July Hints & Tips

Well June has been some month for dry and hot weather and who knows what’s in stall for us this month. It’s the height of summer already. Days are long, temperatures could be higher than we have already experienced but all being well you are already harvesting something delicious from your plot. July is always a dry month so steady unbroken watering is crucial. Interruptions to your watering regime could cause fruits not to form, skins splitting and premature bolting.

Spreading mulches at this time would conserve water from any rain we might be fortunate to have. So why not indulge in spreading mulch around your crops in the next few weeks.

The top tasks for this month are harvesting French and Runner beans, courgettes, carrots, beetroot, onions, shallots, new potatoes and summer salads. Ensure you pick your spinach and water them regularly or they may well bolt. Pick cherries, and your soft fruit and pull the last rhubarb early this month but let the plant grow on so that it’s in good shape for winter.

Direct sow into your prepared soil beetroot, Florence fennel, French beans so that you extend the picking season and peas. This will be the last month for sowing the latter.

Other seed to be sown this month include Turnip, Swiss chard, Sprouting broccoli, Kohl rabi and carrots. There are also the salads that can be sown

Plant out your cabbage seedlings, cauliflowers, Brussel sprouts, broccoli and kale for autumn and winter harvesting. Finish transplanting or dibbing in leeks raised in seed trays or pots. Continue to feed your tomatoes and ensure you pinch out sideshoots if the plants are not bush tomatoes. Fruit on trees like apples and pears should be thinned out if it looks like your’e going to have a bumper crop and the drop season didn’t do its job.

July is early for Aubergines but if you have started them off in early spring you may be lucky enough to get your first in the year. This may also apply to chillies and peppers.

Maintenance jobs are never ending so weed regularly and net against birds, pinch out the tops of climbing beans when they reach the top of the canes and spray the flowers with water as it will deter the flowers from falling and encourages pods forming.

Cover heads of your cauliflowers by turning the leaves over them and earth up brassicas like Brussel sprouts and potatoes and give them a shot of fertilizer.

Tidy up summer strawberries, summer prune gooseberries, red and whitecurrent bushes and prune out old raspberry canes down to the root as soon as you have finished harvesting the fruit from those canes. Tie in this years new green canes in their place.

Prune cherry and plum trees once you have picked the fruit. Remember, these trees are pruned in the summer not the winter.

And last but not least check your plants for pests.

When you have completed these tasks, sit back, relax with a nice bottle of what you fancy and reflect upon how well your plot has provided for you thus far. Dream about the produce that didn’t perform as you expected and think about what you will do next year.