July is the month where the real Winter weather kicks in. The trees have lost all their leaves, the ground is cold and wet and the garden looks gloomy. But there is activity in the ground, my daffodils are just starting to come through, my snow drops are almost in flower and some of the primulars are beginning to flower.

We are past the shortest day although we will not notice the days getting longer for a few weeks yet. On the fine sunny days take the opportunity to prune fruit trees, roses and other deciduous plants.

The control of pest and diseases really begins now too, use copper sprays, lime sulphur and conquer oils but always read the labels first and follow the instructions to get the desired results.

When the soil is wet and heavy avoid trying to dig it over, wait until the excess moisture has dried out so the structure is not damaged.

We have had some good frosts already and I have noticed that in the gardens that I had dug over earlier the frost has broken up the clods into nice friable soil.

The new stock of roses and fruit trees are starting to be available in the garden centres and nurseries so get in early so that you are able to get the first choice of plants for quality and the cultivars that you want. Many of the Spring bulbs and perennials will be starting to move and their growing tips may be just under the soil surface; make sure you know were they are before you dig or hoe the ground.

Fine grass lawns will start to look yellow because the frosts make the ground cold and the grass will stop growing so only mow (at a higher level) as needed to keep the lawn tidy. Keep off the grass when there is frost on the ground to stop the grass getting frost burn.

If you have a green house you can start thinking about sowing some seeds from the end of the month.

Generally though the main tasks in the garden this month are to have a good clean up - of pots, trays, old seed packets and the green house, to be ready for the coming Spring.     

Keep warm

Good Gardening,
Michael Coulter

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