Please note: What I write in this space are lessons learned through trial and error, research, and from other gardeners and professionals. I garden in zone 9, but share garden experiences that I believe are relevant to most zones within a reasonable time frame and planting conditions.
Maintenance: Check your drip lines, overhead sprinklers, and timers to ensure proper operation during hot spells. Adjust water release to meet your plants’ thirsty needs.
For good air circulation and to prevent surface stains under potted plants, keep pots elevated. Two 2×2’s trimmed to fit the length across the bottom of the pot is all you need.
Replenish birdbath water daily to keep your birds happy and eliminate mosquito breeding.
Shade your greenhouse if needed, and keep well ventilated.
Check trellises, arbors, stacks, and ties. Secure as needed.
Around the garden: Water deep so plant, tree, and lawn roots will grow deeper where moisture is less likely to evaporate quickly. (Shallow watering evaporates rapidly from the top inch of soil.) Deep roots anchor the plant better. If watering with overhead sprinklers, water in the morning so the wet foliage doesn’t burn. Morning watering also helps to eliminate chances of fungus and disease.
If you live where the weather has turned hot and dry, don’t fertilize your plants. Doing so will cause them to produce new growth and in turn create additional stress during drought periods.
In the vegetable garden: July is the month to start enjoying your harvest. Be ready to preserve or share the overflow. Check old canning jars for chips. Replenish needed supplies. Dig out your favorite preserving recipes, and then make out a shopping list. Prior to preserving, organize your canning items so that everything is in one area. Use an overhead kitchen cupboard. If you don’t have the room, use large storage tubs that can be stored in the garage or a laundry room. Essential items should include:
- Water-bath canner and manual
- Pressure canner and manual
- Preserving recipes and preserving books
- Freezer bags, paper, and labels
- Mason jars, lids and bands; jar labels and gift tags
- Lid lifter; jar lifter; jar wrench; kitchen tongs; canning funnel; and ladle
Keep handpicking tomato hornworms. Control earwigs, snails, and slugs.
Where veggies have finished, plant a cover crop or fall vegetables. Some fall vegetables to direct sow are salad crops, basil, radish, bush beans, and turnips. For a late corn crop, plant early July. Harvest onions when the leaves turn yellow and flop over. Cut back blackberry canes that have finished fruiting. Tie new canes to a support system.
In the landscape: Spray or hand-pull weeds. Ants and aphids go hand-in-hand, especially during warm months. As explained last month, controlling ants will help eliminate aphids. If you must treat your plants with pesticides do it in the evening after the bees have left the scene.
Potted plants usually need water once, if not twice, daily. Water until it runs out of the drainage holes.
Divide bearded iris. Separate the new sections and cut off old tubers that aren’t producing. Trim leaves then replant, placing leaf in the direction you want them to grow. Discard all diseased parts.
Prune summer-blooming shrubs as soon as they finish flowering. Deadhead annuals. Spent annuals should be cut back half of their height, and fertilized for a second bloom period. Pinch mums back one more time. For large flowers remove side buds as they appear. Apply this method to Dahlias.
Feed rhododendrons, camellias, and azaleas after they finished flowering. Deadhead, and use a rhododendron fertilizer.
For next year’s bloom, direct sow seeds of Hollyhocks, English daisies, Foxgloves, Violas, Canterbury bells, and Sweet William.
Copyright © 2010 Dianne Marie Andre