What gardening jobs are there to do in July?
This is the time of the year that every gardener is waiting for! The garden is in its prime. Everything is growing, flowering and fruiting. It is a sheer joy to be out there, enjoying nature’s bounty.
July is a time of plenty. Early crops are beginning to ripen, and you can enjoy the fruits of your labour. But it is also a time to think ahead to the dark season and the crops you’d like to harvest then – they need to be sown and started now. There are plenty of gardening jobs to be done in July!
Continue to harvest lettuce and radishes as well as beets, peas and courgettes. If you have long-season or perpetual raspberries and strawberries, they are still fruiting now. As are cherries!
Onions and garlic are beginning to topple over, which is the sign that they are getting ready, but wait until the onion tops turn yellow before lifting them. Then, either leave them on the ground or, better, spread them in a well-aerated box or basket to dry them well.
Early runner beans and potatoes are also getting ready.
Now is the prime time to harvest herbs. For culinary purposes, it is best to pick herbs before they begin to flower. Choose a dry, sunny day. Spread them out in a well-aerated place. Hanging them up in bunches actually encourages mould. Herbs often have a high content of volatile oil, which quickly ‘fly off’ in hot temperatures. Thus, it is best to dry them in the shade.
SOWING (for late season/winter harvest):
Now is the time to sow winter cabbages, kohlrabi and kale, mustards, and pak choi. If you have carrot seeds of late varieties, sow them now.
If you have a shady spot, you can continue to sow lettuce, chard, endive, chicory, chervil, radishes, coriander, as well as rocket and spinach. Keep them well watered and not in full sun to prevent them from bolting too quickly.
Tomatoes need a lot of water. Keep the moisture in the soil by spreading a thick layer of mulch around the base of the plants. If they don’t get enough water, the skins turn harder and will crack as the fruit develops. The best time to water is in the evening or early morning. Avoid splashing water directly on the leaves.
You can give your plants a little boost by putting some compost around the base. Or, use liquid manure, such as nettle manure, or some other organic tomato feed that you might find at the garden centre.
Watch out for blight and end rot. Remove yellowing leaves. Pinch out any shoots that develop in the leaf axils.
Water your plants as needed, neither too much nor too little. Container plants are particularly vulnerable to drying out and need the most attention. Mulch well to keep the moisture in the soil.
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