Garden tips for July
The heatwave brings new gardening challenges, but we’re here to help.
Deadhead bedding plants and repeat-flowering perennials, to ensure continuous flowering.
Feed and deadhead roses to keep them flowering strongly.
Divide clumps of bearded iris so they will have time to form roots and flowers buds for next year.
Cut lavender for drying, choosing newly opened flowers for the best fragrance, then hang up in a cool, dark place.
Autumn-flowering bulbs, such as autumn crocuses, Amaryllis and Nerine, can be planted now.
Support tall perennials such as lupins, delphiniums and gladioli if staking was not done earlier in the season.
Mulching borders can help retain moisture, and keep down the weeds – this will save a lot of work.
Water at dusk when the water droplets will less likely cause any damage to foliage.
Prune June-flowering shrubs such as Philadelphus and Weigela after flowering.
Ensure newly planted trees and shrubs do not dry out.
Keep watch for pests such as lily beetles, snails, aphids and vine weevils.
Turn compost heaps regularly to keep it aerated during the summer; you can use any that is ready as mulch or to dig into your soil when planting.
In the vegetable garden
Plant a second crop of potatoes now to give you new potatoes for Christmas. Plant in pots or bags, so that they can be brought under cover before the first frosts.
There is still time for a late sowing of french beans, peas, lettuce, beetroot, carrots, lettuce and radishes, straight into the warm ground, for autumn crops.
Harvest French beans, courgettes, radishes, carrots, mangetout and potatoes when they are small and tender.
Pick and freeze or dry herbs so they can be used later.
Continue to sow short rows of dwarf French beans until the end of the month for a succession of crops and harvest the first of your beans when they are young and tender.
If the weather is dry, then water your vegetables regularly.
Keep runner beans moist to encourage the flowers to set.
Transplantwinter brassicas, such as broccoli, cabbage, purple sprouting broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts to their final growing position.
Protect plants with butterfly netting or check the leaves regularly for butterfly eggs and caterpillars. Remove any you see.
In the fruit garden
Keep an eye on apples and plums to make sure there is not too many on each stem and thin out if necessary.
Prune cherry, plum, apricot and peach trees. To reduce the risk of disease the best time to prune is just after harvesting when the trees are still in their growing season.
Regularly pick strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries, and blueberries.
Create extra strawberry plants by propagating your own from the runners that the plants start sending out. Any runners that you root now will provide strawberries next year.
In the greenhouse
Water and feed everything regularly, especially tomatoes, to avoid problems. Tie tomatoes into their canes and pinch out the side shoots if necessary.
Sow biennials, such as foxgloves, honesty, forget-me-nots and wallflowers, for next year’s flowers.
If you grow grapes in a green house thin bunches now.
Open vents and doors daily to provide adequate ventilation.
Regularly tidy up debris from greenhouse staging and floors to reduce the risk of pests and fungal disease.
Catch insects by hanging sticky yellow traps inside your greenhouse.
Wildlife and ponds
Butterflies should be plentiful now, but if you are not seeing many in your garden try planting buddleias, valerian, liatris, and solidago in sunny, sheltered spots.
Remove dead foliage and blooms from water lilies and other aquatic plants. Cut back any marginal plants that are getting out of hand. Continue to skim blanket and floating weeds.
Clean out debris lurking in the depths of the pond. This will improve the water quality and prevent excess debris from promoting the growth of weeds, algae or marginal plantings, and from releasing toxins that could harm fish or wildlife.
Top up ponds and water features during hot weather.
Make sure that drinking and bathing water is available for birds especially during dry weather
Looking after your lawn
Mow lawns regularly, except during drought. In hot weather, set the mower at a slightly higher level than normal for early summer. This can prevent the lawn drying in hot weather.
Don’t worry unduly about brown patches on the lawn– they will recover quickly during the autumn rain.
New areas of grass, sown or turfed in the spring, will need extra watering to keep them going through their first summer.