Blink and you’ll miss it, somehow June is over. Hopefully you managed to keep on top of your to do list for the month. We all know that the tasks on the plot are never ending, but here are five things for you to do in July.
Thin out your fruit trees
If your fruit trees have not experienced the “June Drop”, then now is a good time to thin out any excess fruits you may have on your trees. With apples and pears, make sure there are no more than two fruits growing within close proximity of one another.
Keep an eye out for blight
Blight can be absolutely devastating to your tomatoes and potatoes if it is not caught in time. If you see any affected leaves on the tomatoes, remove them and place them in the general waste rather than the compost bin. Unfortunately, this may not be enough depending on how early you catch the disease. You may have to destroy the plant entirely.
Last year, our blight problem was exacerbated because we had planted our tomatoes too closely together. Plus, the clay soil didn’t help. To prevent tomato blight, make sure there is plenty of room between your plants and snip off some of the lower leaves and side shoots to allow the plants to breath.
Top tip: some of the side shoots may be big enough for you to plant on [from non infected plants]. Every hair on the tomato stem has the ability to become a new root.
With potatoes that have developed tubers, remove all of the greenery on the infected potato plant. This will help protect the tubers underground. If your potato is yet to develop any tubers, completely remove and destroy the plant as you will not get a successful crop. If you do not remove all of the infected areas of the plant, it will spread to more of your potatoes as potato blight spreads via the wind. The fungus can also lay dormant in your soil if any matter remains, so it is important to be thorough.
Train your unruly strawberry runners
Strawberries can spread like wildfire when left to their own devices, make sure to either pin down the runners you wish to keep in your patch or remove the ones you don’t want. You can also cut off small runners and plant them in a pot for them to set root. You can then plant them else where or give them away.
Pick your lavender
Lavender is a beautiful and versatile flower, which can be used in cosmetic and food recipes. Depending on the variety and your location, the lavender may well be ready to pick. It is best to pick it before the lavender heads bloom, but if it has bloomed it is still worth drying and using later on. It may lose its fragrance quicker than the lavender that has not bloomed. Also, by cutting your lavender you will prolong the production period.
Get a head start
Summer may have only just begun, but it is now time to start thinking about sowing your autumn and winter crops to see you through the quieter months on the plot. By sowing your autumn and winter crops in July, you will literally be reaping what you sow. Carrots, hardy leafy greens and Swiss chard are a great place to start.
Once again I have raided my seed stash for you. Here’s what you can sow for the last time in July:
– Spring onions
– Carrots; purple sun, baby chantenay
– Borlotto beans, purple teepee bean, sunshine french bean
– Shiraz Mangetout
– Lettuce; Little Gem, Iceberg, “Webbs Wonderful”
– Pea “Kelvedon Wonder”
– Turnip “Sweet Marble”
– Kohl Rabi
– Beetroot; Rainbow mix, Chioggia, Red River