It has finally arrived; the heat of summer. The dogs lay around on the grass in the shade, panting. You open your front door and it’s like walking into a blast furnace. Ok, ok…So we’ve really had only one day like this so far, but sheesh, does it have to be an all at once kind of thing? Can’t we just ease into it?
People, stay safe out there. Keep hydrated, wear a hat and a safe sunscreen product. Consider working in the earlier parts of the day and later in the evenings.
And now, your gardening calendar for July:
Maintenance and Clean Up
- If you’re a lawn person, deep watering less often is more efficient than frequent shallow watering. Measure your water use by placing an empty tuna or shallow cat food can where your irrigation water lands.
- Mound soil around the base of your potatoes. Harvest a few "new" potatoes from each hill, when blooms show up.
- As early in the day as possible is the best time to water your gardens for best use of your valuable water. Water the soil, not the leaves to help prevent disease. Water deeply and less frequently to encourage root growth.
- Now is the time to tend to your asparagus and rhubarb beds. Mulch with compost of rotted cow manure for fertilizing needs. Be sure to water these deeply; the developing crowns need this.
- Mulch to maintain soil moisture with paper, plastic, sawdust, or even cardboard.
- Stake tall flowering plants such as delphinium and hollyhocks. Be mindful of tomatoes needing extra support.
- Start thinking about your fall and winter crops. Beets, beans of the bush variety, carrots, Kohl crops, and peas will give you fall and winter harvests.
Pest Monitoring and Management
- Cut off cankered limbs from fruit and nut trees lessen diseases such as apple anthracnose and bacterial canker on stone fruit trees. Sterilize tools before each new cut.
- Control hollyhock rust by picking affected leaves and disposing of them. Do not compost these leaves.
- Watch for cutworm damage. The climbing variety of cutworms could be a a problem and large portions of foliage will begin to disappear on established plants. Use barriers, remove by hand, or use beneficial nematodes.
- Watch for blight on tomatoes.
- Cover your blueberry bushes with netting to keep birds away from your crop.
- Watch your rhodies for root weevils. Try sticky trap products on the trunks to trap weevils. Beneficial nematodes are really great for managing weevils. If you’ve got a bad problem with these, think about replacing the plant with a more resistant variety.
- Spider mites are often a problem on ornamental plants and veggies during hot, dry weather. Watch for dusty-looking foliage and the loss of color. Spray with soapy water.
- Watch your soft fruits and berries for Spotted Wing Drosophila. For confirmation of this pest, check with the fine folks at the extension. They have the best advice, also, for the least and most current management protocols.
- Watch for caterpillars. Pick off caterpillars as they appear. If you keep chickens, these are a nice treat for them.