July is a lovely month when gardens are looking at their best. If you’ve been growing your own this year, you’ll probably be enjoying some of those crops too – tomatoes, strawberries, courgettes and runner beans to name but a few.
A really great July means lots of time spent in the garden, enjoying the space that you have helped to create. But don’t worry, there’s plenty to keep you busy out there this month, too. Here are just a few ideas of gardening jobs for July:
Keep feeding those plants
With so much growth happening right now, and so much flowering, give your plants a helping hand to look their best by giving them a weekly feed. There are different types of feed available but as a good general purpose and good value feed, choose tomato feed. If you are wondering what to do in the garden in July, watering and feeding have got to be the most important tasks on the list.
If you’re growing tomatoes, water them daily – don’t let them dry out – feed them weekly. Keep pinching out any sideshoots.
Talking of tomatoes…
I used to think tomatoes were very easy to grow – mainly because they’re such reliable germinators from seed and the growth they put on so rapidly is pretty impressive. But I’ve come to realise they’re actually pretty high maintenance as plants go! They need pinching out, feeding, regular watering… and if you neglect them for a day or two they can punish you. One of the issues you might get if you don’t keep your tomatoes regularly watered is blossom end rot – see picture below – which is basically where you get a ‘flat bottomed’ tomato which is usually black or brown at the bottom. It’s caused by lack of water, or irregular watering. But the good news is, it’s not a ‘disease’, so if you water properly from now on, the new developing fruit should be just fine.
Many of the plants in our gardens will benefit very much from a regular ‘deadheading’ session. So what is deadheading? When a flower is past its best, simply snip it off (cutting as far back down the stem as you can, until you meet another stem, a leaf or bud). It’s importat to get rid of the dead flowerheads as it encourages the plant to produce many more flowers, and for longer, so just a quick trim every few days will bring the best out of your plants. This works really well for dahlias, roses, cosmos, geraniums, lupins and more. If you are growing sweetpeas, don’t forget to pick them regularly and bring them inside as colourful and gorgeous smelling cut flowers. By preventing the plant from being able to set seed, it will flower for longer.
Take a look at some of your taller plants – are they struggling to stay upright on their own? The best rule of thumb is to stake them (putting in a cane or other support that you can loosely tie the main stem of the plant to) before they need it. If you have tall plants like sunflowers, cosmos and some dahlias in your garden, they may well welcome the help. If you have climbers, keep an eye on them – they may need tying in to keep them on the right track.
Still time to sow some more vegetables
Even if you’ve nothing edible growing in the garden yet, it’s not too late to get growing! You’ve time to do one last batch of peas, dwarf beans and carrots for an autumn crop if you plant them in the first half of this month. You can also still sow little batches of spinach, fast growing salad leaves and rocket every few weeks so that you’ll be kept in salad for a little while yet. Choose ‘cut and come again’ varieties for extra value for money – and remember, you don’t need loads of space for this, they’ll be happy grown in fairly small pots. Don’t forget, if you need a head start with any fruit or veg, there are still plants you can buy in garden centres like Newbank in Newton-le-Willows.
Protect your veggies
If you are growing any brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, etc) cover them now with a fine netting. This will stop pesky cabbage white butterflies laying their eggs on the leaves and destroying your crop. Check under their leaves to see if any are hiding there! Netting is also useful if you’re growing soft fruits, such as strawberries, which may otherwise be eaten by the birds before you get a chance.
Get more strawberry plants for free
If you have strawberry plants in the garden, you’ll notice they will have started sending out ‘runners’ – really long shoots with no fruit on them. If you peg these runners into some soil they will become new strawberry plants, giving you even more fruit next year! (You can snip these runners off, though, if you simply can’t cope with any more plants… but I’m not sure ‘too many plants’ is really a thing?!)
Give your houseplants some TLC
It’s a good idea to start feeding your houseplants on a weekly basis from now until Autumn. And if your plants have accumulated dust (who’s hasn’t?), the warm days of July are a good time to take them outside and give them a gentle hose down to get them looking their best again. You can even leave the houseplants outside for a little while, and let them have a holiday in the garden while the weather is good. You might notice a real improvement in their appearance.
In need of some help in your garden?
Check out the local gardening companies we have listed in our Lowton and Golborne Directory if you need help in the garden – from mowing the lawn to total landscaping projects.
About the author:
My name is Gemma. I’m the editor of Lowton & Golborne News and a very keen but amateur gardener. I mainly enjoy growing flowers in my Golborne garden, but this year, with new raised beds, I’m also trying my hand at growing edibles, too. You can follow my garden on Instagram @gandtgarden.