I love this time of year. As the longest day comes and goes, a profound shift of gear occurs in the garden. Week by week, plants get bigger, bolder and brighter, and your gardening jobs change from hard graft to to harvesting the fruits of your labours. It’s the sweetest of times – everything is fresh and green and one by one, a multitude of different fruits ripen, delighting the senses.
Last weekend I picked my first raspberries and strawberries, and generally just enjoyed being out in the plot. However, early July is no time to rest on your laurels, and there’s plenty of light work, or titivation as I like to call it, that’s worth doing now.
What to do this week
Remove ‘water shoots’ from fruit trees, magnolias, etc. These straight shoots grow directly from the trunk or large branches, often just where you’ve removed a branch during winter pruning. They spoil the shape of the tree and tend to only produce leaves rather than flowers or fruit. Pull them off now while they’re still soft and sappy. By pulling them off you remove the buds at their bases, lessening their chances of re-growing. If you have to use secateurs, cut them flush with the host branch.
Harvest garlic when the leaves start to die down. Dry the bulbs in a greenhouse or shed for a week or two.
Don’t forget to keep on top of the weeds, especially before they seed. If they’re flowering but you haven’t got time to dig them out, snip off the flower heads and leave digging for another day.
Keep an eye out for bugs! It’s really worth getting to know them. I found these pretty asparagus beetles (unfortunately they need squishing on sight) – and these horrid looking ladybird larvae which should be looked after at all costs.