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Gardening Diary : July

July already! It’s amazing how the time passes and yet we still search for some normality in life. Gardeners though are great optimists, they have to be, dealing with the vagaries of the weather and an array of pests and diseases!

Let’s have a look at our gardening tasks for July:

Lawns

Continue to mow weekly, though lift the cutting blades a little if the weather turns very dry as the grass will be under stress. If you have not applied any fertilizer, you still can, but choose a wet spell, or be prepared to water it in to avoid any damage to the grass.

Vegetables

Early sown crops have been maturing and nothing beats the taste of ‘plot to plate’ for taste and the best nutrition. Remember though that vegetables are hungry feeders, so keep up with the feeding to maximise cropping.

Make sure to remove side shoots on standard cordon tomatoes. It’ amazing how quick they grow and you want this energy to go into fruit production! Keep runner beans climbing up their supports and don’t forget you need to keep on picking to encourage cropping through the summer.

You can still be sowing salad crops for late summer/autumn production and now is the time to be sowing turnips for the autumn and winter. Try a variety like ‘Tokyo Cross’ whose pure white ‘ping-pong’ sized roots are so sweet and tasty!

Potatoes can be planted in the garden or in large containers for autumn crops but choose a fast-growing‘ first early’ variety like Red Duke of York or Winston.

Flowers

Bedding plants should be in full flower by now, so keep on with the ‘dead heading’ to promote further flowering and if you have not used a ‘slow-release’ fertilizer then liquid feed regularly.

Both annual and perennial flowers may need support, so stake where necessary.

Now’s the time to sow biennial flowers such as Myosotis, Sweet Williams and wallflowers to flower next spring and perennials like Delphiniums and Lupins. Prepare a seed bed in the garden, transferring resulting plants to their flowering positions in the autumn.

Fruit

Blackcurrant bushes can be pruned as cropping ends. For the second successive year, the pollination appears good for ‘top fruit’ like apples, pears and plums. Good news, but you may have to be prepared to thin them out a little or mature fruit size will suffer.

Shrubs

Early summer flowering types such as wisteria and lilac will have finished blooming so time to prune them to keep or achieve the shape you want.

Next month sees the tomatoes ripen - ready for those summer salads, and the sunflowers shoot up!. And there is plenty of work to do in the garden - look out for our August blog for all your essential gardening tasks.

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