Wednesday, July 1, 2009

To Do List for July

From In the Garden

The garden is in its fullness now. Supertunias (pictured above) and other flowers are blooming their hearts out, the weeds and cool season lawn grasses are slowing down, and it is really almost too hot to work in the garden, but I hope you enjoy this month in the garden nonetheless.

In the garden in July I can expect to:

1) Water, water, water. Need I say more? Yes, I will. If you water your lawn (I do NOT) and you do not have a water deficit (less than 1 inch per week for two weeks), plan on watering so that the lawn receives 1" of water per week. You can tell when you have watered for one inch by leaving out a few empty and clean tuna cans and checking them periodically. Do this only once per week. If you have a deficit, you may need to water longer. Dig down about 3-4" to check and make sure the ground is moist.

For newly planted perennials, shrubs and trees, water until they are thoroughly soaked to a depth of 3-4", or even deeper. I usually hand water most of my plantings. Established plantings should not need to be watered unless they are showing signs of drought stress. Another good way to water is to use soaker hoses. Some signs your plants are stressed might be wilted leaves in the morning. Wilted leaves when the sun is out is to be expected, don't worry about it unless they are still wilted the next morning. Try to plant water needy plants close to your watering station, and more drought tolerant plants further away in order to save you work later on. No one wants to drag hoses all over the yard.

Vegetables need regular watering each week. I water mine deeply once a week or sometimes more often depending on the weather and how they are doing. With a mulch, generally vegetables would be happy with one inch to one and one half inches of rain per week. A simple sprinkler will work to get the whole garden at once, but soaker hoses are better because they put the water right at the roots. Watering at night may provide a good environment for fungal diseases to grow so try to water the first thing in the morning. That being said, I've been known to water at night in the vegetable garden.

Container plantings need water frequently. Like almost every day. Seedlings are in the same boat. Water frequently.

If we get rain, be sure to have a rain gauge that is not blocked by overhanging trees or shelter so that you can keep track of how much water your plantings have received.

2) Deadhead (Shastas, bee balm, catmint, salvias, daylillies, hostas, NOT coneflowers or hydrangeas.

3) Pick berries: Blueberries, Gooseberries and blackberries. After you have picked all of your blackberries, cut those canes down to make room for this years canes to grow and replace the old canes.The new blackberry canes will bear fruit next year.

4) