July in the garden

With David Williams

Fingers crossed the sun should be shining and you are enjoying all those long warm July nights.

These evenings don’t just offer more time to get work done in the garden but also offer the chance for you to sit back and enjoy your outdoor space. Maybe get the BBQ out and burn some sausages and enjoy the fruits of your labours.

One job that will be daily at the moment is watering. Even if it has rained it will not be enough water to sustain most plants so make sure to keep them well watered. As you water your pots you will also wash out all the nutrients in the compost so it is a good idea to give your pots and baskets a weekly feed. Use a liquid feed suitable for summer flowering plants. Mix this up in your watering can at the manufactures rate and water the containers well.

Although the sun is shining we do need to start thinking about winter and spring colour as now is the ideal time to sow your winter flowering pansy’s, violas, bellis, forget me knots and wall flowers.

Simply fill a seed tray with good quality seed compost lightly firm and thinly sow the seeds and cover with a thin layer of compost. Water well and keep them moist until they have germinated. When large enough prick out into small pots or a cell tray. Grow on until large enough and the pots are filled with roots. This is good for most seeds apart from wallflowers.

Wallflowers prefer to be sown direct into the soil and then moved to their final growing site when they are large enough. Just scrape a drill about 3cm (1”) deep and sow thinly, cover and firm slightly. Water well and keep them moist. When large enough thin to 16-19cm (5-6”) apart grow on until large enough to transfer to their final position.

If you have a greenhouse you will be needing to water it at least once a day if not twice depending on the temperature and what you have growing. It is always best to water at the end of the day or early in the morning this prevents scorching to the leaves and the plants can take up the most water before it evaporates. You could shade your greenhouse to keep the temperature down and the strong sun rays off your plants. Either white wash or cover your greenhouse with shading. Also this time of year you can leave your greenhouse door open all day and night but do keep an eye out for any cold periods where you will have to close the door.

Your vegetable garden should be bulging with produce at the moment. Keep on picking everything as it ripens especially your beans.

 The more you pick them the more beans you will get. If you let them go to seed they will stop producing beans. Courgettes are another crop that keeps on cropping the more you harvest, also they soon turn into Marrows if you don’t harvest regularly.

Keep on sowing your salad crops so you get a constant supply, sow in small batches fortnightly. You can sow them directly into the ground but I like to sow them in a few pots as well, which I leave on the window sill so I never have to go far to get fresh salad.

 It is good idea to do the same with your favourite herbs. I have several pots at different stages of growth so as one pot has gone over I have another one to replace it.