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July is here and it’s hard to believe, but our garden year is over halfway through! Not only that, but gardeners are facing the same problem of water shortages as last year, only earlier!
Let’s take a look at our garden task list for July!
Mowing has been unnecessary in many parts due to the dry weather, but if you need to, mow weekly and keep the blades high!
When mowing, leave the cuttings spread on the surface. They will help to preserve moisture.
Should your lawn be losing colour and rain be forecast you can use a general-purpose fertilizer to give it a boost.
Daily watering can be a chore with the dry weather continuing. If you have mulching material like garden compost or bark available, use it around the base of shrubs and perennials to conserve moisture.
‘Dead-heading’ is an essential task to encourage further flowering of both annuals and perennials. Sweet pea flowers should be cut daily for the same reason.
Cut back fading flower spikes from early flowering perennials like delphiniums for a second flowering in late summer.
Hanging baskets may need watering twice a day if dry. Liquid feed regularly if ‘slow-release’ fertilizer was not used when planting.
Tie in rampant shoots on climbing plants.
Prune wisteria by cutting back shoots leaving five leaf joints from the main stem.
Early sown crops will be cropping. They offer that ‘harvest-fresh’ taste and subsequently the best nutrition.
Make sure you continue your successional sowings of salad crops for summer-long crops.
You can also sow crops like ‘golf ball’ sized salad turnips for autumn use and by planting an early potato such as Winston for late autumn cropping.
In the greenhouse make sure you remove those side shoots on cordon tomato varieties - making sure all the energy goes into fruit production. Similarly, pick out the tip of aubergines when five young fruit have formed.
Pick fruit continually on courgettes and cucumbers to encourage further cropping.
Keep a close eye on outdoor crops and apply a general fertilizer if foliage looks pale in colour.
Continue watering in dry weather.
Regular watering is important too in the fruit garden to help swell the fruit.
Remember that raspberries are shallow rooting, so dry conditions will effect crops considerably.
Remember too to water blueberries with rain and not tap water.
Heavy fruit set in apple and pear trees will result in small fruit. ‘Thinning’ will enlarge the remaining fruit, but is of course time consuming.
Continue picking strawberries and if not already done, ‘straw down’ to protect the ripening fruit.
Blackcurrants can be pruned as cropping finishes.
If you have not yet ‘netted’ your fruit patch then there’s still time. Remember that just like you, the birds like fruit too.
Early flowering shrubs such as lilac and wisteria will have finished flowering and may now be pruned to achieve the shape you want. Clematis too can be propagated with softwood cuttings.
‘Dead head’ fading rose flowers regularly and ‘tuck-in’ the vigorous shoots of climbing and rambling roses.
It’s a good time to take softwood cuttings of shrubs like hydrangea and pyracantha.