Delicious in salads and sandwiches, the crisp, sweet crunch of a cucumber is one of the joys of summer.
Gardening in July
We never know quite what the weather will be like in July, so when the sun shines, take every opportunity to get out and enjoy your garden. Most plants are in full bloom now, and there’s plenty to do to keep things looking good, whether it’s watering plants in dry spells, deadheading faded flowers or keeping on top of the weeding. And don’t forget to take some time to simply sit and appreciate all the results of your hard work!
What to plant and do in July?
You’ll really start to reap the rewards of your gardening efforts in July with so many vegetables and fruit to harvest. There’s still lots to do and plant in July, so choose your favourite category below and read our top gardening tips for the month.
Onions (Allium cepa) are an essential ingredient in every cook’s store cupboard.
Runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus) are among the easiest and most rewarding vegetables to grow.
Sweetcorn, or maize, is sweet, tender and delicious – especially when cooked as soon as it is picked. Plenty of sun and...
Spring onions are a delicious addition to a whole range of dishes, from summer salads to stir-fries.
Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) are tubers that grow and form at the plant’s roots.
Nothing beats the taste of your own home-grown tomatoes, freshly-picked and warm from the summer sun.
Garlic is the base of so many delicious dishes, and growing garlic at home is now very popular.
Delicious in pies, soups and stews, and full of vitamins and minerals, pumpkins are a tasty autumn and winter treat.
Lupins are a traditional addition to any garden, providing colourful flowers from late spring through to mid-summer.
French beans are a versatile vegetable, producing attractive, long, thin pods, and creamy haricot beans.
‘Cavolo Nero’ is a variety of kale, closely related to broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.
Salad rocket, like its name, is a fast-growing salad leaf, perfect for adding a peppery spiciness to your salads.
Chard, or Swiss Chard, is a delicious and beautiful plant which will bring harvests to the kitchen and colour to the...
Sorrel is a great substitute for spinach, with a similar texture but a sharper citrus flavour.
If you’re a strawberry fan, the many varieties of ‘Fragaria × ananassa’ are easy to grow at home.
What could be better than a bowl of sweet, freshly-picked raspberries in summer?
Eaten fresh, baked in muffins or as the star attraction in jams or desserts, blueberries are always delicious.
Avocados are a favourite fruit used in kitchens around the world - why not try planting the stone to grow your own?
With their exotic and enormous foliage, banana plants add a taste of the tropics to the garden.
Butternut squash are a late season favourite, with attractive fruits which will keep well throughout the autumn and...
What better way to round off a summer meal than with a luscious peach? Even better, a peach you’ve grown yourself!
Everyone loves mangoes, but did you know that you can grow a mango tree from a seed?
Cultivated in herb gardens for centuries, Basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow from seed and it makes a delicious...
Coriander is a must in salads and as a fragrant green addition to Indian, Thai and Chinese curries.
It seems that most people now have at a few chilli pepper plants at home.
Peppermint is super easy to grow. The flowers attract beneficial wildlife to the garden, and peppermint plants are...
Alliums belong to the same family as onions, garlic and leeks, as you can tell from the scent when you crush the foliage...
Sweet peas are an incredibly popular summer climbing plant. They produce masses of flowers all summer long.
These stunning plants provide a captivating elegance to a border. Large colourful flowers flourish in late spring and...
There are over 900 distinct species of Salvia, providing a huge range of smells and vivacious colours.
Pretty and delicate, Geums provide colour throughout the summer. They are frost tolerant, happy in a range of soil types...
Most Honeysuckles have a sweet heady summer fragrance and are very beneficial to garden wildlife.
Bearing bold flowers in orange, red and yellow, Heleniums are a bright and cheerful addition to the garden border.
Perfect for autumn colour, the brightly coloured Nerine is a great addition to a sun-soaked border. They can also be...
The Viola is an adaptable low growing bedding plant coming in both classic and trailing varieties.
Coming in a range of colours and sizes, Snapdragons bloom from June through to October on tall spire stems.
Anemones are a cheerful and vibrant group of plants, providing interest from early spring onwards.
A well planted tree will live for decades, providing endless benefits to the environment and wildlife.
Plants in the Sedum genus are easy to grow, produce lots of nectar for pollinators, and provide lovely autumn colour.
Calathea do have a reputation of being tricky to grow, but these challenges are well worth mastering
What vegetables to plant in July
The vegetable garden is in full swing in July, and there’s plenty to do, with winter vegetable seedlings to plant out, successional crops like salad leaves to sow, and delicious vegetables to harvest for the dinner table. Keep up with the weeding, watering and feeding to give your vegetables everything they need to ripen, and be on the lookout for any signs of pests and diseases.
Sow outdoors directly into well-prepared soil, in beds, borders or containers.
Plant out seedlings into vegetable beds:
What vegetables to harvest in July;
There are plenty of vegetables to harvest this month, giving you a chance to enjoy the taste of your own home-grown, fresh-picked produce. These vegetables should all be ready to harvest in July:
- Runner beans
Vegetable plant maintenance in July
- Pinch out tomato side shoots on cordon tomatoes. There’s no need to do this for bush tomatoes.
