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July garden calendar for Central Florida

Crape ginger is a reliable summer bloomer
Crape ginger is a reliable summer bloomer
Grower Jim

Surviving the heat is the key to being a successful gardener in the summer. Get your physical work done early in the morning so you can sit in the shade in the afternoon while admiring the beauty of your garden.

Celosia, coleus and torenia are colorful annuals that can be planted this month and will enhance the visual appeal of your landscape. Remove declining flower heads of all annual flowers to encourage continual development of new buds.

In the vegetable garden, July plantings include arrowroot, cassava, okra, southern peas, Malabar spinach, Okinawa spinach, longevity spinach, and sunchokes. Summer herbs that can be transplanted into the garden now include edible gingers, basil, lemon balm, bee balm, Mexican tarragon, Greek oregano, Cuban oregano, quilquina and rosemary. Click on the links for additional information.

If you don't have a summer garden planted, now is the time to use soil solarization as a means to eliminate weeds, disease and nematodes before your fall planting. Click the link for detailed instructions, but it basically involves spreading clear plastic over your garden to heat the soil high enough to kill surface weeds, seeds, and diseases. The process takes 4-6 weeks to be effective so get started now in preparation for your fall garden.

For those with established edible landscapes, mid-summer is the time to harvest banana, guava, white sapote, monstera, mango, pineapple and elderberry. These all make tasty treats on a hot summer day!

Landscape plants in bloom this month include allamanda,brugmansia, crape myrtle, hibiscus, justicia, jatropha, peltophorum, tecomaria and thevetia, as well as many different species of ornamental ginger, cestrum, iris, jasmine, passiflora, and porterweed. Add some of these to your landscape for great summer color. Click on the links for additional reading and photos.

Turn off automatic irrigation systems in established landscapes. Summer rains typically provide all the moisture required and dry periods help establish deeper and stronger root systems. Water only when plants show signs of wilting in the early morning hours.

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