MONTHLY GARDENING JOBS

Gardening Jobs for July

 

 

 

 "Deep summer is a time when laziness can find respectability."

 

 

 

 

 

Hello,

 

 

It’s summertime and the garden is full of colour and scent from the many flowers such as roses and sweet peas, especially towards the end of the day.

 

Gardening during the hot weather needs to be more leisurely and the plants will appreciate being watered in the morning or evening. 

 

Make sure that the birds have water to drink in dry spells and water hanging baskets and patio containers daily. Remember that plants in containers are dependent on you for their water as they'll get little benefit from any rain. Give them a good soak at least once a day in the warm weather.

 

Continue to deadhead flowers as they fade.

 

To ensure lots of flowers on your wisteria next year, cut back all of this year’s whippy stems to five to seven leaves from where they join the main woody growth.

 

Lift garlic before the stems become too dry and crisp.

 

You can perform a ‘Hampton Hack, similar to the ‘Chelsea Chop’ (carried out in late May when the Chelsea Flower Show is on), the Hampton Hack is a pruning method for herbaceous perennials in early July (coinciding with the Hampton Court Flower Show). It delays flowering and the resulting stems will be sturdier so reducing the tendency to flop. It’s very useful with plants such as Perovskia (Russian Sage) and sedum that often put on too much growth. It’s also helpful with asters, delaying flowering and stopping mounds getting out of control.

 

During hot spells your lawn may begin to look rather brown and worn, it is tempting to water lawns, but it is really not necessary as grass has a remarkable ability to regenerate when the weather becomes cooler. During dry weather, raise the blades on your lawn mower to allow the grass to grow a little bit longer. This will keep it greener and help it retain moisture.

 

Be sure to keep all new plantings well-watered: shrubs and trees in particular can need much more water than you’d think. A thorough dousing twice a week is better than a little each day.

 

Cut lavender for drying, choosing newly opened flowers for the best fragrance, then hang up in a cool, dark place.

 

Prune June flowering shrubs, such as philadelphus, spirea and weigela, after they have flowered, cutting flowered wood back to a new shoot, and removing some of the oldest, less productive wood right down to the base. Prompt pruning allows maximum time for the new growth to develop and produce flowers next year. The idea is to cut down flowering stems by a third to a half before they bloom. You can cut across the whole plant, or just half the clump, say the front half. Or you can go through the clump cutting every other stem. You decide, depending on the results you’re after. You might want to cut some clumps and leave others of the same species to prolong the flowering season. Try it with sedum, helenium, perovskia, solidago, echinacea, aster, coreopsis and phlox.

 

Trim over summer-flowering heathers once they have finished flowering. You can do this with shears, aiming to remove the old flowers, flowering stems plus around an inch or so of the green, leafy shoots.

 

Give dahlias a liquid feed, keep them well watered and tie the shoots of tall varieties to sturdy stakes as they grow.

 

Hoe and hand-weed borders often, so weeds don't have time to set seed.

 

In the warm moist weather pests and diseases may spread rapidly. Keep a careful watch as many can be controlled if they are caught early enough. Ideally spraying in the evening when the bees have gone for the night.

 

Water and feed sweet peas regularly, pick the flowers every few days, and remove seed pods to prolong flowering.

 

Plant autumn bulbs, including nerines, colchicums and Sternberg, in pots and borders.

 

Cut back early summer perennials, such as hardy geraniums and delphiniums, after flowering for a second flush.

 

Plant autumn flowering bulbs.

 

Keep watch for pests such as lily beetles, snails, aphids and vine weevils, and remove before they do too much harm.

 

Pick off flowers on coleus plants to maintain their colourful leaves.

 

Sow biennials, such as foxgloves, honesty, forget-me-nots and wallflowers, for blooms next year.

 

Check crops such as runner beans regularly for aphids, and rub or wash them off straight away, before they multiply

 

Water thirsty plants such as celery, beans, peas, courgettes, pumpkins and tomatoes regularly.  

 

Make the last pickings of rhubarb and remove any flower spikes that start to form, cutting right down at the base

 

Thin out heavy crops of apples, pears and plums, and remove any malformed, damaged or undersized fruits

 

July is the month to prune plum trees, while the weather is dry, when silver leaf fungal disease is less prevalent

 

Sow a last batch of peas and dwarf beans before mid-July for an autumn crop

 

Shorten side shoots growing from the framework of trained fruit trees, reducing to about five leaves from their base

 

Water fruit trees and bushes, then lay a thick mulch of garden compost around their base to hold in moisture

 

Cover brassicas with fine netting to prevent cabbage white butterflies laying their eggs on the leaves

 

Peg down strawberry runners into pots of compost to root new plants

 

Pick courgettes regularly so they don't turn into marrows

 

Sow small batches of fast-maturing salad leaves, rocket and radishes every few weeks for continuous pickings

 

Cut down broad beans after harvesting, but leave the roots in the soil to release nitrogen as they decompose

 

With July, all birds should of finished nesting so now is the month to trim conifers and other garden hedges

 

Scoop out any floating pondweed and algae from pools and water features

 

Deadhead bedding plants, sweet peas and annuals every few days to encourage more flowers

 

Apply tomato feed fortnightly to crops in pots and growing bags, such as tomatoes and chillies, to encourage fruiting

 

Be on the lookout for developing pest problems and act straight away

 

Different types of veg need different ways of watering: 

 

Leafy veg, such as lettuce, chard, kale, spinach, and herbs, such as coriander and basil, need most water to keep growing new leaves.

 

For fruiting veg, such as tomatoes, runner beans and courgettes, wait until flowering before watering, unless conditions are very dry before then.

 

Root vegetables: such as kohlrabi, beetroot and potatoes in their last month of growth, need little water other than when roots do a final swell. Every few days is better than a large dose weekly, which might cause splitting of roots.

 

For plants under cover, water every three or four days in summer, giving plenty each time. Water the soil or compost surface only, keeping leaves dry to reduce opportunities for late blight on tomatoes.

 

Reduce watering in early autumn for tomatoes in soil, to encourage fruit ripening. 

 

Water seed drills before sowing so moisture is in the drill not on top. After sowing, cover with dry soil as this reduces evaporation and keeps moisture near the seeds.

 

In dry weather, new plantings need water every two or three days until established. After a week or so, watering is only needed if the weather is very hot.

 

Cut back early flowering perennials to the ground and they will send up fresh leaves and maybe even the bonus of some extra late-summer flowers. 

 

Give them a boost after pruning with a good soak of water and some tomato feed.

 

Give roses a boost as the first flush of flowers fades by feeding them with a rose food. Gently hoe it into the soil around the plant and water well in.

 

Snip the tops off climbing beans when they reach the top of their supports, to maximise cropping on the sideshoots. If you are growing cordon tomatoes, they will need stopping, too: cut off the main shoot above the fourth truss of developing fruit. That way, all the fruit should ripen before the end of the season. Both need plenty of water to be productive.

 

Keep an eye on your pond, removing any dead or dying vegetation and treating it with barley straw if blanket weed is becoming a problem. Top up if necessary: raising the hose high above the water or fixing a spray attachment will both increase the oxygen in the water.

 

Give your houseplants an airing – bringing them outside for a few weeks will do them good and add a new layer to the garden.

 

 

 

As always, I do wish you ‘Happy Gardening’

 

 

 

 

 

Rog

 

 

 

The above is written by Rog Leppard owner of English Cottage Chic Gardening. I am professional gardener and gardening writer based in The Frenches, East Wellow, Romsey, Hampshire. (Text: 07437 013546)

 

Website, for enquiries and gardening questions: www.english-cottage-chic.co.uk