The recent weather in Preston may not have been as good as we would have hoped for in early July. Gardening is good for your mental and physical health so do not let it stop you from getting out in your garden. To help you, local gardener and Podio volunteer Ian from Anstu Media has written another of his regular gardening articles for Podio readers with some top tips and ideas for jobs to do in the garden in July.
There are obvious things to do such as watering, sowing and flower care, remember to deadhead those flowering plants. Not only do these dead flowers look unsightly they are also a drain on the plant.
Thin out your fruit and your vegetables
I currently have hundreds of lettuces, 2 different varieties – I may have got carried away with sowing them. If you have too many donate to friends or community food markets. Remember not to pull the whole plant; if you leave the base of the lettuce they will quickly replace those lettuce leaves.
Look after your lawn
Due to the weather, i.e. hottest days of the year and recent heavy rainfall, your lawn may not be looking its best; reseed missing spots on your lawn and remember to feed your lawn.
Take cuttings from your perennials
Another thing I like to do about now is to take cutting from perennials
How to take the cuttings:
- Choose healthy and non-flowering shoots of new growth.
- Cuttings should be about 5 to 10cm (2 to 4in) long. Prepare by making a straight cut under a pair of leaves and then remove several sets of lower leaves that would rot in the soil if left behind.
- Keep only one or two pairs of leaves at the tip. Cuttings usually root better if the cut end is dipped in hormone rooting liquid or powder, although I have had success without rooting powder by placing the cuttings in a glass of water where the lower end is submerged. If this method is used, once roots begin to show follow the method below, if rooting powder is used go directly to the following potting method.
- Fill a pot with compost: a mix of 50 percent cuttings compost, (preferably home produced) and 50 percent horticultural grit, level and firm.
- Insert a number of cuttings around the edge of a pot, keeping their leaves clear of the surface and water well. Take several cuttings from each shrub to increase your chance of success. Label if you’re making cuttings of several varieties. Put in a propagator or make your own using a pot with a clear plastic bag, held in place with an elastic band, to stop the cuttings from drying out.
- Put in a light place until rooted.
- Keep cuttings damp and grow on until they have rooted. make certain that roots have plenty of drainage and do not become waterlogged.
Planting out and maintenance
Pot each rooted cutting individually and plant out when they have filled their new pot with roots. Additionally, when the plants are about 15cm (6in) tall pinch out the tips to encourage new branches to grow.
Remember to water the plants you have already. Are your fruit trees producing fruit as they need plenty of water? Feed the birds, as much as birds can be a pain, they are also part of nature and your garden. If sowed early you may be finding the start of many fruits such as pears and some apples and courgettes/zucchini. Do not leave courgettes too long before picking unless you want marrows.
If you want to read more of Ian’s gardening advice follow his gardening blog: https://www.facebook.com/Ians-gardening-blog-