Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July Gardening to do

JULY garden TO DO
Summer comes and I get caught up in weeding and harvesting and I sometimes forget that there are a few other items I should be taking care of as well, so I found this garden to do that I wanted to share with you.  I have items from the zones above and below mine because depending on the weather these things may apply for a Zone 5 gardener like myself.
Zone 4
  • Add one last planting of gladioli bulbs for flowers into fall
  • Harvest veggies as soon as they're ripe to encourage further production
  • Avoid the sight of a weed-infested garden: weed first before you leave on vacation
  • Harvest sweet corn when silks are brown and punctured kernels produce a milky juice
  • Prevent blossom-end rot on tomatoes by providing plants with at least an inch of water each week
  • Let melons ripen on the vine--this is where they will develop their best flavor
  • Start fall garden transplants from seed
  • Pinch off the blooms on herbs to encourage more production of flavorful leaves
  • Petunias, coleus and other summer annuals might be leggy by now. Pinch them back just above a leaf to encourage bushy growth and more flowers
  • Leave faded flowers on those plants that form ornamental seed heads, pods, or berries
  • Provide water in a shallow pan or birdbath for your feathered and fluttering friends
Zone 5 (northern Illinois)
  • Remove annuals with stunted or unusual color; these are usually virus infected and the disease can spread to neighboring healthy plants
  • To control disease on fruit trees, maintain a summer spray schedule
  • Clean hummingbird feeders filled with nectar solution regularly to ward off mold and bacteria
  • Consider drip irrigation and/or soaker hoses for watering in the flowerbed and vegetable garden
  • Bats help control mosquitoes; attract these friendly mammals with bat houses
  • Muskmelons and cantaloupes are ready for picking when the stem "slips" easily from the fruit with gentle pressure
  • Harvest your flowers for pressing and drying just as they reach perfect bloom so you get the best from them for later use.
  • Cilantro will bolt in July heat so be prepared to harvest quickly if you see one plant turn to fern-like leaves as they will all quickly follow.  Sow a new crop for harvest in August.
  • Pinch off the blooms on herbs to encourage more production of flavorful leaves
  • Pinch your basil just above a node where two leaves (either side) are forming, this will make the plant more bushy and give you more leaves for a later harvest.
  • Harvest veggies as soon as they're ripe to encourage additional production
  • Sharp mower blades prevent leaf blade damage and lawn stress
  • Prevent diseases on susceptible rose varieties: apply fungicide every 7-10 days
  • Remove rose pedals from spent blooms, but be careful not to snip off the hips which will ripen in the remainder of summer.
  • Watch for pests hiding on the underside of leaves, white fly, aphids and similar bugs are very active in the warmer months.
  • Lanky annuals need your help! Pinch them back now to encourage bushy growth and more flowers
Zone 6
  • Deadhead blooming annuals and perennials for repeat flowering
  • Harvest veggies immediately when ripe; rotting produce attracts insects
  • Avoid weed-infested gardens: weed before you leave on vacation
  • Water hanging baskets and patio pots daily during warm weather
  • Fertilize annual flowerbeds with an all-purpose fertilizer to encourage more blooms
  • Harvest lavender stems for use in bath sachets or drying
  • Sharp shears make quick work of herb and flower harvests
  • Mow cool season grasses at 3 inches during the summer to shade and insulate the soil
  • Enjoy a glass of tea flavored with mint, pineapple sage, or lemon balm from the garden
  • Provide birds and butterflies with a shallow water source

Not sure of your zone?  I found this awesome list from the Arbor Day Foundation, where you can put in your zip code and it will tell you the zone you live in and it is updated with the new climate info: http://www.arborday.org/treeinfo/zonelookup.cfm

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