Andrew Tokely's Gardening Tips for July
02 July 2020
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Summer has already arrived this year with long hot days, making all in the garden grow and long may it continue into this month. Long hot spells with mean plenty of watering as well as bringing in the early harvests of Peas, broad beans, new potatoes and Courgettes. July is also a month to look ahead to crops and floral displays for later this year as well as some to enjoy next year.
1. If you have any Cherry trees, they should be pruned this month while the sap is rising. This will hopefully stop spores of silver leaf entering the open wounds. To help prevent fruiting being confined to only the outer part of the tree, cut up to a quarter of the newly fruited branches back to a new shoot, leaving any others that are growing well and placed evenly around the tree.
2. I like to make a late sowing of Dwarf French Beans this month as they will be ready for a late harvest in September or October. I sow the seeds direct outside into drills on the vegetable plot or into pots on the patio.
3. As regular readers of my tips you will know I am always looking ahead, and towards the end of this month I always sow some early maturing carrots like Carrot Early Nantes or Eskimo, so I have fresh young new carrots ready to harvest for Christmas.
4. Once the summer fruiting Raspberry canes have finished fruiting, it is time for a tidy up. I cut the old fruited brown-stemmed canes down to the ground, leaving the new green-stemmed ones. I then tie these into my wire framework, ready for next year’s harvest.
5. During very hot dry weather this month it is always wise to raise the height of your lawn mower blades .If you cut your grass too short during hot weather it can stress the lawn and you will end up with a lot of bare patches.
6. As already mentioned, I am always looking ahead in the garden, so early this month I am going to sow some Biennials and Perennials, to flower next spring into early summer. I like to sow Foxgloves and Canterbury bells, Hollyhocks and Delphiniums so I have plants large enough for planting out in October. These are sown in trays of compost in a cool greenhouse or cold frame. You can also Sow Wallflowers and Sweet Williams outside in drills on a spare piece of ground, or you can sow the seeds in trays and prick them out into cell trays or pots. I find this method works very well with wallflowers.
7. If you have any Bearded Irises these will benefit from being lifted and divided. As these plants have finished flowering they should be lifted carefully with a fork. Once lifted Cut away old dormant growth, and any dead or diseased Foliage and old Flower stalks and throw this away.You can then keep the vigorous young green Offshoots, trim back their foliage by half into an arrow shape to help reduce moisture loss. Then replant in an area of the garden where they get full sun. Bearded Irises should be planted quite shallowly so the Rhizomes sit just on the soil surface, as they love being baked by the sun.
8. Dahlias are flowering well in July right through to the autumn, but these can often be spoiled by an attack of Earwigs. So it is now time to set an Earwig Trap. This is a very easy device to make. All you do is take a flowerpot and fill it with straw or hay and put it upturned on top of a bamboo cane amongst your Dahlias. The Earwigs will hide in this pot during the day, then each morning you can check your traps for Earwigs and dispose of them. The same method of control works very well on Chrysanthemums, keeping the blooms nibble free.
9. When the weather is warm, dry and hot, many salad crops like Salad leaves, radish and spinach will quickly run to seed. One way of overcoming this problem is sowing these crops in between taller crops like Sweetcorn, so they get a little dapple shade. Once germinated keep moist at all times until they are ready to harvest.
10. Towards the end of this month is the ideal time to take some Hydrangea cuttings. These can be easily propagated, if you remove a non-flowering shoot, then trim this to 2.5-5cm (1-2in) long. Then cut the shoot just below a leaf joint, leaving 1-2 pairs of leaves. Then insert 2-3 cuttings per 9cm (3 ½ in) pot filled with multipurpose compost. Water the compost then cover the pot with a polythene bag and this in a propagator or on the windowsill out of direct sunlight.