Your July gardening to-do list

High summer is here with gardens in full bloom and plenty of vegetables to crop and enjoy. Here’s how to keep on top of it all:

  1. With garden centres teaming with tempting summer colour, this is a good time to fill any gaps in your garden.  Plants such as veronicastrum and gaura are great for late summer interest – but anything planted now needs plenty of water.  You can also plant autumn flowering bulbs such as Crocus speciosus and Nerine bowdenii
  2. Deadheading and feeding your roses with blood, fish and bone or a potash-rich tomato fertiliser may give a second flush.  Keep deadheading your perennials, leaving secondary laterals when pruning flower spires on plants such as penstemons and foxgloves.
  3. Get cropping!  Pick your raspberries and currants.  Lift new potatoes, onions and garlic - when the leaves turn yellow.  Pick courgettes and beans before they become too big.
  4. Tidy the tatty foliage of strawberries and make new strawberry plants from runners, pegging them into a nearby pot of compost or transplant rooted babies.
  5. Cherry or plum trees can’t be pruned in winter due to the risk of silver leaf, so prune them now if needs be, improving airflow by removing crossing branches.  Espaliered apple and pear trees can be pruned back to their original framework now and after the June drop, thin out the remaining fruit.
  6. Pinch out side shoots from tomato plants with four trusses removing side shoots, and thin down leaves.
  7. Plant out winter brassicas, covering in netting.  There’s still time to sow lettuce, ideally in the evening when the temperature has dropped
  8. Trim your bedding plants if they’ve got leggy, giving them a liquid feed once a week for continuing growth and flowers.
  9. Use water wisely, ideally in the morning or evening, focussing on plants that need it such as newly planted perennials, trees, shrubs, vegetables such as runner beans, and containers.
  10. Mow the lawn once or twice a week, raising the blades in dry weather and lowering them again in more moist conditions.  If your lawn’s looking tired, give it a boost with a liquid feed.  New lawns will need to be watered but try to avoid watering established lawns, as they’ll regenerate when it rains again.