July Garden Diary

What to do
As your mandarins and oranges begin to ripen, check regularly for fruit fly attacks. One way to check if these pests are around is to place yellow sticky paper traps around the trees and see if you catch any. You may need to set some other traps or spray with Yates’ Natures Way Fruit Fly Control if needed.

Divide your perennials now, such as day lilies, Sedum, Salvia, shasta daisies and Echinacea. These will all benefit from being divided and planted back into fresh organic soil. Use a sharp knife to avoid too much root damage and don’t let them dry out before replanting.

Although you shouldn’t need to water your lawn over winter, it pays to do a little general lawn maintenance to keep it looking good and growing well right through to the next growing season. This includes regular raking to remove debris, checking and upgrading your sprinkler system ready for watering to begin again and regular moving to a height of 20mm (a little longer than usual).

Take some time to wander through your garden and gently prune back anything that has become a bit unruly over spring (and hasn’t already been attended to!). Don’t be too harsh, just a little tidy up is all that is needed now, particularly along paths and other high-traffic areas. Watch you don’t take away winter-dormant flower buds though, or you won’t get the full floral effect come spring.

Winter is the time to give your roses a good prune, but wait until the danger of frost has passed if you are in a frost-prone area. Rejuvenate them with a feed of Osmocote Plus Organics for strong new growth come spring. For a comprehensive guide to pruning your roses, see our article here.

What to plant
It’s not too late to plant winter vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, leeks, asparagus and rhubarb. You can also still plant potatoes for a good spring harvest. Garlic bulbs can go in the ground now. Feed your garlic regularly with a liquid seaweed extract for fast growth over winter and large bulbs ready for harvesting come spring.

Winter is the perfect time to plant berries in the garden. Blueberries, raspberries and thornless blackberries all do well if planted now. The goji berry is also a star performer in most home gardens, producing an abundance of small red currant-like fruit throughout the warm months. Strawberries are also on the list of must-have berries for the season. You will be able to find crowns cheap at garden centres this month. Keep slugs and snails at bay by mulching with straw (an old trick that gave strawberries their name).

If you haven’t already, seek out and plant your next deciduous trees. Re-homing them during their dormant season will result in less transplant shock that comes from root damage. Winter is also when these trees are the most competitively priced, so take your time and have a look around at your local garden centres for the perfect addition(s) to your garden.

Asparagus can be planted now and into spring. They are a long-term crop, taking 2-3 years for mature crowns to grow from seed. To hasten the process, instead plant one-year-old crowns, available from your local garden centre. Plant in a full-sun position and ensure the soil is well-draining. Crowns should be placed 20-25cm deep and 40-50cm apart. You will need to resist the urge to harvest the spears that appear in the first spring and allow these to develop into the fern-like fronds. This feeds the developing crowns below, making for a productive crop next spring.

Harvest highlights
With winter comes an array of delicious, healthy greens.

Utilise your winter greens in this simple but tasty dish from our book Delish – From Garden to Table, available here.

honey-1460406_640HONEYED GREENS (serves 4)

  • 6 C assorted green vegetables (such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, bean shoots, zucchini, leek, snow peas and celery)


  • 2 T honey
  • 2 T vinegar
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1 t reduced-salt soy sauce
  • 1 t ginger, finely chopped

Slice vegetables to the same size for even cooking and steam for 6-8 minutes (or microwave on high for 3-4 minutes) so they are still crisp but tender. Place dressing ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over low heat until the honey dissolves, or in the microwave on high for 1 minute. Drain the vegetables and toss through the dressing. Serve immediately.

For your state-by-state guide, please see our Seasonal Garden Guide on the right-hand side of the homepage.

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