July is a big month for your garden – all that work that you put in earlier in the year will finally start to show. Now it’s time to enjoy it! If you have a vegetable garden you’ll probably find that by the end of the month you’ll have some gorgeous home-grown goodies to eat. Plus, your flowers will be starting to bloom and a beautiful display will be on show. So, if you’re anything like us, you’ll be spending as much of your spare time as possible out there – barbecues, family time, and a good bit of relaxation are all on the cards.
But, it’s not all that easy. Although you must put time aside to make the most of your garden this month, there is still plenty to be doing. Pests need to be kept at bay, flowers need to be dead-headed, not to mention all the watering you’ll need to do.
Top tips for what to do in the garden in July…
– Remove the faded flowers and flowerheads from all of your bedding plants. By getting rid of them you will encourage the plants to produce more blooms and extend the season of colour. You can also feed your bedding plants with a tomato fertiliser to help the plant make new flowers.
– Water, water, water! Water your whole garden thoroughly twice a week – and more in very hot weather. Water at the base of plants, rather than the foliage – making a ‘pool’ around individual plants will make sure that the water goes directly to the root, where it is needed the most. Try to use your hose minimally – use water butts as much as you can.
– If you want to raise summer-flowering plants from your own seed, then now is time to start collecting. If you delay your collecting for too long then the seeds might end up dropping into the garden soil. If some look as though they aren’t quite ready to drop, then place a paper bag over the seed head, tied around the stem.
– Plant your second cropping potatoes now to give you some lovely new potatoes for Christmas. The best thing to do is to plant them in pots or bags, so they can be brought under cover before the first frosts.
– If your lawn is looking a little sorry for itself then you need to take action, fast. This is your last chance to feed your lawn with special lawn fertiliser – it’ll encourage a healthy green lawn for the rest of summer.
– Pick and collect all the gorgeous fruit and vegetables that you planted earlier in the year. Courgettes, runner beans, beetroot, peas, carrots, potatoes, salad leaves and tomatoes are just a few that’ll be ready for harvest. Enjoy your home-grown goodies raw and think about making chutneys and jams too.
– As tempting as it may be, resist from harvesting more rhubarb stems – this will allow the plant to build up reserves for next year.
– Do you grow herbs? Pick, dry and freeze them now. Herbs are perfect to freeze and it’ll make sure that you have plenty to use throughout the year. If, when chopping your herbs, you find you are left with some leftover, a little trick is to pop them in an ice cube tray with water and freeze them into herb-ice cubes.
– It’s time to declare war on weeds! As you’ll know, there are few more important jobs in your garden than weeding. The key to successfully weeding is ensuring that you do it regularly – if you put it on the backburner for a little too long, the weeds can really take hold and it’ll make your life ten times harder in the long run. Tilling through the soil around your plants with a hoe, just skimming beneath the surface to chop the heads of emerging seedlings, is the best way to go about this. Just make sure you do this when the weather is dry as it will be a lot easier.
– Suckers sprouting from grafted rose rootstocks will grow vigorously throughout the summer. Be sure to keep them in check as you’ll be surprised at how quickly they can take over. You can remove them by snipping them off at the base.
– Keep an eye out for pests on your plants – it’s always best to spot them early and treat them right away.
A gardening idea for this month…
– If you have a little spare time, have you ever thought about making pot-pourri? It’s so simple to make with dried flowers scented with essential oils. For a dry pot-pourri, harvest flowers as they begin to open. Think about using golden rod, larkspur, marigold, pansy and globe amaranth – they’ll really bring some colour to your pot-pourri.
Don’t forget the most important of all the jobs on your to-do list this month… Set aside some time to laze around your garden and take in how lovely it looks!