It’s July, and the holidays are here! Time to enjoy the traditional British summer weather, whatever it turns out to be. In the garden, things are looking good, with flowering plants in full bloom and the first fruit and veg ready to harvest. Here are a few tips to keep your garden looking its best through the holiday season.
What to sow in July?
It’s never too soon to start planning for next year, and July is the ideal time to sow biennials like wallflowers, foxgloves and honesty for a dazzling display of flowers next spring. Sow them in a seedbed if you have one, or in pots, for transplanting in late summer or early autumn.
If you sowed winter cabbage and leeks in spring, transplant the seedlings to their final positions now. Now’s also the time to sow next year’s spring cabbage, ready for transplanting in August.
For delicious fresh salads throughout summer, sow lettuce, rocket and radish seeds every fortnight. Lettuce has a tendency to bolt (i.e. produce flowers and set seed) in hot weather, so to reduce the risk of this, sow it where it will be partially shaded by surrounding plants.
Growing your five a day
There’s plenty to do in the vegetable garden in July to ensure a good harvest.
If you’re growing cordon tomatoes – the tall ones that need staking – pinch out the little leafy side shoots that appear where the leaf stems join the main stem. Bush tomatoes don’t need pinching out, which makes them a great choice for first-time tomato growers.
Keep your plants well fed. Give peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers a high potash feed every fortnight once the fruits start to form. Container-planted fruit like blueberries and gooseberries will also benefit from a fortnightly feed.
Earth up maincrop potatoes or mulch with grass clippings around their stems to stop potatoes near the surface turning green. Remember – green potatoes are toxic!
Pick courgettes and beans regularly. This will encourage the plants to produce more, giving you a harvest that lasts all through summer.
Top 10 garden jobs for July
Here are our top ten jobs for July to keep your garden looking its best this summer:
Cut roses and sweet peas for the house – this stimulates the plants to produce more flowers
Cut back faded perennials like hardy geraniums and delphiniums for a second flush of flowers
Prune long whippy growth on wisteria
Cut your lawn regularly, using a higher blade setting in dry periods.
Feed and water dahlias
Check plant supports
During hot, dry periods, conserve water by watering mornings or evenings, when it’s cooler
Top up bird feeders and bird baths
Cut lavender for drying
For more advice or inspiration on how to make the most of your garden this summer, why not pay a visit to our garden centre, where you’ll find everything you need to get your garden looking great.