Guest post by Erin aka @hortihunny
July is often a time for sitting back and enjoying the garden or taking a break from the garden and going on a summer holiday. For me, it’s always been a busy month of fruit picking and jam making! There’s always plenty to do in the garden and the warmer weather will encourage weeds to grow so when in doubt, get the hoe out! Here is my July Gardening Guide:
Many perennial, biennial and annual flowers are in bloom this month. Harvest annual cut flowers regularly – try to put flowers in water as soon as possible as it helps them last longer. Lots of flowers grow more as you cut them such as cornflower, cosmos, sweet peas, snapdragons, scabious, straw flowers, phlox and zinnia. Deadhead these regularly to promote fresh growth and more flowers. Creating mixed posies is an easy way to add a pop of colour to your house or makes a lovely gift for friends.
Continue to pinch out side shoots of your tomato plants. This makes sure the energy goes to the fruit which will give you more tomatoes.
Open the windows and doors of your greenhouse daily to ventilate it and prevent the air from getting too hot and humid as it makes for a perfect breeding ground for disease.
Water daily in hot weather, perhaps twice a day in a heatwave. Keep an eye on the leaves of your plants – if they start to curl or look wilted, give them a good soak. You may need to feed your tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers etc. with some tomato feed or a natural alternative.
Dig up your early tatties. You can check to see if they’re ready by scraping away a wee bit of soil below the shaw. Early potatoes can be dug up and are particularly good when they’re washed and cooked straight away!
Keep on top of weeds between rows of vegetables such as peas and pumpkins. Hoeing or hand weeding is the best way but be sure to remove the weeds, especially if rain is forecast otherwise they’ll grow again!
Harvest veg such as courgettes, beans, beetroot, onions, lettuce, spinach, radish. You can start to sow vegetables for the winter months such as purple sprouting broccoli, kale, cabbage and spinach. You can also keep sowing lettuce, beetroots, beans and carrots for successional crops.
Pick soft fruit daily as it ripens. You want to pick fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants and cherries at their best and before the birds pinch them! Enjoy them fresh, baked in a cake or pop them in the freezer if you have a glut – perfect for preserving as jams and jellies for the winter season.
Make sure you check your borders and containers regularly. Pots, hanging baskets and greenhouses need much more watering and can dry out quickly, even if there has been a bit of rain. High winds can also dry plants out so keep an eye on the forecast and check your growing space daily. If you’re heading off on holiday, ask someone to water your plants. There’s nothing worse than putting all that work in to come back to sad looking plants!