Monday, 9 July 2007



All potted plants need a daily check for watering. Add a full-strength liquid feed once a fortnight or a dilute one more regularly.

A protective shield against the sun might be a good idea this month. Whitewash of shade netting will do. Open ventilators and doors every morning, but close them again on cool evenings. Do check that birds or cats aren’t getting locked in overnight, use netting to keep them out if necessary.

Growing bags
Never let crops in growing bags go short of water. Standing the bags on gravel trays or on reservoirs with wicks through the base can prevent drying out. I used to cut holes in the bottom of the bags in the polythene tunnel so the roots could spread out into the soil if necessary.

Glasshouse pests
Biological pest control can be used at this time of year against whitefly and red spider mite.

Pot on rooted cuttings of pelargoniums, fuchsias and other plants as soon as the roots have filled their pots. Take cuttings from the non-flowering shoots of shrubs and climbers.


Fan-trained fruit
Unwanted shoots should be cut off plums and apricots to maintain the fan shape. With figs, prune out the tips of any unwanted sideshoots after the fifth leaf, or remove them completely.

Woody stemmed herbs such as sage and thyme produce lots of fresh healthy new shoots at this time of year, which will quickly root if taken as cuttings. We had a lemon balm plant outsaide of the back door that was getting far too big for its site. We cut the plant right back only two weeks ago ant the plant has made a full recovery and is being very well behaved and compact.

Harvest beetroot and other crops while they are still young and tender. Early potatoes will be ready to harvest soon,. Check one plant first to assess the crop size. Leave them to develop further if the potatoes are too small, and water the rows every week. Check for the dreaded blight, I have already heard of one disaster on in the area, even though they sprayed with copper sulphate.


Enjoy the fruits of your labours by picking rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, currants, cherries and gooseberries. Remember that if you do net fruit bushes to keep birds away, check the netting daily to ensure that no birds have become trapped.

Plant out pot-grown sweet corn. Place the plants in blocks, not rows, spacing them out about 45cm (18in) apart each way. We mad the mistake of planting out our seeds directly in to the soil early on in the season. The result is that we have no corn plants this year!

The following vegetable crops can be sown directly outside now if you are quick: lettuce and salad leaves, radishes, kohl rabi, spring cabbage and endive, plus dwarf French beans for a late crop. Winter spinach can be sown from July to September.
Above all remember to take things easy this month. You do not want to break out into a sweat!


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