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July's Chores PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bakker Company & Parag Nawathe   
Jun 24, 2007 at 04:29 AM
This is a real mid-summer month that should most of all just be enjoyed. Relax in the sun surrounded by the summer colours and fragrances and leave the chores for a slightly less sunny day. But what should you be doing on those days? The Garden in General

  • If you haven't yet added any fertilizer to your borders, it is not too late to do so now.
  • Ornamental, and other shrubs and hedges also require fertilizer. Hedges will need a higher dose as they grow close together and must compete for nutrients.
  • In this warm time of year, regular watering or spraying is essential for abundant flowers and growth so never let the soil dry out too much.
  • Water drops can act as a magnifying glass and cause scorching on the lawn, on flowers and on foliage. Moreover, as most moisture just evaporates instantly in the mid-day sun it is best to water either in the early morning or late afternoon.
  • Watering in the early morning will also diminish the risk of fungal infections such as mildew or wilt in Clematis.
  • Give plants a good soak twice a week, rather than a few minutes every day. A small amount of water will not go deep enough into the ground to actually reach the roots of the plants.
  • Remove overblown flowers from perennials as soon as possible to encourage a second period of flowering.
  • Roses must also be deadheaded as the production of seed (rose hips) exhausts the plant. Treat the plant to some special Rose fertilizer to enable to regain its strength.
  • When the last flowers have wilted, the entire truss can be cut back to well developed leaf.
  • Don't wait to support and tie-up tall growing plants. An unexpected downpour can easily flatten them.
  • Dahlias, Gladioli and Cannas are shooting up now too and will need some support. Adjustable plant supports (available in our catalogue) are ideal for this.
  • Add a layer of mulch around the base of Rhododendrons and Azaleas. Their roots grow just under the soil surface and are therefore prone to drying out.

Holiday Care for the Garden.

  • Before you leave, remove all flower heads and seed boxes from your flowering plants and chances are that on your return the plants will produce more flowers. If the plant is left to set seed it will not flower again until the next season.

Planting


  • Pot-grown plants can be planted throughout the year.
  • Put the rootball in a bucket of water until it is saturated. However, never plant in very wet soil.
  • Biennials like Forget-me-nots, Love-in-a-mist, Snapdragon, Hollyhock and Campanula can still be sown. Although they are often classed as annuals, these plants self-seed, so you are most likely to find them in your garden year after year.
  • If you have already set seed in June, the seedlings can be planted out in a temporary bed now before they are moved to their permanent place in the garden.
  • Autumn flowering bulbs like Autumn Crocus (Colchicum)can be planted from the beginning of July to September.

Pruning

  • Flowering shrubs can be pruned as soon as they have flowered. Cut back branches that have flowered to a new shoot. If there is no new shoot, cut them back to the ground.
  • New shoots of Wisteria should be cut back to about 15 cm.
  • If you have a Vine, new shoots should be cut back to the 4th leaf. Try wrapping the young leaves around a bit of cheese and put them on the barbecue. If you don't cut your shoots back all at once, you can enjoy this feast throughout the summer.
  • To get larger grapes remove about half of the bunches. One bunch per branch is usually best. Then remove the smallest grapes from the remaining branches.
  • When Lavender is in full flower, cut some sprigs to dry. Dried Lavender in a small cotton pouch in your airing cupboard gives a lovely fragrance to your towels.
  • If you have pruned your fruit trees during the winter, by May and June lots of suckers (small twigs that grow straight up) will have appeared. Indeed, where you have pruned particularly hard, entire brooms can spring up. These shoots take up a lot of water and nutrients that could be used better elsewhere. July is good time to remove these suckers.
  • Thin out fruits from Apple, Pear and Plum. By removing the smaller ones the remaining fruits get a better chance to develop.
  • Treat your fruit trees to some extra trace elements and minerals this month. You might try seaweed extract, for example. Strong growth during this period will make trees more resistant to disease and fungal infections.
  • This is the perfect time for rejuvenating Bearded Iris. Take the plant up and cut away the old parts, leaving the young, fresh parts to re-plant. Remove some foliage to minimize evaporation while it gets re-established and then plant the young rootstocks in dry alkaline soil. The rootstocks should go halfway into the soil with the roots themselves facing south.

