Hopefully our few weeks of warmer weather this spring and early summer will result in your harvests still being ready in July. Spinach, peas & beans, cherries, currants, raspberries and soft fruits such as apricots and strawberries can be harvested throughout the summer months. Heavily laden fruit trees can be supported with a prop underneath the branches to prevent them from breaking.
Limit tomato growth by pinching out the growing tip of cordon tomato plants when they reach the roof of the greenhouse. Pinch out the side-shoots as they develop. Many other vegetables can still be sown during the summer months, such as salads, carrots, beetroots and runner beans.
Pick sweet peas and any other cutting-garden flowers throughout July to encourage continued flowering and cut back any long laterals which have grown on Wisteria since flowering. This allows sunlight to reach the woody parts of the plant and encourages bud formation next year.
Continue to water the garden in the evening, making sure to give plants a good watering rather than a soaking. If any pot plants are looking dry still, dunk them in a bucket of rainwater to revitalise them.
Remember to keep hedges in check. Trim privet on a regular basis to encourage good, dense growth and put the trimmings on the compost heap. Conifers can also be kept in check but resist cutting into the old brown wood as regeneration comes from the newer growth. Bay trees and topiary will also need tidying up regularly.
As long as there isn’t a drought, feed your lawn on a regular basis to encourage healthy looking lush growth. During dry weather, raise the blades to help your lawn retain moisture. Treat any lawn weeds as you discover them with a suitable lawn weed killer.
When the weather is dry, pay a little attention to the other aspects of your garden. Woodwork such as fences, sheds, arbours or benches could do with a lick of paint or wood stain, and will instantly make your garden look well looked after. Pond weeds should be scooped out on a regular basis and pond water levels kept topped up. Remember to keep your bird baths full of fresh water too.
Weeds will also be enjoying the sunshine that we hope to have this July. Keep on top of them in beds and borders and treat any which have appeared in paving or driveways with suitable weedkillers. Be vigilant and you will reap the rewards of your hard work.
Take cuttings of hardy shrubs in summer. Hypericum, Potentilla, Honeysuckle, Ivy, Spiraea and Pyracantha. Use a sharp knife to trim below a single leaf joint to create a finished cutting of 8cm – 10cm long. Fill a 10cm pot with cuttings compost and mix with horticultural grit if preferred to encourage quicker rooting. Dipping the base of the cutting into rooting hormone will promote root development. Insert the cutting into the compost and water gently. Cover the pot with a polythene bag and place indoors in a well-lit position.