July 06, 2020 4 min read

July is here, and warmer temperatures have arrived . We were lucky to have relatively cool temps earlier this season, but the record heat wave of late June 2021 caused major stress to many plants . 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, use sunscreen, and do the same for your plants!

EXTREME HEAT EFFECTS:  Leaves that turned crispy or look burned are the biggest visible sign.  Don’t panic.  Plants shed what they cannot take care of and once the heat has subsided and deep watering has re-hydrated the plants, they will push out new growth again.  If the entire plant—stems and leaves—(annuals or perennials) has turned brown, you most likely need a replacement.  Perennials can be cut all the way back to 1” above the soil to see if they will recover.  Trees and shrubs that show visible effects of extreme temperatures may not have long term effects if it is a healthy plant. The affected foliage will be dropped and new replacements will appear slowly. Best to wait a few weeks from the Heat Wave for any pruning as that is a stress for plants as well.  If a conifer changes to an off-color, that is a sign it may not recover.  Conifers will drop extra needles after heat stress, but can still recover.  Fruit trees may drop fruit early.

Maintenance:

This month is all about watering. July can produce long stretches of warm to hot, dry weather in the PNW, and your garden (and lawn) will likely need some extra moisture. Make sure exposed soil is covered in 1-2” of mulch to help soil retain moisture. It’s also important to make sure you water in the mornings, rather than during peak heat. Cooler morning temps help 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 to avoid the stress of temperature extremes is important for the health of the plant. 

As flowering annual plants produce seed, remember to harvest them for next year. Seeds can be collected once the flower seed heads have fully ripened. 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.  Write on the bag to remember what they are!

Continue to watch for cutworms this month and the consequent disappearing foliage that comes with them. Sluggo Plus (with spinosad) or Captain Jack’s DeadbugBrew helps treat these pests organically. Early and late season tomato blight can be treated organically with copper or sulfur spray.

Vegetable Gardening:

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

Outside Plants and Flowers:

Observe your garden to notice if you need to add summer interest in flowers or foliage plants after the showy spring color has ended.  Come to the nursery to see what’s beautiful to add in the landscape.  Watch the Cornell Farm How To: Summer Planting Watering video!

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 growth of your fruits and veggies as well as control insect problems.

Now is the time to sow biennial and perennial flowers in pots. They should be ready to be transplanted to garden beds at the end of August.

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 with an extra dose of Organic E.B. Stone Rose & Flower to keep the blooms coming through the month. Deadheading (cutting off spent flowers) keeps many perennials blooming longer, however, leaving some flowers to go to seed helps feed the birds.  A glass of wine or your favorite cool beverage helps make this housekeeping task even more enjoyable.

Trees and Shrubs:

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 (Orchard Spray),  maggot flies (Monterey Take Down Spray) codling moth, peach borers, and root weevils (All Seasons Spray or Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew) can also be pesky this month, so watch closely and treat as needed. 

Hydrangeas are really coming into full beauty this month and should continue flowering through fall. Deadheading hydrangeas will keep your plants blooming into late fall. Harvest flower bouquets early in the morning while water is still flowing up the stems for longest lasting results.