Garden tasks for July 2016

Flower garden

Plant Dahlias
Plant Dahlias
  • Cut back untidy growth on perennials, divide and then replant.
  • Before pruning roses, spray plants and ground with a fungicidal spray mixed with liquid manure so any pruned material not picked up and burnt will not infect new growth.
  • Once your soil has dried out plant dahlia and begonia tubers, gladioli and calla lilies for summer flowering — leave until August if soil remains wet and boggy.
  • Plant out gladioli at intervals to extend summer flowering season.
  • Prune hydrangeas and fuchsias.
  • Plant out trees and shrubs, and add a general fertiliser and plenty of compost to the planting hole.
  • Feed spring bulbs with a side dressing of bulb food as flower heads appear.
  • Apply mulch around trees and shrubs to retain moisture for spring and summer months.
  • Sow seeds of aquilegia, stock, nemesia, pansy, wallflower, salvia, primula, snapdragon, dianthus, larkspur, sweet pea and delphinium.
  • Plant out seedlings of pansies, dianthus, larkspur, primula, sweet pea, lupin, stock and lobelia.

Fruit and vegetable garden.

  • Now is the time to start preparing soil for planting your spring vegetables.
  • Cultivate empty spaces, digging in autumn-sown green crops.
  • Add compost and lime if necessary, but avoid cultivating wet, boggy soils.
  • Plant out early potatoes in a frost-free spot, provided the soil is well-drained.
  • Sow seeds of broccoli, silverbeet, spinach, cabbage, broad beans, peas, lettuce, onions, radish, swede and turnips.
  • Plant out seedlings of artichoke, cabbage, silverbeet, rhubarb, onions and cauliflower. Continue planting your garlic and shallots.
  • Asparagus crowns and strawberry plants can also be planted this month.
  • Plant your new vines and berries, and fruit trees such as citrus, apples, pears, plums and nectarines.
  • Prune deciduous trees fruit trees, and spray with copper oxychloride and oil as a winter clean-up.

Lawns

  • Only mow when grass foliage is dry – mowing wet turf can produce a ragged effect.
  • Renovate lawns and re-sow towards the end of the month.

Second thoughts

Watch water levels of indoor plants. Despite home heating they don’t need a lot of water during winter, and too much will lead to root rot.

Although the first sign of this is wilting, don’t be fooled — check the weight of your pot or whether soil is dry a centimetre or two below the surface before you tip in more water.