Lawn

  • The lawn needs regular mowing this month. During long sunny spells the grass should not be cut too short otherwise it is in danger of scorching (turning yellow).
  • For the best result, give your lawn some fertilizer every month. Choose an overcast day for this, again to prevent yellow patches.
  • In long dry spells, your lawn will need regular spraying. Give it a good soak (a few hours) once a week. This is much more effective than 15 minutes every day.

Tub Plants

  • All potted plants need watering daily and, in very warm weather, perhaps even twice a day.
  • Succulents like House Leek and sub tropical plants like the Yucca and Dwarf Palm (Chamaerops) are exceptions. These can easily manage without watering for a day.
  • Never ever forget your hanging baskets. For these, evaporation is much greater, and they will dry out faster than any other planters. They normally need watering or dunking at least once a day, but provided there are no plants growing out of the sides of the basket, you can dunk them in a large bucket or tub of water every other day.
  • Use rain water when you can. If you must use tap water, let it warm up in the sun first. Plants hate being splashed in freezing cold water.
  • Brugmansia can, depending on its winter retreat, flower as early as June but certainly in July. Give this impressive plant the largest tub you can find. The more space the roots get, the more abundant the plant will flower. Add some clay to the soil or use special tub plant compost that retains plenty of moisture
  • Give all tub and pot plants some liquid or granulated fertilizer every week.
  • Hanging baskets need soluble plant food each week. Annuals, in particular, need a lot of nutrients whether in baskets, tubs or pots.

Kitchen Garden

  • Pick Apricots and Peaches just before they are completely ripe.
  • If you have sown Pumpkins or Gourds, make sure they don't take over the entire plot. A plant has male as well as female flowers, and in overcast weather you can hand-pollinate them. Take the petals of a male flower and gently brush them over the stigma of the female flower. Female flowers will have a thickening just under the flower, which will later turn into a fruit.
  • In wet weather, Pumpkins that lie on the wet soil can easily rot. Give them a bed of some straw or, not as pretty but very effective, a piece of polystyrene.
  • When your kitchen garden has been dug and fertilized you can start sowing summer vegetables in May through to mid-July. Fennel and, looking ahead to winter, different kinds of Cabbage, are excellent choices.
  • Carrots that have been sown earlier this season can now be harvested. Re-fill the holes and firm the soil down to deter carrot fly.
  • Regularly check Strawberry beds for weeds.
  • Give Strawberries (potted ones as well) a weekly dose of soluble fertilizer high in potassium.
  • Pick ripe Strawberries with the crown attached. The fruits will keep longer and the plants are less prone to fungal infections.
  • Herbs like Dill, Parsley and Thyme can be picked and dried or frozen into ice cubes.
  • Holiday Care for the Kitchen Garden
  • Check your kitchen garden for any pests and weeds and remove these carefully. All fruits and vegetables that are nearly ripe must be picked. These can rot while you are away and cause problems with pests, fungal and other diseases.

Pond

  • For a natural look water plants should be left alone as much as possible.
  • Remove Duckweed with a net, since other plants may suffocate if left beneath it. Empty the net on the ground and check for tadpoles and newts which can usually be seen and replaced in the pond.
  • Place a rock on the sunny side of the pond. Frogs like to sit and sunbathe in such a place. Butterflies too appreciate a warm spot like this
  • Keep the foliage of water lilies under control. Just like Duckweed they can suffocate other water plants.
  • Regularly check for algae and remove it straight away.
  • If the water level falls due to evaporation, fill it back up bit by bit so as not to cool down the pond too much at once.
  • If the pond water turns murky, check if your oxygenating plants are still there and maybe add some new ones. Water fleas often also do the trick.
  • Marginal plants will need to be watered regularly too.

Indoors

  • Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) starts its dormant period at the end of July. Stop watering the plant and let the foliage die back. The dead foliage can be removed and the bulb can be re-planted in December.
  • Wipe all foliage down (top side as well as bottom) with lukewarm water and a sponge
  • Open windows regularly. Houseplants need fresh air. Don't forget the roots. Loosen the compost with a fork every now and again.
  • Rose, Nasturtium and Borage flowers and Daisy buds are edible and can be used in the kitchen. Glaze Rose petals with icing sugar and use them as decoration on cakes. Nasturtium and the blue flowers of Borage spice up a lettuce or cucumber salad. Pickled Daisy buds taste like capers. 

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