- Feed tomatoes, courgettes, peppers and cucumbers weekly with a liquid high potash feed.
- Harvest courgettes, runner beans and French beans regularly – they taste best when young and tender, and it encourages the plants to produce more.
- Tie in cucumbers and cordon tomatoes to supports.
- Pinch out the tips of aubergine, squash and courgette plants to produce bushy plants.
- Water regularly, especially container-grown plants.
- Check for cabbage white eggs under brassica leaves and squash any you find.
- Earth up potatoes to improve the yield and prevent those developing near the surface turning green.
- Weed regularly, hoeing carefully around plants to avoid damaging shallow roots.
What fruit to plant in July
There’s an abundance of fruit to harvest in July, especially soft fruit like currants, summer-fruiting raspberries, gooseberries and the last of the strawberries. Use them fresh in delicious puddings and tarts, or freeze them to keep you well stocked with fruit for the winter. These fruits should all be ready to harvest in July:
Fruit plant maintenance in July
- Thin out fruit on fruit trees like apples, plums, pears and peaches by removing some of the fruit from each cluster. This helps to concentrate the plants’ energies in developing the remaining fruits.
- Feed container-grown fruit plants.
- Feed citrus trees with a specialized citrus feed.
- Water container-grown fruit trees regularly in dry spells.
- Peg down runners from strawberry plants to produce new plants for next year. If you don’t need new strawberry plants, cut the runners off.
- When summer-fruiting raspberries have finished cropping, cut out the old fruiting canes to ground level.
- Prune stone fruit such as plum, cherry, apricot and peach trees now, as there’s less risk of infection by silver leaf disease if the trees are pruned in summer.
- Prune espalier, fan and cordon trained fruit trees.
- Treat apple scab by cutting off and disposing of any infected twigs, leaves or fruit.
Lawn maintenance in July
Lawns get a lot of wear in summer when we’re all out in our gardens enjoying the sunshine. The main task for this month is to keep your lawn looking tidy by mowing regularly, trimming the edges and giving it a feed if necessary.
In very hot, dry summers, lawns can start to look a little brown, but don’t rush to water yours straightaway if this happens. Grass is tough and will generally bounce back once it gets some rain, so be water-wise and wait a while.
- Apply a high-nitrogen feed to the lawn if you have not already done this in previous months.
- Tackle lawn weeds – dig individual weeds up by hand or use a selective lawn weedkiller to tackle heavy infestations.
- Water newly laid turf or recently seeded lawns regularly in hot dry weather to avoid them drying out before their roots have had a chance to establish.
- Mow the lawn regularly. In hot, dry summers, raise the blades on your mower to reduce the stress on the grass.
- Use edging shears to keep the edges of the lawn trimmed around borders and paving.
- If you do need to water established lawns, do it in the mornings to reduce the risk of red thread, a fungal disease.
Herbs and spices
What herbs and spices to plant in July
Herb gardens really come into their own in summer, bursting with growth all ready for harvesting and using in the kitchen. Sow these herbs in July for a constant supply of fresh leaves:
Sow outdoors in pots or in well-prepared soil:
What herbs and spices to harvest in July
Many herbs benefit from regular harvesting and will simply put on more growth, ready to be used. All herbs can be harvested in July, including:
- Lavender flowers (for drying)
- Borage flowers
Herbs and spices plant maintenance in July
- Water container-grown herbs regularly in hot weather.
- Harvest herbs like thyme, basil and rosemary regularly for cooking. This promotes the growth of fresh new leaves.
- Sow annual herbs like coriander every few weeks, so that you have a continuous supply through summer.
- Pinch off any developing flowers from annual and biennial herbs like basil, coriander and parsley, as the flavour of the leaves deteriorates once the plants have flowered (this isn’t the case for shrubby herbs like rosemary and lavender).
- When harvesting herbs for drying, pick them early in the morning as soon as they’re dry, so that they’re still filled with their essential oils.
What flowers and bulbs to plant in July
Perennials, annuals and summer-flowering bulbs are all in full bloom in July, so take some time to sit and enjoy the results of all your hard work in the garden. There are still flowers to sow and bulbs to plant though, to make sure your garden keeps on looking great throughout the year.
Sow these seeds in a greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill now for flowers next spring and summer:
Plant autumn bulbs now in well-drained soil or in pots, planting them at a depth of around 2 times the length of the bulb. Water them after planting. These autumn-flowering bulbs are ready for planting in July:
- Cyclamen hederifolium
- Arum italicum ‘Marmoratum’
What flowers to prune in July
Cut back faded perennials once they’ve finished flowering to keep the garden looking tidy. They will put on fresh growth and often a second flush of flowers in late summer. Perennials to cut back in July include:
- Hardy geraniums
Flower maintenance in July
- Deadhead perennials regularly to encourage them to keep producing flowers.
- Cut sweet pea flowers for the house and to stop the plants setting seed.
- Lift overgrown clumps of bearded irises and divide them to rejuvenate the plants.
- Spray perennial weeds like ground elder and bindweed with a glyphosate-based weedkiller now, as the plants have plenty of leaves to absorb the weedkiller. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using weedkiller, and protect surrounding plants before spraying.