July in the garden

David Williams offers tips for the July Garden

Fingers crossed the sun should be shining and you are enjoying all those long warm July nights. These evenings are not just to get more work done in the garden but also to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labours. One job that will be daily at the moment is watering. All of your pots and hanging will need a good soaking daily; even if it has rained it will not be enough water to sustain them. 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 up in your watering can at the manufactures rate and water the containers well.

July is a good month to start thinking about winter and spring colour as now is the ideal time to sow your winter flowering pansies, violas, bellis, forget me knots and wall flowers. To sow, simply fill a seed tray with good quality seed compost, lightly firm and thinly sow the seeds, covering with a thin layer of compost. It is essential that they are kept 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. Wallflowers prefer to be sown directly into the soil, before being 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 them to 16-19cm (5-6”) apart. Grow on until large enough to transfer to their final growing 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.

Your vegetable garden should be bulging with produce at the moment. It is important to keep picking as things ripen, 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. They will also 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. I then leave these 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.