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July is here, and the warm temperatures have arrived right along with it. We have been lucky to have relatively cool temps so far this season, but warmer temperatures are bound to be just around the corner. The sun and warmth is a double edged sword that works to ripen fruits and veggies, but also dries the soil much quicker than it did last month. As you work in your garden this month, remember to get plenty of water and use sunscreen, and do the same for your plants!
This month is all about the watering. July can produce long stretches of warm, dry weather in the PNW, and your garden (and lawn) will likely need some extra moisture. Make sure exposed soil is covered in mulch or use shade cloth to help soil retain moisture. It’s also important to make sure you water in the mornings, rather than the afternoon. The cooler morning temps will help to avoid excessive evaporation, and make the most of your watering efforts. You should also make sure areas are irrigated properly. As in, watering deeply takes precedence over frequency. Making sure water reaches deeper root systems is important for the health of the plant.
As annual plants produce, remember to harvest seeds for next year. Seeds can be collected just before the plant spreads or drops them. Once the seed heads and pods are collected, store them in a paper bag while they dry completely. Be sure they aren’t exposed to sunlight or heat. Once these items have dried, you can save them in a cool, dark, dry place to be planted for next year's harvest.
Continue to watch for cutworms this month and the consequent disappearing foliage that comes with them. Beneficial nematodes can help treat these pests organically. Early and late season tomato blight can be treated with a solution of baking soda and water.
Veggies and fruits will be producing harvest all month. Wait to pick items until they hit the peak of ripening. Waiting too long or not long enough can cause the plant to delay ripening and yields.
There are many veggies and fruits to sow this month for your Fall and Winter harvests. Veggies like collards, kale, corn, radishes and brussel sprouts need to be in the ground before the weather gets too hot in mid-July and August. Your winter crops, like endives, prefer the hot temps of late July and August to be sewn.
As veggies and fruits produce, remember to harvest seeds for next year's harvest. The process is similar to saving for annual plants, as you need to dry seeds before storing them. Most fruits and veggie seeds should be harvested when the fruit is fully ripe.
For more information on what’s happening in our edible garden, take a look at our edible gardening blog: https://cornellfarms.com/blogs/edible-gardening
Now is the time to sow biennial and perennial flowers in the nursery bed. They should be ready to be transplanted to garden beds at the end of August.
As you continue to cultivate and plan your garden, be sure to plant a diverse selection of flowers, veggies, herbs, and fruits. Mix them together, and don’t be afraid to plant flowers next to veggies. Pollinators that are attracted to the flowers in your garden bed will do wonders for the grown of your fruits and veggies!
Keep your vines trimmed through the month, as they will likely be putting on lots of foliage this month, and can get out of control quickly!
Daisies and Lilies are both blooming this month, among other things. Keep your flowers regularly watered and fertilized to keep the blooms coming through the month.
Watch your trees (especially fruit trees) for pests. It’s best to watch for early signs and not let disease, fungus, and pests get a start. Filbertworm, maggot flies, codling moth, peach borers, and root weevils may also be pesky this month, so watch closely and treat as needed.
Hydrangeas are considered a shrub, and are really coming into full beauty this month and should continue flowering through fall. Deadheading hydrangeas will keep your plants blooming into late fall.