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Mzzz B's July Garden

6th July 2022 @ 6:06am – by Jen Benefield
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The Garden in July

Weather in the UK has always been a fluctuating affair- and unpredictable, but we do seem to be getting more unpredictable weather and the plants have to manage drought and torrential rain, very hot sun earlier in the year, and now what will July and August bring??

I am wondering whether other gardens in the village are having a problem with voles this year- they seem to be tunnelling everywhere. I have lost a rose which a vole seems to have chewed on the roots and made a big hole under it, and I planted out some perennial cauliflowers – a week later some had keeled over, on investigating a vole had burrowed beneath them. I watered well and noted the water disappearing down their holes replanted the cauliflowers, then really stamped on the soil in the hope this might discourage them.

The longest day June 21st means the days are getting shorter and it is fascinating that plants and seeds seem to know this. There are certain plants that need the lengthening days to germinate but others that are happy to germinate any time of year. The latter will have originated from warmer areas where the length of day and night doesn't change so radically as it does here.

But there are still things you can sow in the vegetable and flower garden.

Jobs for July

  • Cut back perennials that have gone over and encourage a second flush of flowers, and plant out annuals in gaps
  • Dead head everything including roses regularly and feed
  • Water and feed sweet peas
  • Take softwood cutting of shrubs like pyracantha, Cotinus,, hydrangea and spirea.
  • Keep and eye out for pests like lily beetle and aphids – squish rather than use insecticide. Lily beetles have a clever habit of turning upside down when approached turning from bright red to black, so put one hand beneath them to catch them as they attempt to escape! If you have missed the beetle, you may find the grub covered in its own excrement hanging under the leaves. These can devastate lilies, so best to remove and squish preferably with gloves!!
  • Sow biennials like foxgloves wallflowers and honesty.
  • Thin out apples and pears, remove damaged or malformed fruits.
  • Prune plum trees in dry weather to avoid fungus.
  • Sow peas and beans,salad leaves, rocket and radishes, for an autumn crop.
  • Cut down broadbeans and leave their roots in the soil to break down and release their nitrogen.
  • Trim hedges now the nesting season is over.

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