Make the most of your garden this month
July is often one of the hottest months of the year, but will it beat June 2017’s unparalleled surprise heatwave?! We’ll have to wait and see. Here’s keeping the fingers firmly crossed for some more fantastic weather in which to sit out and enjoy your garden. There are plenty of jobs to keep you occupied outside on those (hopefully) gloriously sunny weekends and evenings, particularly if you’re nurturing a burgeoning vegetable garden or a plethora of colourful blooms. Here’s the low-down on keeping your garden at its best this month!
Water, water, water! I bet I hardly need to remind you of this one, but as temperatures soar it’s really important to keep on top of your watering. Water your plants daily if you can, and in the evening when the temperatures have cooled off a bit to avoid excess evaporation.
Deadhead to keep plants looking their best and to encourage new growth. Roses and sweet peas in particular benefit from regular deadheading.
Prune power: Remove spent leaves and foliage to allow your plants to properly allocate their nutrients and encourage new growth. Deciduous magnolia, lupins and wisteria all demand pruning to stay looking their best, and your hanging baskets will also benefit from pruning as it maximises the amount of light that’s able to reach the rest of the foliage.
Cut and come again: Your favourite tender plants unfortunately won’t last through the winter, but if you take some cuttings now you can re-plant them in indoor pots for ‘overwintering’, allowing them to be re-planted again next year.
Pest patrol: Aphids are a nuisance in the garden, and will put paid to all kinds of lovingly nurtured plants. Welcome insect visitors like lacewings, ladybirds and hover flies to your garden, and try not to kill them – they love eating aphids and so are some of your strongest allies. Protect your plants from chomping slugs by using Nemaslug, a slug killer that won’t harm other garden beasties.
Feed your fruits and vegetables with a good general fertiliser to keep them flourishing.
Prep your potatoes: Plant out a second cropping of potatoes if you like, and they’ll be ready in plenty of time to enjoy throughout the autumn and winter.
Harvest time! It’s time to pick your courgettes – they’re best picked when young, as this will encourage more fruits to grow. Garlic is good to go when the top leaves start to wilt and turn yellow. Beetroot, peas, chard, potatoes, salad leaves and tomatoes are all also primed for picking at this time of year, which makes for some delicious and satisfying summer meals of all the crops you’ve grown yourself!
Weeding warrior: Keep on top of weeds this month, as they enjoy the warmer temperatures too. They’ll steal valuable nutrients from your blooms, veg and fruits so make it a daily habit to check for weeds.
Hoard those herbs: If you’ve got a surplus of mint, chives, dill, rosemary, basil and other herbs, don’t let them wilt – pick them now and zip into freezer bags for use in the autumn and winter.
With some good preparation this month, you can enjoy your garden at its best and also make sure you’ve got plenty of homegrown produce to enjoy later in the year – and you’ll be thanking yourself! The most important task this month, though, is simply to make sure you spend plenty of time out in your garden, enjoying the fruits of your labour while you can. Enjoy!