All About July Jobs
Keep weeding, hoeing and mulching. There is a saying that one years seed gives 7 years weed… I have not tested this but most garden weeds are designed to grow and set seed as fast as possible so if you want your veggies to thrive you need to keep the soil around them clear of weeds. Pull them up by hand (easiest when the soil is moist) or hoe them down and don’t try to do the whole garden in one go: do a bit at a time and feel satisfied looking at what you have done rather than all the rest.
Climbing cucumbers, in fact most things that you are growing as climbers, need to be tied in regularly. Runner beans will tie themselves on unless they are being particularly silly in which case just gently wind them back around their nearest cane. When they get to the top you can pinch out their growing tips – we don’t because they sneak past their poles whilst we are not looking and then we don’t like to pinch off bits that are flowering and setting beans! The main reason for doing this is so that you can reach the beans otherwise you may need steps.
Watch out for caterpillars on your brassicas – they can strip a plant quickly and cabbages will not recover. Brussels, broccoli and kale are a little more resilient but it is well worth looking at protection for these crops if you haven’t time to check them every day. This year we are testing a finer mesh net (7mm) large enough to let air and water through easily but small enough to stop most butterflies. It doesn’t stop determined moths so we still need to look out for their caterpillars.
Of course, if the weather dries out, there will be watering to do – always better to stick with a little and often as it keeps plant roots happy and the best flavour is not found in floppy wilting veggies. This is where mulching can also help – it helps protect the moisture already in the soil and it also helps to keep weeds down by blocking them from light. Good mulches around your veggies include well rotted garden compost & manure, leaf mould, seaweed and straw (very good around strawberries!). Grass cuttings can be used carefully – but not close to plant stems as the grass gets very hot as it breaks down. We use grass early in the year around potatoes and latter in the year to suppress weeds on paths between the veg beds. All these different mulches can be dug into the soil after harvesting which helps your garden for the next year too.
And the nicest job of all is harvesting and eating your produce!