July Maintenance Guide
July is a month for maintenance- and summer pleasure
The mantra of this month is weed, weed, weed. Everything that has put down roots is growing in the sun, warm earth, and (hopefully) moisture of summer downpours. The heat means that garden maintenance can be uncomfortable and experienced Midwest gardeners try to put in time early in the morning or later in the evening. Use good sharp tools.
Remember to take care of the gardener ( that is you!), make sure to keep well hydrated in the heat, plenty of water for you and your plants. Water them in the morning or evening and yourself all through the day. Do you have garden seats? Now is a good time to plan that, take advantage of summer sales, and take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labors. A well placed garden seat is a great boon.
Garden tip: Water all planted areas deeply but infrequently
*One of the fruits that will give you pleasure in July is sweet corn! If you grow your own remember that they need fertilizer. Hoe them up in a hilled manner, and sow some beans around their feet if you haven’t already. If you buy corn look for well filled ears and kernels that are milky. Try to cook them the day they are harvested for the best of taste treats. Growing sweet corn: A complete guide from Purdue in Indiana where they know their sweet corn! (PDF file)
*Watch for tomato hornworms; hand-pick these large caterpillars off. They are big guys- you can’t miss them.
*Plant cucumbers all month long. They need compost, mulch and moist soil, and love the heat. While the older vines are running out of steam, the younger ones take over production. Cucumbers are high in potassium and make a great snack.-Carol Moss
*Keep adding to your compost pile, lawn clippings, deadheaded flowers, shrub trimmings. Turn it occasionally, add water during dry spells. Don’t add diseased leaves or plant material.
Garden tip: Remember to water your containers, probably daily. Keep them fertilized for best results. Try those that connect directly to the hose to combine two jobs into one, and I have liked using those “Jobe” sticks that are used for houseplants. Formulations for blooming plants yield the most flowers.
Garden tip: Even when dry and hot, if you water too much or during the day you can have problems with disease and mold. Try to keep the water off the leaves (soaker hoses are good) and give the ground good soaking less often instead of sprinkling more often. It bears repeating.
*This is the time to divide and move German iris. They are dormant now, but remember once replanted to keep them watered properly. Leaves can be cut back to 8″ tall.
*If you didn’t do this last month, think about giving perennials, such as moss phlox, a bit of a haircut early this month, it helps them look more tidy and gives them a bit of rejuvenation.
*Keep annual flowers deadheaded, give some of them “haircuts”, too, mid- to late month. Perks them right up.
*Many trees and shrubs can be propagated from cuttings in July and August.
Watch this video for some practical “how-to” on softwood cutting for more plants.