July garden checklist
Keep an eye on houseplants that have been set outdoors to make sure they are watered properly. Hot summer breezes can quickly dry them out.
- Propagate houseplants by taking cuttings from vigorously growing plants. Root in moistened growing medium, such as perlite, vermiculite or soilless mixes. Keep moist, enclosed in plastic and out of direct sunlight until rooted. The amount of time it takes to root varies according to plant and growing conditions.
- Supplement rainfall to newly planted nursery stock, gardens and lawns if needed to supply 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water each week or 10 days.
- Container-grown plants can be planted anytime, but make sure new stock is well watered.
- Keep grass at 3 ½ to 4 inches tall to conserve moisture.
- Don’t remove clippings from the lawn unless grass is excessively tall. Clippings return nutrients to the soil and do not contribute to thatch buildup.
- Apply mulch around young plants and in flower and vegetable gardens to conserve soil moisture and control weeds. Do not allow mulch to touch stems or trunks.
- Remove water sprouts (from trunk) and suckers (sprouts from roots) on fruit trees, including crabapples and other ornamental trees. See illustration below.
Pinch off faded rose blossoms and other flowers. Deadheading, or picking off the faded flowers of many perennials and annuals keeps them blooming longer and tidies up the plants.
- To rejuvenate summer-stressed plants, cut annuals and perennials back by about one-half, water well and apply an application of water soluble fertilizer.
Vegetables and fruits
- Start seeds of broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and ornamental kale and cabbage for late summer plantings and fall harvest.
- Harvest tomatoes, squash, okra, peppers, beans and cucumbers frequently to encourage further production.
- Complete succession planting of bush beans and sweet corn.
- Standard sweet corn is at its peak for only a day or so. The super sweet corn maintains its peak quality longer. Harvest when silks begin to dry and kernels exude a milky, rather than watery or doughy juice when punctured.
Make sure potato tubers, carrot shoulders and onion bulbs are covered with soil to prevent development of green color and off flavors. Apply mulch to keep them covered.
- Allow blossoms on newly planted strawberries to develop for a fall crop.
- Prop up fruit tree branches that are loaded heavily with fruit.
- Harvest raspberries when fully colored and easily separated from stem. After harvest, prune out fruiting canes.