Note: For 2015 I’m republishing our lists of garden chores – remember, these are simply checklists to help remind you of a what can be done – you don’t need to do them all (I don’t!) – just what fits your yard & garden AND your schedules.
Even here in the Northwest the month of July usually starts a dry weather cycle and the garden chores mainly consist of watering, watering, watering. If you use a traditional vegetable gardening method (like tilling a large section of ground in the middle of grass), you will also be weeding, weeding, weeding, so that your teenaged vegetables can get all the water, sun, and nutrients they need. (Interested in not weeding as much? Check out this post on no-till gardening, this one on growing corn without weeding, this on easy care design methods, and this about keeping weeds under control in your flower beds – uh, I guess you can see I don’t want to spend all my time weeding!)
In addition to watering (and some weeding), harvesting bouquets of flowers and baskets of vegetables should happily account for a lot of the garden’s chores (that is why we do it, right?). Dealing with disease and bugs are the other thing we need to be viligant about – it seems never-ending and I have had my moments of “why am I doing this?” when I see all my work go down the drain from blight, cucumber beetles, or voles. Until I get a bite of that sun-warmed strawberry or flavorful tomato. That’s what we have to keep in the forefront of our minds!
Garden Chores By Month: July
Vegetable & Fruit Garden
- Water regularly, preferably with ground watering (using soaker hoses or drip irrigation) that keeps leaves dry to discourage disease and keep weeds down from paths. Watering deeply once every 4-7 days (more in hot weather, less in cooler) encourages deep roots and healthy plants versus light waterings daily or every other day (deep watering = 2-4 hours with a soaker hose, or until the soil is moist an inch down).
- Harvest and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
- Weed as needed and mulch with straw or grass clippings to help keep soil evenly moist.
- Plan for fall garden: Plant beets and carrots by mid-July; plant transplants of cauliflower (fall and overwintering), broccoli, kale and cabbage (fall & overwintering); plant quick maturing bush beans; continue to plant a row of lettuce the first of each month.
- Monitor for pests: climbing cutworms (pick by hand or use Bt), tomato hornworms, cabbage loopers, cucumber beetles, flea beetles, etc., etc., etc. Sigh – just try to be on top of it, because they’re always there!
- Stake and train tomatoes as they grow, monitoring for blight. If you see it (yellowing leaves, black spots on stems & leaves), prune for air circulation at the bottom and centers of plants and cut off affected leaves. Treat with organic fungicide as last resort.
- Remove raspberry canes that have fruited after the June harvest (the browning and withering canes), leaving new, green canes. For everbearing canes, trim only the part of the can that bore (typically the top), leaving the remaining cane to bear in the fall.
- Keep flower and shrub borders evenly moist (if you used the paper-and-mulch weed suppressing method, this will be a lot easier).
- Stake tall flowers as they bloom like delphinium and hollyhock.
- Deadhead (cut off old blooms) flowers as needed – preferably by cutting lots of bouquets to enjoy inside! Tip: when you cut roses, trim them off just above a leaflet with five leaves.
- Coax fall blooms from the following perennials by cutting back after initial bloom: Shasta Daisies, Scabiosa (pincushion flower), Yarrow, Ladies’ Mantle, Coreopsis, Rudbeckia (black-eyed susan), Salvia/Sage, Veronica (speedwell)
- Pinch back Asters and Chrysanthemums once in early July to keep plants more compact and delay blooming, then deadhead to encourage consistent blooming.
- Water lawns 1 inch per week (again, encourages deep root growth) – use a tuna can as a water measure to be sure how much the lawn is getting.
- Dig and replant spring blooming bulbs now, if desired for thinning or new location.
Note: These garden to-so lists are not comprehensive by any means, but meant to provide a jumping-off point to organizing your garden chores. Feel free to print the lists and add any of your own specific chores to the sections.