July Gardening Guide

July is when the hard work put in over the previous months literally bears fruit (and vegetables). It is with both these in mind that we turn our attention to the tomato. Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? The tomato is not alone in its mystery-aubergines, bell peppers, cucumbers, courgettes and pumpkin are just as enigmatic. Scientists regard them as fruits and cooks treat them as vegetables. However you define them, there are plenty of all of these in the garden this month. Make sure to stake your tomato plants as they will need support. Water the ground around the roots, not the plant. Tomato leaves hate getting wet. Feed all crops with an all-purpose fertiliser. Pick your cucumbers and marrows as soon as they start appearing as this will encourage more to come. Pick, dry and freeze herbs for later in the year. Keep pulling your rhubarb as by next month it will be just a memory. Plant second cropping potatoes now in anticipation of new potatoes at Christmas.

A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.
Laurie Colwin

The glowing Ruby should adorn
Those who in warm July are born,
Then will they be exempt and free
From love’s doubt and anxiety.

It will not always be summer: build barns.