Your Summer Gardening Checklist
Summer is in full swing and the garden is growing like crazy and there are a lot of things to do around the homestead. Plant support, weed control, pest control, watering, pruning and harvesting are just a few activities for the July garden. Tricia takes you through the things she is doing in her garden in our video July Gardening Checklist.
1. Give them even moisture
Temperatures have heated up and plants will need even moisture throughout the day. Make sure you mulch your veggies to conserve moisture, reduce weeds, and provide a more even moisture. There are several things you can use for mulch like straw, compost or coco mulch like our product Mega Mulch.
2. Keep up on summer pruning and weeding
Spring flowers are probably spent and if you deadhead them you may get a second flush of blooms to enjoy. Another pruning job is topping off your blackberries that are shooting up tall primocanes (first year canes). They can be pruned to the height of your trellis or support (around 5-6 feet). This will encourage the growth of lateral branches, which is where next years berries will be born. Table grapes are another plant that will benefit from summer pruning. Watch our video on that for more information. Continue to keep up on the weeds, but in dry areas it is best to no use the weed flamer as a control method.
3. Let the fruit harvest begin
In many areas around the country fruit like peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots are ripening and tree branches are heavy with delicious fruit. You should provide some support to branches by using our Save a Branch Tree Support. Berries are beginning to ripen and are great fresh but if you are overloaded, don't let it go to waste, preserve it by making jam or freezing some. Reminder to not fertilize your trees and shrubs after mid-July (can use a fertilizer without nitrogen), this is so the new growth will have time to harden off before winter, which will avoid winter damage.
4. Care for those tomatoes
Care for your tomatoes by continuing to remove dead or damaged leaves, keep them tied up to a trellis or stake, and be on the lookout for tomato hornworms. We have a great video on tomato care during the summer called Tomato Pruning and Tomato Diseases. If you want to stop your indeterminate tomatoes from getting taller, cut off the growing tip. If you see sun scald on your tomatoes or peppers, put up some shade cloth. A 30% shade cloth should be enough to prevent future damage. Can’t keep up with your fresh tomatoes, preserve them by canning or freezing.
5. Enrich your soil with a summer cover crop
If you have any empty beds or ground in the garden that is not used, consider planting a summer cover crop to enrich the soil, help choke out weeds and once it is tilled into the soil, it will add lots of organic matter. The Peaceful Valley Summer Soil Builder Mix is great for fixing nitrogen, attracting pollinators, adding organic matter and it is done in about 6 weeks.
6. Plant in July for a fall/winter harvest
July is a good time to direct sow your broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, beets, carrots or peas for a fall/winter harvest. Check out our video on How to Grow Broccoli for great information.
7. Keep harvesting for continued production
Continue harvesting beans (fresh), summer squash, cucumbers which will encourage more growth and fruiting. If you don't do this the plant will stop producing new flowers and put its energy into ripening the fruit (for seed production). If the fresh harvest is starting to overwhelm the refrigerator, you can preserve by canning or freezing. Green beans can either be frozen or canned, and you can watch our video on Canning Green Beans for more information. Cucumbers can be preserved by pickling. Check out our video on How to Make Pickles. You can even grow cool season veggies like lettuce with some extra work. If you are planning a vacation in July, install some timers to keep your garden well watered when you are gone. You might also consider letting a friend come in and harvest while away to keep it producing.
Enjoy the homegrown fresh produce and grow organic for life!