Garden Tips for July
The fruit and vegetable garden
A tonic for the citrus trees - sprinkle Epsom salts around the lemon, lime or other citrus. This gives a good dose of magnesium and will help to reverse yellowing leaves and turn them green.
Prepare the soil for potato crops – dig compost into the soil to aid drainage and condition it. Set aside seed potatoes for sprouting. Potato crops are great for breaking up heavy clay soil.
A clean-up copper and oil spray over pip and stone fruit trees should be done now. Prune older trees, concentrating on removing congestion in their centres. New season’s fruit tree varieties are arriving in garden centres now.
Snow peas are a cost-effective crop if you have the space. They like to grow up to 1.8m, and they’re delicious in stir-fries and salads.
Berry canes - raspberries, currants, gooseberries, boysenberries, and blackberries can be planted from now on. Check for suitable heat-tolerant varieties if you’re in the north.
Rocket, cos, head, and mesclun lettuces can withstand lower temperatures, so plant these to get the salad bed underway.
At the end of this month, summer crops can be sown using a heat pad and mini glasshouse. Try tomato, capsicum and cucumber seeds.
The ornamental garden
Plant winter-flowering shrubs that can be picked for colour and/or scent and brought indoors: camellias, daphne, wintersweet and winter-flowering hellebores are all good for the vase.
Lift Dahlia tubers for storing in a cool, dry area of the garage or shed. This prevents them from rotting in the ground in winter, and they can be replanted when the threat of frost has passed.
Sharpen secateurs and loppers ahead of the pruning season. This goes for pruning saws and hedge clippers also.
For colour in pots and garden borders, polyanthus and primulas will take you right through to spring. Regular deadheading, plus a side dressing of dried blood around flowering polyanthus, brings out the best in them.
Treat moss in the lawn with iron sulphate or spray with Yates’ Surrender. For lawns with poor drainage, an application of gypsum will help water move through the soil more easily.
Project for July
Drainage will reduce water in wet lawns
Cut a square of turf from the drain path, then dig a trench 200mm to 400mm deep and lay scoria at the base. Lay filter-sock covered drainage coil, ensuring the drain is angled to slope downward, taking the water away from the lawn. Fill in the trench with drainage metal or scoria. Don’t fill the channel completely - leave enough space to re-lay the cut sections of turf.