July is one of the hottest months of the year, so keeping plants well-watered is key. It’s also a great time for harvesting fruit and veg, which can be eaten freshly picked from the garden.
Essential jobs to do…
- Prune shrubs that have flowered
- Take cuttings from shrubs and alpine
- Dead-head annuals
- Trim hedges
- Sow veg seeds outdoors
- Harvest vegetables
- Prune trained fruit trees
- Pick fruits
Last chance to…
- Feed roses
- Plant out leeks
Prune shrubs that have flowered
Carry on pruning shrubs that have flowered in spring and early summer. It is worth watering and mulching them well even at this stage in the year. It is also important to feed them after pruning.
Take cuttings from shrubs and alpines
July is a good time to take cuttings from shrubs and alpines. Take the cuttings from non-flowering shoots and place them around the edges of small pots that are filled with peat and perlite. Water the cuttings in and keep them warm but out of direct sunlight.
Remove seed heads of annuals to encourage the plant to produce more flowers.
Grow-bags, container and pots need regular watering in this hot weather. In the hottest parts of the month you may find yourself watering them every day. This is important so that they do not dry out. The best time to water is first thing in the morning or last thing at night as these are the coolest parts of the day so less of the water should be lost through evaporation. While watering also remember to feed the veg and flowers regularly to improve blooms and crops.
July and August are key months to trim hedges such as Hawthorn as birds will have stopped using them for nesting. Trimming them keeps them looking neat and restricts their growth. You can use shears, secateurs or hedge trimmers depending on the size of the leaves. For example with small-leafed shrubs such as privet, shears or hedge trimmers will work. However, for large-leafed shrubs such as holly, shears will be best.
It is a good idea to feed your roses in midsummer as this will help them produce a second flush of flowers. For any roses that have finished their first flush of flowers, trim them back before feeding. Roses need pruning because this encourages them to produce new shoots, since cutting back a branch helps the rose to produce a growth hormone. When cutting them, make a cut 5mm above an existing bud with gardening shears. Ensure the cut is angled away from the plant as this prevents rain water from collecting and causing disease as a result.
Continue to plant out leeks
The leek seeds that you have started off indoors can continue to be planted out in the veg beds.
Sow veg seeds outdoors
Crops can continue to be sowed outdoors. July is the time to sow French beans, spring cabbage and any other quick crops such as lettuce, spring onion and salad leaves. Ensure you keep the seedlings watered as the warm weather will mean the seeds will germinate quicker and grow into veg plants in a shorter time.
As soon as vegetables are large enough they can be harvested for you to enjoy. For carrots, a size of 1cm across the top is classed as large enough. For beetroot as long as they are 2.5cm across the top, they are ready to be harvested. Once courgettes have reaches 15cm long, they can be picked. When harvesting vegetables try not to disturb neighbouring roots.
Prune trained fruit trees
Trained fruit trees, such as cordons, fans, dwarf pyramids and espaliers should be trimmed of any unwanted shoots this month.
Blackberries, early plums, gooseberries, raspberries and blueberries should all be ready to pick now. As soon as these fruits become ripe, pick them so that pests do not take advantage of the fruit. Harvest regularly to encourage more flowers and fruits.
Below are some top tips for carrying for your lawns in the hot weather:
- Cut the lawn at least once a week.
- Leave grass clippings on the lawn as this will act as a mulch.
- Remove any weeds from the lawn as these compete for moisture.