4 Garden Jobs For July

11/07/2019

Each month presents a new set of tasks in the garden, depending on what you’re growing. In the past we’ve covered vegetables you should be planting in March, but July sees us fully in the middle of the summer season, and hopefully enjoying some warmer weather. This means that a lot of the jobs for this month are influenced by the hotter temperatures, or by the fact that it’s holiday season.

Here are 4 jobs you might find yourself needing to take care of in July.

1. Deadhead plants

In July many bedding plants will be in the midst of blooming, so to prolong their show of flowers you’ll want to deadhead them as soon as they look a bit scruffy. Leaving it a few days won’t do any harm, but it’s better to deadhead sooner rather than later.

If you want your flowers to bloom for longer then deadheading is the best way to achieve this. Once a flower has been pollinated it starts to form seed heads or pods. This process draws energy from the plant that could be going into healthy growth or more flowers, which is why you want to deadhead to prolong blooming.

Some of the plants you’ll want to be deadheading this month are:

2. Holiday care for houseplants

Not necessarily a garden job but still very important - if you’re going on holiday in July (or August) you’ll want to make sure your houseplants will be watered.

If you’re away for a few days then giving your indoor plants a good watering before you leave should be sufficient to keep them healthy while you’re away. However if you’ll be gone for more than a week you’ll need to utilise other methods.

Firstly moving your plants away from bright windows and into cooler rooms will help prevent them from drying out. However, this may not be enough for the amount of time you’re away.

There are a few watering methods you can use:

The wick method. Place a container full of water next to your potted houseplant. Using capillary matting, cut a long strip 1 - 2 inches wide (depending on the size of the pot). Bury one end of the strip in the pot’s soil, and place the other end in the water. The matting will absorb the water and let it move to the soil, allowing your plant to take water when it needs. Make sure the matting is inserted deep enough into the water.

Capillary matting method. The easiest way to execute this method is on a draining board next to the kitchen sink. Fill the sink with water and dip part of a sheet of capillary matting into the water. Lay the rest of the matting across the draining board and allow water to soak up. Place your potted plants on top of the matting and push them down to ensure soil at the bottom of the pots makes contact with the matting. Wet clay pots first so they can start to absorb water from the matting.

Self-watering container method. This method works best for plants that like to grow in continuously moist conditions all year round. These containers have built-in reservoir systems allowing for a constant water supply to the soil and plant. Avoid this method if your plant doesn’t like to sit in moist soil.

If you’re going away for more than a couple of weeks, the best method is to ask a trusted friend or neighbour to water your plants, as the above methods aren’t suited for long-term trips.

If you mainly keep succulents and cacti as houseplants they can last many weeks without water, even in the summer. Give them a good drink and move them into a cooler location before you leave and they should be fine unless you’re going on an extended trip.

3. Clear and top up ponds

As the weather is normally warmer in July, algae and blanket weeds can grow out of control and completely cover the surface of your pond. Use a stick, net, or rake to remove weeds and algae from the surface. Leave the debris on the side of the pond overnight before disposing of it, as this allows some of the creates to return to the water.

The heat of July also means that the pond water evaporates quickly, thus the water level drops. This can be a problem if it exposes pond plants and reduces the amount of oxygen available to fish and other animals. Keep a close eye on your pond and top it up with rain water from a water butt when needed.

If you don’t have rain water you can use tap water, but add it in slowly in small amounts. This avoids the cold water shocking animals in the pond.

4. Some July jobs for tomatoes

A lot can be done with tomato plants in July. Start by pinching off side shoots each week and cut off any leaves that are below the lowest fruit. This will help improve air circulation to the fruits and prevent diseases.

You can also give your tomatoes a helping hand with a regular feeding of tomato fertiliser. Once a week should be enough, but if the leaves look pale or yellow then they need feeding more often.

Make sure to water your crops every day to keep the soil moist, especially in warm weather.

If you keep up the maintenance on your tomato crops they should be ready to harvest by the end of the month. If not, keep feeding the plants and keep an eye out for any pests or disease.

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