What to do in the garden in July

The days may be shorter, wet, windy and cold but your garden will benefit from any time you spend working in it now. But if the rain is keeping you out of the garden, you can always head to the shed and carry out some simple tool maintenance.

What to plant

July is when you want to be mulching, pruning, weeding, and planting.

If you live in the tropics, there’s a huge selection of plants you can get into the ground. Everything from beans, sweet corn, cabbage, rocket, silverbeet, garlic, ginger, mint, rockmelon and tomatoes. You can also take frangipani cuttings, dry them for a week and plant them. It’s also a good time to plant figs, pistachios, bare-rooted roses and vines.

In sub-tropical areas beetroot, carrots, garlic, lettuce, peas, rocket, snow peas and spring onions are some of the things you can plant now.

In temperate climates, there’s not much going on in the vegie patch. But you can plant beetroot, lettuce, onion, peas, radish, snow peas and strawberries. Many ornamental and fruit trees are ready to plant now including figs, pistachios, bare-rooted roses and vines.

In colder regions, there’s also not much to plant but you can still go with mustard greens, onions, radish and spinach.

What to pick

July is when winter fruit and vegetables are at their best. It’s time to pick apples, grapefruit, kiwifruit, lemons, limes, mandarins, oranges, quinces and rhubarb. On the vegie and herb front, there’s broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, spinach, garlic, ginger, leeks, potatoes, pumpkin and fennel.

What to do

After you have finished planting your winter fruit, vegies and herbs, it’s time to fertilise. Use a seaweed or a low environmental impact liquid fertiliser, to help your plants grow.

Winter is also a good time to prune but before you do, some simple tool maintenance will make the job easier. Head to the shed and clean, sharpen and oil your garden tools. They’ll work better, last longer and it will even help to prevent the spread of disease.

Once your tools are sharp, deciduous fruit trees love a good prune now, but leave your apricot tree alone. In temperate areas, you can also prune your roses.

After the winter rains, weeds are easy to pull out. So spend a little time every day walking around your garden and getting rid of them.

After weeding is a good time to add some mulch, especially if the winter rains have washed it away. Choose a mulch that will improve your soil as it breaks down.

Green manure or cover crops are good to grow in dormant vegie patches now. They include fava beans, field peas or mung beans. These crops reduce soil erosion and improve soil quality. Remember to chop and drop them before they flower.

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