General tidy up:
- Prune roses
- Start weeding
- Add a layer of compost around trees and in vege garden
- Raking leaves
- Plant hedges in warmer areas
With this recent cold snap of weather, July might seem like an ideal time to stoke up the fire and work on your ‘mental garden plan’ for the upcoming months. But in fact, there are still many outdoor tasks you can tick off in your garden.
Strawberries, garlic, asparagus and onions these are just some of the vege to plant this time of year. If you don’t have many winter veges in your garden consider planting a cover crop like lucerne or mustard. (But don’t grow mustard if you’ve had a problem with clubroot in the soil, as it’s part of the same family that is affected by club root.) These crops benefit your garden by providing a natural fertiliser to your soil by adding nitrogen. When spring arrives merely dig these crops over into your soil
If you’re wanting Christmas potatoes now is the time to start preparing your soil. Dig your soil over and add some lime. The nursery currently stocks Tui agria and cliff kidney seed potatoes, which are early varieties. If you’d like to give potatoes a go, check out our video here
July is also the time to feed and mulch your asparagus plants to reap the rewards later on. If you haven’t grown asparagus before we definitely recommend giving it a go, while it does take some time for your first crop to appear (roughly 4 years) it’s worth it. The nursery stocks Mary Washington which is a great home garden variety to grow, we currently have them available in our established range, these plants are 12 months which means the root systems are much more developed. If your planting for a family, we recommend planting roughly 15 asparagus plants.
Every asparagus plant should be grown about 40cm apart from the next. So for around 15 plants you'll need space of about 1.5-2m x 1.5-2m - depending on how you decide to plot out your garden. They're quite a messy plant (with all their fern like fronds) so it's often better to plant in a couple of rows than just one).
Ideally you want to plant in a patch of soil that is more alkaline than acid and in full sun. It's also very important that the soil is well-draining otherwise in winter the crowns of your plants will rot. We strongly recommend digging in a whole lot of compost and manure as deep as you possibly can before you start planting. Lastly, make sure there are no weeds anywhere.
Dig a little hole and place each plant around 40cm apart from the next. Cover the roots with soil and keep the plants well-watered.
ensure your asparagus bed produces good quality spears for years to come it's vital you allow the plants to develop well during the first three years. Each year they will die back in winter and send up new shoots in spring.
We’re all about antirrhinums this month! They’re super easy and work well in pots and tubs and work well as border, bedding plants and are great cut flowers. The nursery has four varieties in stock at the moment, snapshot merlot mix, tall, snapshot pink and dwarf. To plant we recommend planting your seedlings in full sun and in rich well-drained soil, then place your seedlings 25-20cm apart. Protect from wind and deadhead to prolong flowering.
Deadhead your hydrangeas and other flowering shrubs or annuals that don’t look their best and have died back. If you haven’t already, prune back your roses. The best time to prune roses is when they're dormant. This is when their leaves and flowers have fallen off. It's important to prune on a nice sunny, dry day as rain on the cut branch could lead to die back.
To prune you should only prune the smaller branches that stem off from the three to four main branches of the rose bush. Ensure you cut just above the second bud that's pointing to the outside of the rose bush. Cut the branch on an angle where it's as thick as a pencil or thicker to get the best flowers come spring. Repeat on other branches and rose bushes in your garden.
Next, use a brush to scrub the flaky bark off the base of your rose bush to encourage new branch growth. When you've finished pruning, spray the twig-like arrangements with a mix of all season oil and copper. This will remove insects and stop die back on the branches you've just cut.
If you need some more inspiration on what to plant, check out our winter planting suggestions here
General garden tasks
Your compost heaps will be due for a turning over now. You can cover compost with old carpet or plastic bags to help maintain its heat during the winter months. And to keep off the rain, cover it with an old sheet of corrugated iron or polythene. Add lime to your compost to keep it from smelling, and blood and bone to fertilise it.
Keep raking the leaves from your lawn. Leaves can also be added to your compost heaps or bins. To get leaves to successfully break down into compost, first shred them with your lawnmower then add plenty of manure. Regularly turn your leaves in the compost for a faster breakdown into compost.
Spray and prune your deciduous trees (the trees that lose their leaves every year) with lime sulphur. The lime sulphur acts by burning off the over wintering fungi and pests, including mites. It’s very important you do this for gooseberry bushes because they are prone to catching mites which can eat out the flower buds, meaning your bush ends up with no fruit. Luckily, the lime sulphur will get rid of those mites. If you haven’t pruned your citrus trees and grape vines, you can still do it now
Don’t apply it to your apricot trees because they can be sensitive to lime, so it’s best just to avoid it.
It’s also a good time to look at your herbaceous perennials – plants that have no woody stem above ground. These would have started to die but their roots still survive. Now you can dig them up, split the plants in half and replant - excellent for enlarging your garden.