July Gardening Tips 2022
There is so much flowering in the garden at the moment and I think it is important to take time to enjoy the colour, the scent and all the insect activity that a wide variety of flora promotes at this time of year. Our gardens have become such an important resource for wildlife, as pressure on land increases, and it is a privilege to encourage butterflies, bees, ladybirds and a host of other species to share our gardens.
One of my favourite activities in the garden is a good old potter, mug of tea in hand, just seeing what is coming into flower, how certain plants look good together and which might need to be moved in the autumn, or maybe making a few notes on which clumps need to be divided in due course because they have outgrown their space. When I put down the tea it is to pick up my secateurs and dead head roses, bedding plants and certain perennials to encourage repeat flowering.
As we try our best to garden as naturally as possible, the best way to avoid the need for pest and disease control is to grow healthy plants. This means making sure plants are not stressed through lack of water in dry weather, feeding them as appropriate to keep them strong and healthy and, of course, planting them properly in the first place.
Plants in hanging baskets and containers are particularly prone to drying out, so it is a good idea to check them daily. It is always best to water in the cool of the morning or evening rather than the heat of the day. Feed regularly, once a week or so, for best results. Peat free compost behaves differently to more traditional blends and can take a little getting used to. Watch out to make sure the compost doesn’t dry out. It is best to push a finger into the compost as it can often give the appearance of being dry when it is actually wet beneath the surface. My experience so far is that you do need to feed more than with traditional composts.
Watering and feeding is also a theme in the vegetable patch. Tomatoes should start to fruit this month. Keep the plants well supported and remove side shoots regularly. Feed every week for a bumper crop. Never let grow bags dry out as it can be difficult to re-wet them thoroughly. Remember to water runner beans regularly. Do keep on top of the watering of all vegetables and fruiting plants, unless the rain takes the strain. Harvest courgettes before they grow too large and water onions and weed around them. Continue to sow salad crops outside for a succession of tasty and colourful leaves.
Have a lovely month in the garden – whatever the weather!