When I first started to grow vegetables I really needed the information to be in one place, so I could look it up easily. However, I found I had to search for lots of little bits of information, scattered between internet sites and books. It used to take me a long time to find the information I needed.
I thought it would be useful to have this information altogether in one place. So for the benefit of UK gardeners, I write a list of things to be done each month and any useful information I can think of.
It is worth remembering that different parts of the UK have different weather conditions e.g. the last frost is expected earlier in the south than the north.
Traditionally, July is often the warmest month of the year and days are long, but it can also be the wettest month of summer with thunderstorms probable in all areas. Though as we know, weather patterns are changing and as gardeners, we really don’t know what to expect these days.
There are lots of things to harvest at this time of the year and your hard work preparing the soil, sowing seeds, etc. will have started to pay off.
It must be noted though, it has been very cold lately and this years plants are a few weeks further behind than normal, therefore please remember that this is a general guide.
Vegetables and salads to harvest:
Broad beans, spinach beet and chard, peas, globe artichokes, kohl rabi, broccoli, calabrese, onions, shallots, garlic, beetroot, early potatoes, turnips, carrots and florence fennel. Oriental mustards, spinach, peas, mangetout, beetroot, runner beans, french beans, courgettes, marrows and patty pans. Aubergines, chillies, peppers. Lettuces, radishes, mixed salad leaves and spring onions, tomatoes, chicory, celery, cucumbers, rocket, watercress and spring onions.
Fruit to harvest:
Rhubarb (finish picking at the beginning of July), gooseberries, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, red and white currants, early plums, apricots, raspberries, peaches, nectarines and undercover melons. You may even be able to harvest early blackberries, logan berries and tayberries.
Vegetables and salads to sow:
Sprouting broccoli and calabrese, beetroot, french beans, turnips, carrots, kale, kohl rabi, peas (at the beginning of the month), perpetual spinach, fennel and swiss chard, spring cabbages, oriental leaves, winter radish.
Lettuces and salad leaves (though they are harder to germinate in hot weather), rocket, spring onions, chicory, endive, radishes, watercress.
Things to plant:
Brussel sprouts, autumn cauliflowers, winter cabbages, sprouting broccoli, kale, peas, french beans, fennel, endive and leeks.
Jobs to do in July:
Keep weeding and mulch with compost or even grass cuttings if the ground is damp. Mulching will suppress the weeds and help to keep the soil moist.
Water if it is dry. It is better to give a ‘good’ watering once a week, rather than water a small amount daily, as this will help the plant roots to grow deeper to find water.
When your peas or beans have stopped producing, cut down the foliage leaving the roots in the ground, as these have lots of nitrogen in their modules, which will be good for your next crops.
Feed tomatoes after the first little tomato starts to form. Use a high potash feed, a comfrey feed is perfect for this. See how to make a comfrey feed here.
Remove new raspberry suckers or shoots that are unwanted. If your canes become too thick and dense it stops the sunlight and air from getting to the inside canes, which can cause disease or under-developed fruit.
Continue pruning the side shoots on grape vines and thin out fruit so the remaining fruit will grow larger. Remove some of the foliage if necessary to expose the grapes to the sun to help with ripening.
Keep tying in blackberry canes.
Keep pinching off the sideshoots on your tomatoes.
Prune summer raspberries as soon as they have finished fruiting, by cutting down all the canes that have had fruit on, to the ground. Tie in all this years new growth, as these canes will have the fruit on next year.
Thin apples and pears if they are still overcrowed, so the remaining fruit will grow larger.
Propagate strawberries by pegging down the runners, so they root into the ground. Alternatively, you can peg them down into pots of compost.
Prune cherry and plum trees.
‘Pinch out’ the top of runner beans when they reach the top of their supports. This will encourage bushier plants and stops them from becoming top heavy.
Weed regularly so your plants won’t need to compete with the weeds for water and nutrients.
Take up onions, garlic and shallots and lay them in the sun. Alternatively, lift them and dry them in a greenhouse. Ensure they are fully dry before storing them.
Feed peppers after the first little pepper starts to form. Use a high potash feed, the comfrey feed is perfect for this (see above).
If it is dry, water cauliflowers, lettuces, rocket, spinach as these have a tendency to bolt in dry weather.
Earth up trench celery to stop the light getting to the stems.
Bend the leaves of cauliflowers over the curds to stop the sun from turning them yellow.
Take cutting of herbs now.
July pests and diseases:
(Please don’t be alarmed by all the pests and diseases that you read below, you may never see some of them, but it’s good to be aware).
Protect your brassicas, peas, strawberries and even lettuces from pigeons, by keeping them netted.
Slugs and snails are active at night, especially in damp weather.
Remove any yellow leaves from brassicas to stop pests from hiding in them or diseases from spreading. Check brassicas for caterpillars and pick them off or squash them.
Watch out for blackfly, they especially love globe artichokes, runner beans, french beans and beetroot. Wipe the blackfly between your fingers and thumb to squash them.
Watch out for ‘blight’, it will affect your potatoes and tomatoes. Blight is a fungal disease, spread by wind and rain and it can wipe out your whole crop in just a few days. There is information regarding blight here.
Look out for leek moth caterpillars which feed on the leaves leaving holes in the foliage. Pick them off asap.
Check for asparagus beetles and pick them off.
Check apple for canker, scab and powdery mildew.
Check pears for pear leaf blister mite, rust, canker and scab.
Check gooseberries and currants for saw flies, greenflies and currant blister aphids.
Check grapes for scale insects.
Thank you for reading my blog today, I hope this post will be useful.
I will be back as usual on Friday at 4pm. I hope you have a good week.