The Gardener's Journal is a free monthly gardening guide delivered direct to your inbox.

Each month, receive tips on the top jobs needed in your garden as well as a wealth of information on a range of gardening topics. From sowing seeds to picking fruit, each month get access to information on the care and maintenance of your flowerbeds, vegetable plot and lawn. As with your own gardening diary, the journal is split into separate sections, each covering a different area of garden care.

Monday, 7 July 2014

This Month in your Garden – July

Let the show go on...

With all the planting you’ve done, you are rewarded with a summer display, a garden full of flowers and you want the show to continue. Before they run to seed and weaken the plant you want to regularly remove blooms or flower spikes that have faded on early-flowering herbaceous plants, roses, bedding plants and annuals. If you want some seed of a particular plant to propagate let one run to seed.

Watering is of course important, just at the point in the summer when it may be in short supply. A lot of water comes off the roof of the house, the shed and greenhouse which can be easily collected in water butts by fitting inserts in downpipes. Sprinklers are not very efficient – an hour’s sprinkling is equal to as much as a family uses in a day. Better then to run a soaker hose through beds and borders to take the water directly to where it’s needed. Water in the evening when the heat of the sun has died down and if you’re using a watering can or hose you can rotate the task by soaking one area thoroughly and then another the following evening.

The Vegetable Plot – July

If you have the thyme

If you have been keen on growing vegetables the garden should be overflowing by now, especially with successional sowing. During the month you can make further plantings of celery and plant out winter greens as you harvest crops and ground becomes free, but water freely if July is persistently dry.

Leeks sown in mid-March can be planted. Feed and train outdoor tomatoes, nipping out side shoots and when the first fruit start swelling you can put some well rotted manure or compost around the plants.

Lawn Care Guide – July

Brown drought or ‘dry patch’?

July’s lawn care is much the same as June with regular mowing, though if it is hot and dry the growth
rate may have slowed. In which case you don’t want the mower or cutting deck on a garden tractor to cut too low; raise it a notch. Frequent close mowing can cause damage to the grass. If the ground is hard and the lawn has become compacted it’s worth spiking it before watering so that the water can penetrate more deeply to encourage the roots to push down.

Earlier in the year you were probably dealing with worm casts, now it’s likely to be ants creating unsightly ant hills above their nests. Brush them away and apply an ant killer as directed by the manufacturer.

The Big Glut Recipe – July

A summer pea and broad bean humous

Pick your own fresh peas and broad beans for a different take on humous and serve this for lunch or
keep it to yourself in the fridge. If you don’t have fresh, frozen peas and beans will do. Adjust the cooking time accordingly. You need a food processor for this recipe.

  • 300g of fresh peas or defrosted frozen
  • 300g of fresh broad beans or defrosted frozen
  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 slices of bread – use sourdough or similar
  • 125g/4½ oz soft goat’s cheese
  • 50g watercress or land cress to garnish

This Month's Top Tip – July

Q. Can I put orange and lemon skins on my garden compost?