20 Garden Tasks to Accomplish in July
“Summer is the time when one sheds one’s tensions with one’s clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all’s right with the world.”
– Ada Louise Huxtable
July is here! Such an unusual summer for much of the US; extra rain in the southern states, early wild fires in the west, and unusually high temps in so many states, beating records for late spring/early summer. What’s a gardener to do? Well, stick with the basics, but adjust depending on what Mother Nature seems to be handing you!
Here’s a list of 20 garden tasks to accomplish in July:
1. There’s still time to add some white and red annuals to your flower beds and containers, and get festive for the 4th of July! Visit our Pinterest board “Red, White & Blue Garden Inspiration” for ideas! Get busy and add some color to your yard for the upcoming weekend!
2. Add some grasses to your yard. The tall stalks will catch summer evening breezes and add a touch of motion to your garden when it’s hot. Plus in the fall, the seed stalks will look lovely, and help provide seed for the birds. Find them at your local nurseries (maybe on sale now!) or through a reputable online vendor such as Nature Hills Nursery, currently featuring 56 kinds of grasses on their site!
3. Keep watering your container plants, and adding liquid or pellet fertilizer to the containers. It will help keep the blooms coming and foliage healthy through the hot summer months coming. Dead head flowers of perennials and annuals to encourage new growth and bloom.
4. Daylilies will need deadheading every day or so. Simply snap off the spent flower, and you’ll get more buds appearing. Let the flower stalks dry before cutting them back.
5. Watch your email or search the Internet for bulb companies that are offering deals on pre-ordering fall planted bulbs. Amaryllis, paperwhites, crocus, tulips and daffodils can all be ordered now for convenient fall deliveries. Our friends at Dutch Grown have a special section on their site, dedicated to Fall-Planted Bulbs – with 198 varieties of tulips, alone – take a look here!
6. You may still have roses providing you with their sweet scent and blooms. Roses need to be fertilized every 3-4 weeks. Prune after blooming so you’ll get new buds appearing throughout the season. If you have room for a larger rose bush, try planting a rugosa rose now. Nurseries have some past this year’s blooms on sale. If you plant in the summer heat, be sure and water regularly!
7. If you have bearded irises in your yard, and they’ve decreased in blooms this spring, might be time to dig up and divide. This can be done through early fall.
8. Water deeply and thoroughly, but not necessarily every day. Deep watering encourages roots to grow deeper. Personally, although it takes a bit more time, I water each plant, rather than a sprinkler over a large area. I find this helps reduce small weeds popping up where I don’t water unnecessarily.
9. Water newly planted trees deeply every few days. Don’t just sprinkle with a hose, they need a good bucket of water soaked in to reach deep roots.
10. Speaking of watering, we mentioned this in June’s tasks, but it bears repeating: With the ongoing concerns about water conservation, get in the habit of saving fairly clean water from miscellaneous kitchen duties (greywater), and use it to water your container plants.
11. If you have succulents in your garden, water them infrequently, and make sure any potted ones are well draining. You want them just slightly ‘stressed’ to help encourage the gorgeous colors they get when stressed. But this doesn’t mean entirely dry. For some great tips, read up on Succulents Simplified by Debra Lee Baldwin.
12. Keep harvesting herbs. Don’t let them flower. If you see this happening, simply cut them back and encourage more growth. If you find you’ve got more herbs than you can use right away, trim them into small pieces, and freeze them in some olive oil in ice cube trays for use later in the fall and winter. It’s great to have these ready to add to sauces at a moment’s notice! (Take 1 minute, 8 seconds to watch the excellent video below from Katie Q. (qkatie) showing step-by-step instructions for the famous herbs-in-olive-oil-in-ice-cube-trays technique!)
13. Fertilize and deeply water tomatoes regularly. If you didn’t provide supports when you first started them, do so now before the growth really gets out of hand.
14. If your strawberries are done with this year’s harvest, fertilize now. Longer ever bearing types can use an extra dose mid-season to encourage more output.
16. Harvest potatoes that leaves have faded on, as well as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale, lettuces, radishes, cucumber, peas, Bok choi, etc. You should have a lot of spring planted edibles ready to enjoy now. Get creative, make mixed green salads, or add to the ingredients of BBQ skewers.
17. For lawns, if you want them to stay green, water a few times a week, deeply. Raise the height of the mower, to retain moisture in the lawn. Otherwise, let your lawn go dormant now. It will revive itself in the fall with cooler temps and more rain. That’ll be the time to also thatch and fertilize.
18. Turn your compost pile. Add water if it gets dry to encourage ongoing decomposition. Add yard trimmings and grass cuttings, but no weeds! The seeds from the weeds will just pop up next season when you apply the finished compost to your beds.
19. Keep your bird feeders filled, along with plenty of water in your bird bath. Your bird visitors will help you out by eating those pesky slugs and other insects.
20. As we suggested in June’s tasks, remember to take the time to enjoy your garden and the work you put into it. This is the time of year we yearn for during dark winter months. Make the most of it! Relax in the evening shade and soak in the beauty of your garden. Get out and water early in the cooler mornings with a cup of coffee in your hand. Share some edible bounty with neighbors, and revel in the fact that YOU are a gardener!
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