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Andrew Tokely's Gardening Tips for July! 06 July 2023

July is a busy month bringing in the harvests, as well as enjoying the summer displays, and time to start looking ahead to next year display.  
1.    As you harvest crops, try to refill the spaces with quick growing salad crops like Radish, Beetroot, Rocket, Mizuna and Salad Turnip Sweetbell.
2.    I like to make a late sowing of Dwarf French Beans this month, maturing in 8-10 weeks after sowing, just in time to harvest in September or early October. I sow the seeds direct outside into drills on the vegetable plot or raise modules and plant out as spaces appear on the plot.
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. When sowing outside at this time of year, make sure you water the seed drill first before sowing the seed, then cover over the seed with dry soil, this will trap the moisture below the ground where the seeds need it.  Germination at this time of year is usually quick and they can be up in 10-14 days.  
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. If you are looking to replace any old canes these are available to order in our autumn catalogue and on our website for autumn delivery.
5.    Continue sowing Lettuce every 2-3 weeks for a continuous supply into autumn. When sowing during hot weather a handy tip is place the seed packet in the fridge the night before sowing. This will chill the seed down and aid germination, as lettuce can be tricky to germinate if temperatures are higher than 20C. The Fridge chilling trick helps the seeds germinate better when it’s hot.
6.    As already mentioned, I am always looking ahead in the garden, this month I am going to sow some Biennials like Bellis, Pansy and Forget me nots and a few 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 seed sowing 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 and transplant to borders in the autumn when large enough.
7.    It is important at this time of year to keep on top of harvesting. Picking crops regularly like Courgettes, cucumbers, Beans and Peas will ensure they are at their freshest and full of flavour, rather than old and tasteless.
8.    Dahlias start flowering in July right through to the autumn, but these can often be spoiled by an attack of Earwigs, so now is the 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.    Salad crops like Salad leaves, radish and spinach will quickly run to seed if the weather turns very hot and dry. 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.     Runner Bean crops will be fruiting well this month and picking regularly will ensure you harvest tender beans. Runner Beans will put up with hot daytime temperatures, but do not like hot nights as this can cause the plants stress and make flowers drop rather than set beans. Try to keep plants well-watered and if possible, spray water over the foliage in the evenings to help cool the plants down.

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