July is the month of long days and plenty of sunshine, and after all that rain earlier in the month everything has grown like mad. So whether you’ve got a balcony, allotment or garden, most crops do well now and you’ll be getting lovely fresh fruit and vegetables.
If it’s hot and dry then watering is an important job in July, if plants are watered in the middle of the day the sun will evaporate most of it before it gets soaked up by the plant roots, so early in the morning is the ideal for this, not always practical though, so early evening is a more likely time.
Precious water can be saved by
- mulching the soil, place a thick layer of compost on damp soil around the base of plants to keep the water around the plants’ roots for longer, shredded newspaper or straw is also good mulching material.
- and water the soil rather than sloshing it around over the whole plant.
- vegetables and herbs in pots can be dragged into semi-shade if it’s super hot, to stop them drying out so quickly.
Sow herb seeds like coriander, dill and parsley, the soil will be warm enough for them to romp away, but they’ll need watering every day if it’s hot and dry.
Sow salad leaves like lettuce Salad Bowl,mizuna, mibuna, rocket and mustard greens for leaves through to early autumn.
It’s also time for the last batch of beetroot to be sown.
Dig up garlic this month and spread it out in a dry spot, where there’ll be plenty of circulating air, so that it dries thoroughly ready for storing.
Some gardeners like to feed their vegetable plants every week or so to maximise the amount of produce, but I’m a bit mean with fertiliser. My plants have to rely mostly on taking nutrients from the soil that’s been enriched with plenty of compost every year. Soil also really benefits from not being dug, then all the natural, good things in it don’t get disturbed. That said, I’ll apply organic seaweed pellets or similar at this time of year to give everything a boost.
When our garden landscaping is done and the comfrey planted, I’ll make a liquid fertiliser from steeped comfrey leaves. Meanwhile I’m using a liquid tomato fertiliser to feed tomatoes and all those flowering plants in pots, to boost the amount of flowers they make.
There was some inspiring vegetable growing at the Hampton Court Flower Show earlier this month.
Have a good week,
all photos: Jil Anderson