The Greenhouse in July
With our rapidly changing weather, I’ve largely given up attempting to predict forthcoming patterns. That said, July is traditionally one of our hottest and driest summer months with a big impact on work in the greenhouse.
Watering, feeding, pest control and shading are the key components to a successful month under glass.
Watering before the plants dry out is absolutely essential. It is important not to leave water droplets on plant leaves or fruits on hot, sunny days. This will damage and mark them as the sun scorches through the tiny blobs of water.
Evening watering avoids this risk and is best for the plants as the moisture is not lost though evaporation. You can spray foliage in the evenings, once the sun is off the plants, as this will have disappeared before damage can be done. Water pathways and staging in hot weather as this will prolong a warm, moist atmosphere, much loved by most plants.
In really hot, sunny weather, it may be necessary to water again in the mornings and at mid-day but be careful not to get it on the leaves or fruit.
If you are growing plants in pots, pick them up when you have watered to gauge their weight, this way to you can easily determine when they are dry as the pot will be considerably lighter.
Do not neglect feeding your plants, particularly hungry ones like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and aubergines. Establish a regular feeding regime such as always applying it with their respective fertilisers on the same evening each week. This often requires liquid feeds being mixed into a watering can. Try to keep cans full of water in the shade in the greenhouse so that the temperature isn’t too cold to cause a shock to the plants.
Remember that you are creating this all-important warm and humid atmosphere which is also much loved by many pest species – including slugs and snails, aphids, red spider mites and in pots root munching horrors such as vine weevils. Red spider mites are a tremendous pest in the greenhouse. They simply love that moist, warm atmosphere and, as they are sap sucking creatures, can cause considerable damage. Treat pests accordingly with appropriate biological pesticides. Always read the instructions carefully before treating the plants and store the concentrated product in a cool location out of direct sunlight and out of reach of children. Do not store already mixed pesticides.
Shading can be a very important feature in July. Keep doors and windows open to allow a good circulation of fresh air.
It won’t be long before you are enjoying your delicious greenhouse fruits and vegetables.
Good greenhouse gardening,