Gardening In July
It took awhile, but Ohio has heated up and is in full blown summer season mode. What does that mean here? Heat and humidity, the bugs and plant diseases that like to accompany those conditions and weeds growing, like, well, weeds!
First tip for this month is to take care of yourself as the gardener:
- Drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated.
- Work earlier in the morning and in the late afternoon, not in the middle of the days hottest temperatures and most merciless sun.
- It doesn’t hurt to stretch and get the muscles ready for action before going out into the garden.
July Task Calender
One of the most important tasks for this month is to keep the weeds down. Steady, consistent efforts accomplished early in the morning or during cooler late day hours will prevent weeds from taking valuable moisture, fertility, and sunlight from your desirable plantings and from going to seed. “One year seed makes sevens years of weeds”.
Are you ready with the right tools? I like a cape cod weeder for many handweeding jobs, shuffle hoes for keeping control of the vegetable garden, and a tool called Hori-Hori Knife. A really useful tool for difficult weeds is a hand hoe or adze.
Tomita Hori Hori Knife
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There is always lots to do in the garden.Zone 5 Gardening
The German irises go dormant, and you can trim off their leaves if they look ratty, and divide for more plants.
Oriental poppies and Madonna lilies can be transplanted now. Be sure to water new plantings during drought.
Trim back or deadhead flowers that are past their prime, and in the case of Coreopsis “Cut and come Again” a good trimming means a whole new burst of flowering.
You might want to introduce yourself to the family of Coreopsis plants, they all bloom this month with sunny colors and cheerful daisy form flowers. Bright, without being gaudy, there are many forms and new hybrids in enticing colors. They are usually drought resistant plants that are fairly easy to grow.
You might want to sow some perennial flower seeds now. Keep the seedlings from drying out.
They’ve been blooming their little heads off, so it is time to deadhead, and give many of your annuals a haircut. Yes, they will look a little forlorn after they are shorn, but the reward of renewed bloom and growth (after a light dose of reviving fertilizer) makes the short period of dowdiness worth it.
Remember to regularly water your container plants. If days are hot and dry, maybe twice daily is required to keep your plants looking good.
What’s Blooming and Growing This Month
July is full blown summer with daylilies, many of the prairie natives flowering, hydrangeas overflowing with their globular heads of sumptuous bloom, and annuals showing what they can do (which is impressive, indeed). With all this wild race to flower and go to seed, gardeners are kept busy dead heading and trimming back rampant plants. This is especially important with annuals which will run out if not given a July haircut.
July Garden Chores:
The weather turns dry and we haul out the water hose, sprinklers, soaking hoses, et al. One of the jobs I most dislike, if I have to do it often. Remember two rules when it comes to watering well: do it deeply and do it early. Morning watering reduces loss to evaporation and plant diseases. Watering deeply encourages deeper rooting; surface rooting when shallowly watered reduces drought tolerance.
Warnings To Keep In Mind
July marks the end of the time to fertilize most of your permanent plantings, pinching back late blooming flowers like asters or chrysanthemums.
General July Jobs
Plant succession of vegetables such as green beans.
Attend to tomatoes with fertilizer, regular moisture, and pruning and tying up the plants.
Mow the lawns, but use a higher blade setting in anticipation of the dryer weather and heat. Allow the grass trimmings to fertilize the ground by using a mulching mower.
Juicy Watermelon by Jennifer Pugh
Fresh tomatoes, peppers, and corn are eagerly awaited, and we start getting some green beans from the garden if we planted them early enough. When harvesting the parsley, cut off the outer circle of leaves, first. Fresh herbs such as chives and parsley can be snipped and frozen for use.
This is a hot month for:
July is a great month for harvesting and canning the fruits of your garden
My 5 Best July Resource Links
What’s blooming in my garden? The blackeyed Susans, rudbeckia species, always produce golden clumps that dominate the garden at this time of year, hydrangeas are magnificent, and daylilies give reliable show in their warm, fruit compote colors.
I have tried to grow a number of the shrubs that bloom this time of year, but those that require plenty of moisture and/or acid soils just will not survive for me. Clethras, Iteas, and such are among that number. I have a Sambucus nigra that blooms in creamy contrast to its dark foliage, an almost black purple color.
In my travels to Hungary, I enjoyed a cordial they made of elder flowers. the elder flowers are blooming this month. If you don’t harvest them for fritters or cordials they will render their berries of darkest purple which make healthful concoctions or delicious preserves.
- Caryopteris xclandonensis
- Button Bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
- Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia)
- Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
Most of the lettuce and spinach plants bolt when the temperatures heat up in July. Discard the plants.
Seed cool weather plants for a fall garden towards the end of the month.Vegetable Garden Tips
Vegetable gardens always seem to rule this month in my mind. I think of the days revolving around rising early to beat the heat and weed and tend the garden rows of vegetables that are reward for all that planting work of the springtime rush. And it is the ripening tomatoes, sweet corn cobs from just picked ears that decorate my memories of this hot summer month.
If I had been a person to put up lots of canned goods the way my grandmother did, I am sure the kitchen garden would figure larger in my thoughts of this month. but as it is, my grandmother bought the produce from farm markets for her canning efforts, and I grow the plants… sometimes harvesting their fruits, and sometimes letting them languish and go to seed. That is rather wasteful of me, but just reflects the way we express our love of the same things. Likewise, my grandmother collected cookbooks, and I collect garden ones. My mother was sort of in between- she loved to garden and grew things for the table, but only for fresh cooking and eating. I don’t ever recall her canning anything. (although being the “fifties”, we ate plenty from tin cans!)
More Garden Tips
The Summer Vegetable Garden