What to Do in the Garden This Week - July 3rd

Published on July 3rd 2020
A man watering a garden
This week I have tips on a bit of pruning, what to do with herbs and how to ripen shallots before storing them.

Flower borders

  • It's time to sow winter flowering pansies, primrose and polyanthus. These are best sown in seed trays filled with seed compost.
  • Cover the pansies with ¼" of compost, and cover the others with cling film and put in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks before bringing them out to germinate. All these plants grow best if kept cool.
Winter flowering pansies
  • It is also time to sow wallflowers. Sow thinly into a prepared seedbed outside, to be lifted and planted out in the autumn. I used to grow 120,000 wallflowers every year, and my top tip is to water well before sowing to get better germination.
  • Vigorous shrubs such as firethorn (Pyracantha) will benefit from having long shoots pruned back. It will stop them from hiding the attractive berries which will be on old growth.
Firethorn or Pyracantha berries on a branch
  • Carefully prune evergreen Californian Lilac and Broom now that they have finished flowering. Don't just hack at it, but make sure you use sharp tools and trim out leading shoots to leave weaker side shoots.
  • If your Choisya, evergreen Berberis or Viburnums need a trim, do it now.
  • Deciduous Spiraea, Weigela, Chaenomeles, Berberis and other bigger shrubs can be pruned now. This leaves time this summer for the new growth to produce flower buds for next spring.

Fruit & veg

  • Trim herbs back and remove flowers. Give them a good soaking with liquid feed to encourage new shoots, which are always the tastiest!
  • It's not too late to plant up herb container. Any well-drained container in the sun will do. Avoid mixing mints with other plants as they are dominant growers.
herbs growing in a hanging pot
  • Loosen onions and shallots and lay them out in the sun to ripen. If you don't do this, they may not store so well. You can also ripen the skins on your greenhouse bench or outside on a sheet of wire to let air circulate around them.
shallots drying in the sun
  • Turn your compost heap regularly and water it if it is dry. Watch out for slow worms which love the heat generated in a well-tended compost heap. They are harmless and a real gardener's friend.
  • If you water your garden now, remember that it's better to give it a thorough soaking less often than a splash over the top every night. Use washing-up water and other "grey water" especially if your water is metered.
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