Now is the time to reap of lot of what you’ve sown!
Gardening in July
July is often one of the hottest months of the year and if you’ve got your act together, the Polytunnel should be bursting to the brim with yummylishous life.
Temperature + Water
The temperatures under your polythene cover will be high and so will the demand for water. Ensure all your crops get a regular supply of water as this will promote healthy development and help to dodge diseases and bolting.
Water is a precious commodity. Have you thought about collecting rainwater off your Polytunnel and storing it in water butts?
Watering is best done in the evening or early morning. Don’t forget containers and hanging baskets often need watering twice a day if it’s very hot! If you’re lucky enough to be jetting off on holiday, ask a reliable friend or neighbour to do the essential daily watering tasks or make sure you’ve got a really good automated irrigation system to do the work for you.
The more you pick, the more you pick, the more you pick. Try to catch your veg while it’s at its peak and harvest it regularly rather than leaving it to go woody or bitter-tasting. If you have more of something than you want to eat, you can: –
It’s just as useful to recycle it by adding it to the compost heap, well that’s if your friends and family don’t want it either.
Inspect your Polytunnel for unwanted guests/pests every day and make sure there’s ample ventilation and irrigation. Just remember the mantra – Ventilate, Irrigate, Ventilate. Get the doors open as often as you can and if you have the luxury of side ventilation, make sure the polythene vent screen blind is lifted up.
Pests thrive in warm, humid conditions, so be on your guard! Caterpillar and aphid infestations can be dealt with by hand if caught early enough. Try to attract beneficial insects by growing a wide variety of crops or planting Marigolds in containers outside the Polytunnel door. Ladybirds and their larvae are excellent aphid predators; as are lacewings and even wasps, so do let them in the Polytunnel.
Maintain + Plant More
Keep plants looking their best by repeatedly dead-heading. It’s definitely worth your time and effort as you’ll enjoy a longer display of magnificent blooms.
Remember there’s still time to plant extra crops. Again, make sure you keep new plants well watered and get rid of weeds which thrive in the summer months. Try leaving a few full cans of water in the Polytunnel to warm up, they do prefer it that way. Call it TLC.
- Train the main stem of cucumber plants up wire or string to the crop bars in your Polytunnel and pinch out side-shoots two leaves after a flower or fruit.
- Pinch out tomato side-shoots developing from the main stem and keep a particularly close eye on tomatoes for the dreaded blight.
- Hang up sticky yellow traps to catch whitefly and other unwanted flying insects or try hanging up a bag of water….apparently the way water reflects light upsets the little buzzing, annoying flies.
- Damp down the Polytunnel floor each morning on hot days to increase humidity and help keep the temperatures down.
- Pick peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and other Polytunnel crops regularly to encourage further flowers and fruit to develop
For more sowing and growing tips, why not download our FREE 12 month growing guides and top of the crops.
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Sean Barker is the MD of First Tunnels, and is enthusiastic about providing quality gardening supplies to gardeners across the UK