It’s the height of summer, the bees are busy and so are gardeners! From sunrise to sunset, the
garden is going to demand a lot of your time in July, as we’re into the heart of the growing season.
There shouldn’t be a spare inch available on the veg plot, and the flower beds are a mass of colour,
with everything from lavender to cosmos in full bloom.
However, it does mean that our garden rivals are active too, so it’s a continuous battle against the
weeds, critters and bugs that are just as keen to tuck into your courgettes and tomatoes as you are!
Here’s your breakdown of what to do in the garden in July.
Your essential July checklist
- Cut flowers are plentiful now, so if you’re fond of having vases of sweet peas around the
house filling your home with that fabulous fragrance, you’re in luck. The more you cut, the
more they’ll produce so cutting spears stimulates sweet pea plants to flower for even longer.
- Dahlias need plenty of feeding as they’re really starting to shoot up now.
- Tie up taller flowers and plants such as hollyhocks and sunflowers to give them plenty of
- Sow biennials for next year, including foxgloves, dianthus, and wallflowers
- Keep a close eye out for aphids on crops like runner beans
- Net fruit crops to prevent bird damage
- Watch out for cabbage white caterpillars, which can devastate a crop overnight!
- Sew autumn crops including dwarf beans before mid-July
- Unless you want marrows, pick courgettes regularly!
- Water every day
- Cut the lawn regularly, but raise the cutting height during very dry weather to avoid
stressing the grass
- Keep greenhouses and poly tunnels well ventilated as the temperature can rocket up within
an hour of the sun coming up
- Deadhead flowers daily to keep them blooming
- Water hanging baskets and pots daily
If you’ve been thorough with the weeding up until now then you should have flowerbeds that are
stuffed full of colour, but with very few weeds poking out between the lupins and the marigolds!
However, that doesn’t mean you can relax your vigilance, as this is the main growing season for
weeds too. Use your daily deadheading rounds to check for any weeds in between drifts, and pull
them straight away.
The bees will be busy on the lavender, but if you want flower heads to dry to keep your wardrobes
smelling gorgeous then now is the time to pick them, as the essential oil in the flower heads is at its
most concentrated now. Remember to leave plenty for the bees and butterflies, though.
Long-stemmed flowers such as gladioli and irises may need supporting so make sure you’ve got
enough canes and soft garden string to tie them up. Roses will need continuous deadheading to
encourage more blooms, and everything will benefit from a regular weekly feed. Choose a general-
purpose feed such as Gro-Sure Slow Release Plant Food for your flower beds and a special rose feed
for your roses.
Don’t miss a day’s watering, as in the strong summer sun your bushes and flowers will suffer very
quickly, especially those in pots and hanging baskets. Water in the evening to avoid too much
evaporation, and give the bases of perennials, shrubs and bushes a good soaking.
The Veg Plot
The bane of every veg gardener is the summer infestations, particularly of those yellow and black
caterpillars that eventually turn into cabbage white butterflies. They’re well-named, as you’ll most
often find them on your brassica's. Be warned: they are absolutely voracious! A cluster of eggs can
turn into a devastating army of these critters that can destroy an entire crop overnight. Look on the
underside for small clutches of white eggs, which you can either rub off with your fingers or if the
leaf is covered, remove the leaf and throw it on the bonfire.
Keep picking runner beans and dwarf beans to encourage continuous cropping, and pick courgettes
when they’re small to prevent them from turning into marrows.
If fruit trees are starting to get too crowded, you can thin the smaller fruit or any that are damaged
or malformed to give the healthier fruit a chance to fill out.
We’ve said it before, but it can’t be reiterated enough – during July and the main summer months
you must keep on top of the watering! If you’re going away on holiday, set up an automatic watering
or trickle system, or ask a friendly neighbour to pop round and keep everything well watered.
During July you’ll practically see the lawn growing every day! However, don’t be tempted to sheer it
down to the ground with a low-blade on the lawnmower, as during the dry season this can stress
your grass and you’ll end up with bald patches. You shouldn’t need to water your lawn unless you
get a prolonged drought, but do keep an eye out for brown patches or signs that the lawn is
stressed. If you do notice it, give it a sprinkle in the evening with the hose. Patch up any bald areas
with a lawn patch treatment.
If you’ve planted bee and butterfly-friendly flowers you should now start to see the benefits, as the
whole garden should be buzzing. If you have hedgehogs in your garden then count yourself lucky –
they’ll munch happily on slugs all summer long. But if you want to give them a helping hand then a
plate of specially-designed hedgehog food like Hedgehog Bites will be appreciated.
Solitary bees are busy nesting now, so if you haven’t put one up already, why not give them
somewhere to stay with a bee hotel?
Ponds may need regular topping up due to evaporation, and keep scooping out the pond weed to
prevent it from covering the surface and stopping birds and other wildlife using it as a source of
Other Jobs To Do
- Keep the greenhouse well ventilated, and greenhouse crops such as tomatoes, aubergines
and peppers well watered. Remember that grow-bags can dry out very quickly.
- Feed chillies, tomatoes and cucumbers with a high-potash tomato fertiliser so that they put
their energy into producing fruit rather than foliage
- Watch out for greenhouse pests such as red mite, weevils and aphids
- Top up the bird feeders and water baths
- Damp down the greenhouse floor in the morning to create a more humid atmosphere and
to stop plants from drying out or scorching.