Gardens are usually at their most abundant in July, with large displays of flowers and many fruits, salads and vegetables ready to harvest.
Our Additional Meeting in April was partly the inspiration to plant up a 6 ft x 8 ft raised bed (that displayed an amazing collection of weeds last year!) with some vegetable plants. The other source of inspiration was the impressive yields that Brother Tate’s first-year garden (at their new home) produced. Hopefully we can feature brother Tate’s garden here on the blog before too long.
Our patch isn’t particularly large, but already we’ve harvested around 10 broccoli and some cauliflower. We’ve frozen some of the broccoli, made a large pot of broccoli and cauliflower soup, and the broccoli has been the main veg on our plates for the past week or so. I’ve got to be honest – the broccoli is so much better than anything we’ve bought from the supermarket – it has a light flavour and is exceptionally tender, and needs only a very short cooking time. The challenge now is to find the plant label so that we can repeat the variety next year!
When the broccoli and cauliflower were planted out (they need a lot of space) there was little room for anything else, other than peas and some beetroot.
We harvested the beetroot at the start of the month, and I have to tell you – at that point I hadn’t a clue what to do with them. But, good old Google to the rescue. Instructions on how to trim them were followed, and a Delia Smith recipe for cooking and pickling was used. Result – delicious! This is definitely another that I’d grow again.
But let’s take a little look at just a few plants that brighten up the outdoor space in July.
The vegetable patch:
To do in July:
In the Flower Garden:
- Roses bloom in abundance in July, but keep a close lookout for pests, and spray regularly to prevent disease taking hold. Continue to feed roses throughout the month.
- Deadheading blooms regularly encourages more flowers and also keeps plants looking tidy.
- Cut back faded perennials
- Prune Lupins & Delphiniums to encourage a second bloom of flowers.
- Check hanging baskets daily and water regularly. Baskets, like pots, dry out quickly in summer. Deadhead the flowers regularly to stop the plant from producing seed, rather than flowers.
- Dahlias need some feed right now – a liquid fertiliser is best. Make sure they are kept well-watered, especially if in pots.
- Tie in Dahlia stems to canes as they develop
- Sweet peas also need a liquid feed and regular watering. Pick regularly to encourage more flowers.
- Around the middle of the month give perennials and shrubs a liquid feed.
- Take cuttings from non-flowering Hydrangea shoots
- When Lavender is in full bloom, cut some for drying
In the Vegetable Garden:
- As tomatoes start to form on the plants, feed with a liquid fertiliser, weekly or more often if the leaves are yellowing. Continue to pinch out side shoots on the plant.
- Feed all crops with liquid fertiliser.
- Harvest Garlic when the stems start to bend over.
- Water crops every day in warm weather.
- Clear away weeds, as they use the nutrients in the soil that your plants require.
- Harvest and enjoy your crops!
- Seeds that you can sow now include: Parsley, Coriander, Lettuce, Chard, Chives, Kale, Rocket, Carrot, Beetoot, Cauliflower, Spinach, Spring Cabbage.
Strawberries – five more plants from one
Propagate Strawberry plants to get a huge crop next year. During June & July the plant will send out runners that can easily be pegged into the ground (or a pot sunk into the ground) with a small wire loop.
Don’t allow more than five runners to develop from each plant. If the plant develops more than five runners, cut the surplus runners close to the plant. After 4 – 6 weeks the runners will have established a new plant, and you can cut it from the parent plant.
Don’t forget to take time to sit and enjoy the beauty of nature this month! Happy gardening. 🙂
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