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This entry taken from the July Dalgety Bay Diary.


July is a very productive month in the garden. All the hard work put in during spring now starts to pay off, with much of your fruit and vegetables ready for harvest. Whilst itís a great month for relaxing a little and enjoying your garden, itís also important to keep on top of weeding, watering and pests.

The Vegetable Patch in July

Pick, pick and pick some more - By mid-July, a lot of your veg will be in full flow, including cucumbers, courgette, peas, Frenchbeans, carrots, beetroot, beans, lettuce, salad, mangetout, earlytomatoes and the last few broad beans.

Make cucumber relish - If youíve got too many cucumbers, think about making cucumber relish. Itís delicious, will keep for months,and goes very well with cold meats and cheeses.

Keep weeding - Weed regularly to keep on top of them. Donít allow any weeds to flower and self-seed, or youíll just have extraweeds next year.Feed tomatoes -

Feed tomatoes once a week with a liquid tomato feed or comfrey tea. This ensures they are getting all the nutrientsthey require to give you the best flavoured tomatoes.

Water regularly - If the weather is dry, water your vegetables regularly. Plants in pots or in the greenhouse will need wateringdaily.Keep runner beans moist to encourage the flowers to set.

Plant out your leeks - If you havenít done so already, transplant your leeks to their final growing position.Harvest onions and garlic - When the leaves of onion and garlicstart yellowing and dying back, then they are ready to lift. Lift themon a dry day and leave on the soil to dry before storing.

Harvest regularly - Pick your vegetables small, courgette should be about 10cm(4in) long, and beans should be slender. Leave them too long and they become tough.Youíve probably got plenty, so pick it all at its best.

Freeze excess vegetables - Freezing broad beans and peas is a great way ofstoring any surplus for the winter months. For the best results, always pick veg that isin good condition.

Keep planting - There are still lots of vegetables that you can sow in July, including French beans, peas, lettuce, beetroot, kohl rabi, carrots, turnip, spinach, pak choi,raddicchio, Swiss chard and radish.As soon as space becomes free, start sowing again.

Keep a good eye out for pests - Look out for pests on the leaves of your plants, and deal with them immediately. Any broad bean plants you still have in the ground are likely to have aphids. Get rid of the aphids either by squishing them or spraying them. If youíve got a greenhouse, check for whitefly, mealybugs and red spider mite.

Tie up tomatoes and nip out the side shoots - Cordon tomatoes will need staking and side shooting as they grow.Tie the stem at regular intervals to a cane or stake in the ground. Remove any side shoots from cordon tomatoes.

Harvest new potatoes - Brush some of the soil away, and have a little peek at yourpotatoes. If they are large enough to eat, then you can start harvesting them.

Transplant winter brassicas - If you havenít done so already, transplant your winter brassicas, such as broccoli, cabbage, purple sprouting broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts to their final positions.

The Fruit Garden in July

Pick soft fruit - Strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries, and blueberries will be ready for picking. Pick on a warm dry day for the best flavour. Pick regularly, as the fruits do not all ripen at the same time. If you havenít done so already, prune cherry trees. The best time to prune is just after harvesting when the trees are still in their growing season.

Water blueberries - Blueberries require lots and lots of water. Water frequently and heavily with rainwater, particularly if they are grown in pots.You can also give them a feed of ericaceous fertilizer.

Propagate your own strawberries - Propagate new plants from the runners that the plants start sending out. Any runners that you root now will provide strawberries next year.

Thin out apples and pears - Apple and pear trees naturally shed some oftheir fruit (called the ĎJune dropí), but further thin out so that you get fewer bigger fruit.

Remove raspberry suckers - Raspberry suckers that grow between rows should be removed. If you have any gaps in your line, then use these to fill them in.

Other Gardening Jobs in July

Ventilate the greenhouse - Greenhouses can get incredibly hot on sunnydays, open the door and any vents you have to allow cooler air to circulate.

Turn the compost in your compost bin - Regular turning of your compost keeps it well mixed and helps to aerate the pile.

Provide water for the birds - Keep your bird bath topped up for the birds.Itís thirsty work raising chicks. If you donít have a bird bath, just put some water in a large plant pot tray and place in the garden. The birds will find it.

Spend some lazy hours in your garden - After all your hard work, enjoy the sunshine and laze in your garden.

Michael Gourlay Chairman

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