Guide written by:
John, Passionate gardener, Cambridge
There's not a huge amount of sowing and planting to be done in July. That said, if you still have a bit of room or your harvests have cleared a spot for new crops, there are a few vegetables to get going! In the garden, you can start preparing your autumn flowers. Read on to find out what to sow and plant in July.
- Leafy vegetables
- Root vegetables
- Perennial and annual plants
Choosing the right time to sow seeds
At this time of year, it's important to water systematically after sowing or planting. Avoid planting anything during a heatwave and if the weather really heats up, try to give your plants a bit of shade. Ideally, it's best to plant out when it's overcast. Lots of leafy vegetables can now be sown including spinach, leeks, winter cabbages, wild cabbages and red cabbage. You still have a lot of choice when it comes to lettuces and the following varieties can still be sown: iceberg , batavia, cut-and-come-again lettuces, chicory, mesclun, rocket and even Chinese cabbage.
If you live in a chilly part of the country, sow your last green beans before mid-July to ensure you can still get a decent harvest. Near the end of the month you can sow lambs lettuces. In terms of root vegetables, you can plant winter carrots, turnips, black radishes, turnips and kohlrabi until about July 15th. It's generally too late to sow any beetroot with the exception of the Crapaudine variety which can still be sown at the beginning of the month. This heritage variety is particularly tasty and has recently swung back into fashion in the kitchen!
Elsewhere you can start re-sowing some courgette plants to replace any that are starting to wither away. You have until the end of the month to sow your last green beans if you want to harvest around September or October. Just remember that you'll only be able to harvest about two months after sowing so don't leave it too late. Remember to earth up the seedlings slightly for a few weeks after they germinate to protect them.
Your first green manure plants (white clover, mustard, or buckwheat for cooler climates) can also be sown to fill up any empty spots.
Planting vegetables and taking precautions
Just like with your seedlings, never plant anything out during a heatwave and protect your existing plants by providing them with a little shade if required. It's best to plant on a cloudy day.
During the summer months, it is important to trim about a third off the tops of leeks, lettuces and beetroots to reduce evaporation. The following vegetables should do well when planted in July:
- Cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Plant in July for an October harvest making sure to plant the full root ball to promote recovery. Bury the plant just below the first leaf and pack down the soil around the plant;
- Black, purple and pink radishes;
- Leeks should be put in the ground once they have reached the size of a pencil. Be sure to trim the longest roots before planting;
- Celery and celeriac;
- A second lot of cucumbers or pickling cucumbers can be transplanted.
Once everything is in place, mulch your plants to prevent water loss.
Maintaining your vegetable patch
- Thin out any plants that are getting overcrowded including carrots, beetroot, lettuces, leeks and turnips.
- Prune any vegetables that are growing rapidly to encourage an earlier harvest. This includes plants like aubergines, peppers, cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, squashes and melons.
- Secure your tomatoes to their supports.
- If you're going away, water the evening before you leave and consider setting up an automatic watering system.
- Look out for potato beetles. If you see any on the leaves of your plants, pick off the adults by hand and destroy the eggs.
- Spray nettle or horsetail tea onto your vegetables every 2 to 3 weeks (especially tomatoes and potatoes) to prevent disease.
Use protective nets to stop insects from laying eggs on leeks, carrots and cabbages.
When to plant herbs
- lemon verbena.
Looking for something more exotic? Why not try your hand at growing turmeric or saffron in pots? Throughout July, you'll also have to care for any herbs that are already in place. Use scissors to trim overcrowded parsley or chives to encourage them to produce younger, tastier shoots. Split your rosemary plants if required.
Caring for your ornamental garden in July
- Clean up your planters by removing any wilting flowers hiding among your geraniums, petunias or fuchsias. Stake your dahlias as required.
- Prune any spring-flowering shrubs at the start of the month. You can also trim hedges or shape your box topiary however you like!
- Prune any non-remontant roses (which bloom just once in early summer) once they've finished flowering.
- Mow your lawn about twice a week and water when the weather is dry. Avoid cutting the grass too short if it's very warm and be sure to adjust the cutting height of your mower during heatwaves.
Watering during the summer months
Flowers are much more sensitive to drought than vegetables. Water raised beds and planters generously. Be sure to keep on top of watering hanging baskets as they dry out more quickly.
- Ensure recently planted shrubs are well-watered and if you tend to forget to water, think about installing drip irrigation.
- Water your roses at the base of the plant and avoid getting water on the leaves as this can lead to powdery mildew.
- Just like in the vegetable garden, mulching works well in flower beds. Rocky gardens can be covered with materials like bark or gravel which provide the perfect backdrop for plants grown in these environments.
Splitting perennials and shrubs
Split any perennials that have finished flowering. Dividing them every two to three years will encourage them to grow.
You can also split hydrangeas, chamomile, tuberous begonias, coleus and fuchsias. A variety of shrubs can also be divided including abelia, hibiscus, bladder-senna, trumpet vines, beautyberries, camellias, caryopteris, flowering quince, dogwood, holly, oleanders, crepe myrtle, cinquefoil and privet.
Now is also the time to get autumn-flowering bulbs like autumn crocus or autumn daffodils in the ground.
Take out any damaged plants from your planters and fill the spaces with annuals or perennials like fuchsia, sage, geraniums, dahlias, tickseed, valerian, purple top vervain or beeblossom.
Orchard care in summer
- Trim non-remontant raspberry bushes down to the ground after your harvest. Continue green pruning your fruit trees to encourage new growth.
- Thin out apple or pear trees of excess fruit to encourage the tree to put out larger fruit.
- Pay special attention to grapes which are particularly susceptible to mildew and powdery mildew in warm, humid weather. A Bordeaux mixture can be used to tackle mildew while a copper sulphate solution will quickly get rid of powdery mildew. A horsetail tea or slurry can be used to prevent these issues.
- Remember to water any fruit trees planted in the autumn or winter.
- Don't forget to top up or replace any pest control systems.
Guide written by:
John, Passionate gardener, Cambridge, 79 guides
When I was young, I was already working in the family garden. Perhaps that is where my interest in plants and gardening came from. So, it was logical for me to study both plant biology and agronomy. At the request of various publishers I have, over twenty-five years, written many books on the subject of plants and mushrooms (a subject that is close to my heart).They were mostly identification guides at first, but shortly after they were about gardening, thus renewing the first passion of my childhood. I have also regularly collaborated with several magazines specializing in the field of gardening or more generally in nature. There is no gardener without a garden, I have cultivated mine in a small corner of Cambridge for the last thirty years and this is where I put into practice the methods of cultivation that will I advise you in as well.