Gardening Advice - July

Our resident plant expert, Phil McCann has some top tips as you get out in the garden this June.

Top July gardening Tips:

  • Nip off faded blooms from your bedding plants
  • Feed tomatoes and cucumbers as fruit form
  • Pick courgettes before they go large
  • Feed your lawn to green it up
  • Water plants in containers
  • Peg down and root strawberry runners
  • Damp down greenhouse floors
  • Feed roses
  • Prune wisteria
  • Check daily for aphids and sort

Overview of July:

July can be hot and your plants will depend on you to keep them ticking over. Water is the main consideration. Feeding isn’t far behind as many composts become exhausted around now and, as crops and blooms bring floral and tasty delights to your garden, you need to feed. And don’t forget to harvest as veg starts to mature.

Nip off faded blooms:

Bedding plants produce hundreds of flowers and you can encourage them to continue their floral feast. Simply nip off, and add to the compost bin, any flowers that are fading. It prevents the plant from producing seeds and encourages more bloom production at the same time.

Feed tomatoes and cucumbers:

Plants need a lot of food at this time of year as fruit production is in full swing. Compost is also running out of nutrients so an additional top up, on a weekly basis, will ensure great crops and healthy plants.  

Pick courgettes:

Once they start producing their fruits they won’t stop until September or October. But leave a tender little courgette alone and it will continue to grow into a monster but tasteless fruit. Pick fruits when they are young for the best taste and to keep more coming. You may be sorry though - you’ll have lots.

Feed your lawn:

Your lawn is a collection of plants like any other (except that you cut it twice a week, it’s all the same plant and you play cricket on it!). Lawns get hungry at this time of year and a quick summer green up is ideal. Easily applied and best if done when rain is forecast - a result will be seen within a few days. Choose a summer feed to supply the essential nitrogen.

Water container plants:

Even if it has been raining the chances are that the compost in plant stuffed containers will be dry. All that luscious, dense foliage actually stops rain from reaching the compost. Shove your fingers into the compost to see if it is dry. If it is then give the container a good soaking by putting the hosepipe or watering can onto the rim of the container and watering and not simply sprinkling over the top of the leaves.

Peg down and root strawberry runners:

Strawberry plants are now sending out runners. These are umbilical cords of plantiness tipped by a brand new, fresh little strawberry plant. If you simply rest a small stone on the umbilical cord near to the little plant, or peg the plant down so it is in contact with the soil, roots will form and - in a few weeks - you can cut the cord and repot your new arrival.

Damp down greenhouse floors:

Even large greenhouses get hot in sunny weather and automatic vents do their best to cool things off, but more help is needed. It is the easiest job in gardening to pour water onto the floor of your greenhouse. This evaporates, increases humidity and reduces water loss from leaves. You may have to do it a couple of times a day but it will make a difference. Often a lifesaving one.

Feed roses:

Roses have put on a supreme display this year and now is a great time to reward them with a few granules or drop or two of feed. Deadhead (cut off dead flowers) to tidy up plants and add feed and water in well. Don’t deadhead if you like to have a great display of hips in autumn and winter.

Prune wisteria:

The best wisterias are pruned twice a year. Once in February and again in summer. Cut back the whippy shoots to leave about six pairs of leaves on each. It will make things look tidier, allow sun to get to the older wood that encourages bud formation and increases air circulation (always a good thing to reduce disease problems). The put away the secateurs until February.

Check for aphids:

Make this a daily job. Turn your back on a couple of aphids and a devastating colony of the sap sucking beasts will be your punishment. Two aphids are easily squashed without any squeamishness. Larger colonies need more corrective treatments. And remember, not only do aphids suck the sap from your prized plants they can also spread plant viruses. Get them sorted.