Lots to do in July if you’re growing fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers for cutting!
Keep cutting Sweet peas and Cosmos regularly to encourage more flowers.
Cut and dry (or freeze) herbs.
Cut Lavender for drying and take cuttings of woody herbs such as Lavender, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.
Keep sowing salad vegetables and herbs regularly. There’s still time to sow carrot & parsnip seeds. Sow salads and spinach for autumn as well as spring cabbage.
Tidy strawberry beds when fruiting is over – compost any straw, shear the plants to about 5cm from the ground (removing all the rubbish), add fertiliser and water well. If you want to grow new plants, leave some of the stronger old plants alone and pin down the runners. These will form new plants with roots and can be cut away from the main plant and replanted in autumn.
Harvest berries & currants. Cut out the fruited stems of summer raspberries & loganberries. Protect ripening fruit trees (cherry, plum, peach, nectarine) from birds.
Thin out heavy crops of plums, apples & pears to avoid branches breaking with the weight, and prune overlong shoots on trained fruit trees such as espaliers, cordons & arches.
Tip-prune figs to encourage bushier growth & more fruit buds (pinch out new growth beyond 5 or 6 leaves).
Remove surplus leaves and sideshoots on grape vines to stop them shading the fruit.
Pick courgettes, cucumbers, and beans regularly or they will spoil, and harvest autumn-planted onions, garlic & shallots when ready.
When early crops are over, clear the beds and sprinkle organic fertilizer, fork over the soil and keep them free of weeds.
PESTS AND DISEASES
Use a copper-based fungicide to prevent blight on potatoes and tomatoes. Check brassicas for Cabbage white butterfly eggs.
Keep up with your watering. Giving plants a good soaking in the evening is most effective. While you have the hose out damp down the greenhouse floor to keep the atmosphere moist and to discourage red spider mites.
Picture credits: Janet Bligh