July

General Tasks

  • Continue watering and mulching.
  • Apply quick-acting fertilizers.
  • Take cuttings and propagate woody and herbaceous plants by layering.
  • Save seed for future sowing.
  • Check for pests and diseases.

Gardening in Summer

What to do in the Garden in July

Now that the warm summer days are here most of the jobs in the garden will be easy going, pleasant tasks, such a dis-budding roses, dahlias, fuchsias, tidying up the herbaceous borders and general watering. The most pleasurable task in July will be harvesting your own fresh fruit and vegetables, like succulent strawberries, raspberries and currants, all containing that natural, freshly ripened flavour.

If the weather is hot and dry making watering necessary (July can be the hottest month of the year) then water regularly and thoroughly. If there are water restrictions where you live or you simple don't have the time, then give top priority to , seedlings and young plants, also plants in hanging baskets, containers and those growing against walls. You will find that even after a heavy rain, plants in window boxes and containers can still be dry. Hanging baskets may need watering every day whatever the weather and even twice a day in hot dry conditions.

If you have a greenhouse then watering regularly is most important, as the plants growing inside are dependent entirely on artificial watering. Damp down the greenhouse by watering the floor and staging to help keep the atmosphere moist and the temperature bearable inside.

Mulching can be used with watering to get the most benefit from the water supplied to the plants. Trees and shrubs-both fruit and ornamental-flowers and vegetables, and lawns, too, will be grateful for such treatment. The second, long-term benefit from mulching is the provision of nutrients to the soil and eventually, the plants in the form of slowly decomposing organic matter.

Plants in full growth, whether grown for flowers or harvesting, will need steady supplies of quickly available food now on, which can be applied as a powder to be watered in, or applied directly in liquid form.

Propagation by cuttings and layering can be done and time in July, whenever you have the spare time. Also collecting and saving seeds, ready for sowing later can start this month.

Make sure you keep on top of pests and diseases in the garden so they can be treated at the earliest possible stage. Mildew is especially problematic in hot, dry weather, and red spider mite can be a real nuisance.

Also take time to plan what bulbs you wish to plant for autumn colour.

Composting Garden Waste

All grass cuttings, leafy garden waste, vegetables and spent plants can go on the compost heap or into a compost bin. For the best and quickest composting, add a proprietary compost activator to the raw material every 15 cm (6 in) or so, as the heap builds up. Never add layers of soil to compost heaps as so often recommended. They create cold layers within the heap and result in uneven activation of the micro-organisms that break the organic matter down.

Compost started at this time of year will normally be fit for use by the autumn because of the relatively warm conditions. Occasionally turning the heap can also speed-up the process by aerating the contents. Also, do not let the heap get bone dry or too wet.

Next page >> What to do in the Flower Garden in July >>

Gardens to Visit

UK gardens open in July include:

Castle Kennedy

Landscaped on a grand scale with a huge lily pond, terraces and avenues.
Location: Dumfries and Galloway

Great Dixter

Home of gardener and writer Christopher Lloyd. A glorious plantsman's garden with lots of mixed plants growing informally within a formal structure.
Location: East Sussex

Levens Hall

Levens Hall Topiary

Fantastic clipped specimens of box and yew. Herb gardens and many other attractive borders.
Location: Cumbria

Tresco Gardens

A sub-tropical paradise with plants from around the world. Shrubs reach tree-like proportions in the mild climate.
Location: Isles of Scilly