This is the month to be out and about, enjoying the Summer, when serious gardening pauses but the most important task is to sit back and enjoy earlier efforts, although there is still work to be done, the jobs are light and undemanding, and with a few exceptions they can wait until early September, if necessary. It is a good idea at this time of year to mulch beds and borders, to keep in that precious moisture & to suppress the weeds, it will also help to keep the soil cool. Continue dead-heading roses, annuals and perennials, spray roses against black spot & other rose diseases. Prune climbing & rambling roses ,but only those varieties that do repeat flower. This month is a good time to make a start on taking cuttings of fuchsias, pinks, flowering shrubs & herbs. Tie in new growth of cultivated blackberries & other hybrid berries.
In the vegetable garden, shallots & Autumn sown onions may be ready for lifting during sunny weather & when they are perfectly dry, lay them out in trays in a warm dry place, for a couple of weeks to finish ripening. Lift main crop potatoes and allow to dry, to help set their skins. Keep up, picking the runner beans, avoiding letting any go to seed, unless you want some for next year’s plants, just keep picking, give them away, freeze them but get them off the vines. Do not forget to keep pinching out the tops to encourage more growth & flowers, right up to the first frosts. With all the dry weather we had earlier I have found that the variety “moonlight” survives the best, it is drought tolerant and self pollinating, together with a nice tasting runner bean.
In the greenhouse, make sure the shading is adequate with plenty of ventilation, it helps if you damp down the inside path to increase the humidity. If growing chillies in pots, reduce the watering, towards the end of the month, to help remaining fruits to mature and colour up ready for harvesting. Tomatoes, keep picking as they ripen, also removing any side shoots, for cordon grown plants, stop plants at about six trusses to ensure enough time left for ripening, four trusses for outdoor varieties, but keep feeding a high potash fertilizer each week. All old and discoloured leaves can be removed, discard these carefully along with the tomato side shoots, for any left lying around will promote the start of mould on your fruit.
Lawns, raise the blades of your mower, mow lightly and often without the grassbox, so that the short clippings remain on the grass to act as a moisture retentitive mulch during the dry Summer weather, excess “thatch” can be raked out during the Autumn.