Algoplus Garden Blog

It's heating up and the garden is winding down! Garden Tips for July

Its heating up and your vegetable garden is winding down as you begin to harvest the last of this season's crop. You know where you food came from this year and it's time to give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done!

Keeping plants well hydrated during the steamy summer months can be a challenge so it's important to make the most of every drop of water.

Read on for some watering and general tips for your vegetable garden and other plants around your home for the month of July.

Summer harvesting

Dig potatoes, onion and garlic when the tops turn brown and die. Unless you want new potatoes, then harvest when they begin blooming. Sweet corn is ripe when the silks turn brown.
Cucumber, squash and zucchini are ripe when they are big enough to eat, but watch carefully they grow quickly!
Okra matures fast so harvest the pods about four days after the flowers close. Pick the pods when they are about 4" long, before they become tough.
Harvest carrots when they are quarter size or smaller in diameter. Don't forget to use the tops in salads!
Harvest green beans when they are about as thick as a pencil.
Harvest tomatoes that are ripe on the vine. The best and richest flavor develops when fruits ripen on the vine. Cover with netting to keep critters from sampling.
Melons - For cantaloupes, Look for a yellowish color on the bottom of the fruit and a brown line around where the stem attaches to indicate the fruit is ripe. For watermelons, the best indicators are that the curly tendrils closest to the fruit turn brown and dry, the fruit goes from shiny to dull, and when the bottom of the watermelon goes from light green to yellowish.
Pick peas early to avoid starchy taste if left a few days too long. Snow peas should be harvested when you see a hint of peas forming inside. Let snap peas plump up a bit before picking and harvest shell peas before the pods have a chance to turn waxy.
Peppers will have the best flavor if you let them ripen fully. Both hot and sweet peppers ripen best at warm temperatures.

Peaches and blackberries are ripening now.

 

Irrigation

The best way to water most garden plants is by applying enough to moisten the plant's entire root system at a slow rate, and then letting the soil dry out slightly before the next watering. Using soaker hoses, drip system or flooding techniques are better than sprinklers. Avoid wetting leaves to prevent disease and insect damage.

Collect runoff from a home, garage, or shed roof by installing a rain barrel.

Planning

Make notes of the planting locations and production of your summer vegetables along with notes of what worked well and what did not work so well for fine tuning next year.

Pest Prevention

Birds provide natural pest control by simply eating the pests!
Provide a birdbath and/or birdhouse to attract birds to your garden. Be sure to use nets for berries and other garden treats to keep birds from devouring your harvest.

Fertilizing

Apply no fertilizers to trees and shrubs after July 4th. Fertilizing late may cause lush growth that is apt to winter kill. But container to fertilize plants every 2 weeks with a water soluble solution.

Pruning and Garden Cleanup

You can now prune shade trees.

Prune out and destroy old fruiting canes of raspberries after harvest is complete.

Clean up as your garden as you harvest
To reduce pests and other potential issues. Toss overgrown or rotting produce on the compost heap and remove dying plant matter, such as pea vines. Also, hot, dry weather is ideal for spider mite development. With spider mite damage, leaves may be speckled above and yellowed below and evergreen needles appear dull gray-green to yellow or brown. Damage may be present even before webs are noticed.

Mark the biggest, most vigorous strawberry plants to indicate next year's bearers.
Remove all unmarked plants and runners. If you keep the selected plants watered and fertilized, you┬┐ll have a bumper berry crop next year.

Blossom-end Rot

Blossom-end rot of tomato and peppers occurs when soil moisture is uneven. Maintain a 2-3 inch layer of mulch water when soils begin to sightly dry.

Flower Gardens

Roses - Remove infected leaves from roses and be sure to pick up fallen leaves to control disease. Continue fungicidal sprays as needed.

Perennials that have finished blooming should be deadheaded and the foliage should be cut back.

The secret to a long summer flower show is deadheading Keep deadheading spent annual flowers for continued bloom.

Don't pinch mums after mid-July or you may delay flowering.

Trees

Newly planted trees and shrubs should continue to be watered thoroughly once a week.

Lawn Maintenance

Water lawns frequently enough to prevent wilting.

Reduce lawn disease with early morning irrigation.

Monitor lawns for newly hatched white grubs. Beetles are laying eggs now, and grubs will start feeding later this month. If damage begins, apply appropriate controls, following product label directions.

Lawn tool maintenance keeps your lawn in tip top shape. Sharpen mower blades regularly to ensure you make clean cuts on grass blades.

Taller grass decreases weeds, combats disease and helps grass develop a strong root system. Use the lawn mower setting at 3" and time lawn mowing to remove no more than 1/3 of the blades at a time.

Begin your fall garden

Begin making your list of plants and checking your zone for planting times. Northern regions can begin planting by mid-month.

Fall Crop Plantings
(check your zone previous to planting to ensure good timing)


Beets
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Chinese Cabbage
Collards
Kale
Parsnips
Rutabagas
Scallions
Spinach
Swiss Chard

 

These tips are general recommendations for USDA Hardiness Zones 4-10.

Be sure to check North America's USDA plant hardiness zones map for your specific zone when planning your gardening and selecting plants.