Winter Gardening Tasks for July


Winter Gardening Tasks for July

Brrr! It's the heart of winter, with frosts in many parts of the country. Time to plant strawberries and harvest winter vegetables. It is also the main month for planting new ornamental and fruit trees, so their roots have plenty of time to establish before spring growth begins.


Veggie Garden Harvesting and Planning
Almost all winter vegetables can be harvested in July including broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, leeks, lettuce, parsnips, peas, radishes, silver beet, and spinach. While still early days, toward the end of July it is worthwhile considering the forthcoming summer vegetable garden, what to grow and where. Plan the rotation of crops, especially where there is limited space in the vegetable garden.


Flowering Annuals
July is the height of flowering with winter annuals providing wonderful displays of colour, brightening up the garden. Other winter annuals producing flowers include ageratum, alyssum, calendulas, cineraria, cornflowers, nemesia, pansies, snapdragons, and stock. Note down which winter annuals are flourishing and providing the most magnificent displays and in what part of the garden. This knowledge will guide your plantings next autumn/winter.


Fruit Tree Pruning and Planting
Complete all pruning of delicious pip and stone fruit trees. Take advantage of the wide variety of new fruit trees available at garden centres. Select trees suited to your region's conditions. Choosing the right location in your garden is very important – fruit trees thrive in a full sun site, that is sheltered from strong, prevailing winds with well-drained soil. Proper site selection sets the foundation for successful growth and bountiful future harvests. 
Citrus trees fruiting in July include clementine mandarins, navel oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit. A follow-up spray of copper oxychloride is recommended for all fruit trees, citrus included. This is beneficial in controlling various fungal diseases.


Rose Pruning and Planting  

As with fruit trees, complete pruning of late-flowering roses such as icebergs. Mulchexisting plants with fresh compost and plant new specimen roses, both bush and climbing. 
When shopping for new rose bushes, always select healthy plants and look for well-shaped branches. Before planting out, add plenty of compost to the hole, and presoak your rose bush in Garden Time Seafeed to help reduce transplant shock.


Pruning Raspberries
To properly prune your raspberry bushes, it is essential to remove all old canes and any thin, spindly growth. Select only the strongest canes, as these will be instrumental in bearing the next season's crop. Secure and train them along wires or fences.


Pruning Grapes
Your grapevine can be safely pruned once all of the leaves have fallen off the vine. It is important to establish a framework of strong, sturdy “leaders”, ideally growing horizontally.  From these leaders prune smaller, lateral growth back to two nodes (small lumps in the wood). It is from these nodes that next season’s growth and grapes will appear. 
Ensure that the soil around the base of the plant does not become exceptionally wet over winter. Grapevines are vulnerable to frost so protect them by covering vines with a frost cloth from late August to September.


Strawberry Planting
To prepare the soil for planting strawberries, add compost and raise mounds about 150-200mm above the existing soil level. The mounds will warm up more quickly in spring and encourage early fruit cropping. If possible, angle the mounds in a North-South direction to allow for maximum daylight exposure for the strawberry plants. Plant the new strawberries 120-150mm apart. Buy a range of different strawberry varieties to extend the harvesting season.
If you have limited space, grow your strawberries in pots or containers. Use Strawberry Mix which contains slow-release nutrients and moisture-retaining qualities which are particularly important when growing in pots. Apply a layer of Mulch and Grow on top to help moisture retention. Position your pots or containers in a warm sunny, north-facing position, away from strong winds.


Ornamental trees and shrubs
So many varieties are available at your local garden centre! Choose wisely and position carefully in the garden to avoid problems of overcrowding later. Always select the healthiest, strongest-looking specimens.


Houseplant Care 
Many traditional indoor plants struggle in the depth of winter in New Zealand homes. Place them in the warmest part of the home near windows, so they receive enough light. 
Light misting of foliage (leaves) with lukewarm water is very beneficial, particularly in spaces with heating that rapidly dries the air. Continue to experiment by growing different species. There is a great variation of houseplants now available at your local garden centre.

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