The trick with gardening is approaching it as a pleasure rather than a chore.
I’ve found the best way to do this is to have a daily wander round the garden. Stopping to pinch out the side-shoots on the tomato plants, checking how the buds on the Dahlias are fattening up & what needs tying into it’s support.
It’s also a chance to check for pests & diseases before they cause too much damage. Though I’ve been unable to prevent snails/slugs, from stripping the leaves off most of the marigolds I grew from seed, whose job was to confuse carrot root fly & provide edible flowers.
My gentle wander reminds me how good gardening is for slowing down & putting me in touch with the garden.
Here’s a few specific things to do this month:
Keep dead-heading flowers & picking them to encourage flowers to keep coming. Once the plant produces seeds, there’s no real need for it to carry on flowering. Its main aim is to produce seeds, whilst ours is to stop this & have more flowers.
This is quite exhausting for the plant, so a dose of fertiliser will give it more energy to keep going. Remember Nitrogen (N) promotes green growth & potassium (K) promotes fruit & flowers. Use an organic fertiliser rather than chemical one, its much better for the soil & us.
It’s been very hot & dry here, so watering has been a must. I try to get it done first thing in the morning, so the plants have time to soak it all up before the heat of the day evaporates it. Placing a saucer under plant pots helps a lot, containers dry out very quickly in this weather.
Sweet-peas deserve a special mention. Mine are just on the verge of flowering, I think the intense heat recently, slowed them down. They really need attention every day as the pace of growth in July is fast. They need tying in regularly to keep their stems straight so they look better in a vase. Though I find it impossible to keep them all straight, & a few wayward stems make interesting shapes.
Sow more seeds of parsley & coriander for a plentiful supply.
Hard to believe we’ve reached this stage, but July is the last month for sowing beetroot. Late varieties of carrots can be planted up to next month.
It’s best to sow salad seeds in the afternoon, avoiding the heat of mid-day, & giving them a better chance of germinating. Mulching the soil either side of the row helps to keep them moist.
I’ve ordered a few vegetable plug plants for the first time. It seems like a great way to fill any gaps, & plant vegetables like kale & winter cabbage for crops later in the year.
July in the garden is a busy time, we can appreciate the fruits of our labour for the last few months.
all photos: jill Anderson