sending out. Rooted runners will provide strawberries next year.
  • Thin out apples and pears so that you’ll harvest bigger fruits.
  • Water blueberries: water frequently and heavily with rainwater, particularly if they are grown in pots. You can also give them a feed of ericaceous fertilizer.
  • Raspberry suckers that grow between rows should be removed. If you have any gaps in your line, then use these to fill them in.

The Vegetable Garden.

  • Pick cucumbers, courgette, peas, French beans, carrots, beetroot, beans, lettuce, salad, mangetout, early tomatoes and the last few broad beans.
  • Harvest regularly: the more you crops like courgettes, beans and tomatoes, the more they will produce, so keep picking regularly.
  • Freeze your excess vegetables if you’ve got a surplus, especially broad beans and peas. Only freeze veg that is in tip-top condition.
  • Keep weeding the vegetable patch and don’t allow any weeds to flower and self-seed, or you’ll face problems next year.
  • Keep planting: there are still lots of vegetables that you can sow in July, including French beans, peas, lettuce, beetroot, kohl rabi, carrots, turnip, spinach, pak choi, raddicchio, Swiss chard and radish. As soon as soil becomes free, start sowing again.
  • Feed tomatoes; Feed them once a week with a liquid tomato feed or comfrey tea, particularly if they’re grown in pots or grow bags. This ensures they are getting all the nutrients they require to give you the best flavoured tomatoes.
  • Keep a good eye out for pests: get rid of the aphids on broad beans either by squashing them or spraying them. If you don’t they will just move onto other plants like French and runner beans. If you’ve got a greenhouse, check for whitefly, mealybugs and red spider mite.
  • Water regularly: if the weather is dry, then water your vegetables regularly. They can’t produce a lot of veg if they don’t have much water. Plants in pots or in the greenhouse will need watering daily.
  • Tie up tomatoes and nip out the side shoots: cordon tomatoes will need staking as they grow. Tie the stem at regular intervals to a cane or stake in the ground. Remove any side shoots from cordon tomatoes. Bush tomatoes often benefit from a short stake to stop them being blown about.
  • Plant out your leeks to their final growing position.
  • Harvest new potatoes if they are large enough to eat.
  • Harvest onions and garlic: when the leaves of onion and garlic start yellowing and dying back, they are ready to lift. Lift them on a dry day and leave on the soil to dry before storing.
  • If you haven’t done so already, transplant your winter brassicas, like broccoli, cabbage, purple sprouting broccoli, kale, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts to their final growing position. Protect with butterfly netting, and be vigilant checking the leaves for butterfly eggs and caterpillars. Remove any you see.

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