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Seed Club - July

July

Whether you’re new to growing from seed or more experienced, our Seed Club offers you great deals on seeds, timely reminders and practical seed-sowing advice. Every month, Sally Nex will be guiding you through the key sowing and growing jobs.

SeedsThis month

The garden turns a corner this month as the hurly-burly growth of the last few months gives way to the self-assured maturity of midsummer. But that means a new chapter for me, too, as this is make-or-break time for the second half of the season. Pull out the seed trays again now and when the French beans are spent and the lettuces are eaten you'll have new young plants to drop in their place. There's also time – just – to squeeze in one last sowing of annual cosmos, calendula and zinnias...

Sally Nex

 

Veg jobs for July

Veg jobs

  • Clear away spent broad bean plants, but leave the roots in the ground where they'll add nitrogen and boost your soil's fertility
  • When runner beans hit the top of their supports, start pinching out the topmost growing shoots to stop them getting top-heavy and help them concentrate on producing more beans lower down
  • Pick French beans every two or three days, as if you leave pods on the plant too long they stop producing any more. You can always freeze the surplus
  • Sign up for blight alerts at www.blightwatch.co.uk (it's free) so you know when your tomatoes are most at risk from this deadly disease and can act fast, spraying weekly with a protective fungicide before symptoms appear
  • Slow-release fertilisers applied earlier in the year are starting to wear off by now so top up with a fresh sprinkling of bonemeal or pelleted poultry manure to keep plants happy through till autumn
  • Wait till evening to sow lettuce seed as it won't germinate in high summer temperatures, and put the seed tray somewhere cool and shady so seedlings don't get frazzled the moment they emerge
  • Pull beetroot roots small, no bigger than a table tennis ball, and roast whole to enjoy fresh or pickle in red wine vinegar and black peppercorns for storing through winter
  • Keep greenhouse cucumbers really humid – if you wear glasses they should fog up when you walk in! Raise air moisture levels by laying straw thickly on the ground and soaking with water so it steams gently throughout the day
  • Choose two or three of your largest pumpkin fruits to leave on the plant and remove all the rest so the plant's energies are concentrated on swelling the ones you're keeping into real monsters
  • Once aubergines are about 30cm high, remove the growing tip to encourage lots more fruit bearing side branches

 

Seed Club veg offers

Seed Club Snap up bargains at Thompson and Morgan:

 

Flower jobs for July

Flower jobs

  • Sweet rocket (Hesperis matronalis) often self-seeds after flowering, so look out for the seedlings and transplant them carefully to where you want them to grow for free flowers next year
  • Look out for signs of rust on the leaves of mature hollyhocks – it's not always fatal but it can look unsightly as leaves become peppered with yellow or orangey-red spots. Remove affected leaves straight away to slow the spread
  • Keep sweet peas blooming by dead heading every few days and feeding with a liquid tomato feed in the watering can once a week to encourage more flowers
  • Keep zinnias well watered as they grow, as they hate drying out at the roots and those heavy heads easily droop their slender necks if they go short. A really thorough soaking once a week is ideal
  • Make a special nursery bed of well-cultivated soil tucked away in a sunny spot and sow biennials like foxgloves, honesty and sweet williams direct, ready for next year's blooms. Thin seedlings to 5cm apart then dig up and transplant in September
  • Leave a few calendula flowers on the plant to turn into seed heads. Once they've turned brown and dry, rub the curved seeds away from the head and store in a paper envelope somewhere cool and dark, ready to sow next year
  • Poke a few twiggy sticks in among any Ammi majus flower stems threatening to topple over sideways. Twigs are discreet and natural enough to melt into the background yet will give these willowy annuals just enough support to lean against
  • Cerinthe purpurascens can start to sprawl and look a little leggy as the season goes on, but cut stems back by about half, trimming to just above a pair of leaves, and you'll encourage bushy new side shoots and another flush of flowers
  • Pick stems of long-flowering Salvia viridis to dry in bunches hung upside down somewhere airy and bright (but out of direct sunlight) for a couple of weeks. The flowers keep their colour beautifully and last for ages in dried flower arrangements
  • Container-grown flower displays often look a little tired by midsummer, so pep them up by cutting back stems by about a third to encourage fresh growth lower down the plant. A weekly dose of liquid tomato feed also encourages a fresh flush of blooms

 

 

Seed Club flower offers

Seed Club Save money at Thompson and Morgan:

 

Next month

Sally Nex

Seed Club - jobs for August

Though the garden still looks lush, the doldrums can hit hard in August. Growth slows, plants start to tire and if you're not careful, pests and diseases sneak in. So I'm arming myself with secateurs and a pep talk to re-energise both flowers and veg and send them into autumn in tip-top condition.

 

Seed Club factsheets

Download your handy, printable factsheets, giving you the know-how to grow vigorous and healthy crops from seed. (The factsheets, in PDF format, open in a new window.)

 

View the full range of offers

Browse the full range of seed collection, tools and accessories on offer by visiting the Seed Club page on the Thompson and Morgan.

 

More advice on seed sowing

Seed sowing projects on gardenersworld.com Seeding sowing projects and videos
For more tips and advice on raising plants from seed, browse our extensive collection of step-by-step projects and practical videos.

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Seed Club - advice for May

Seed Club - advice for June

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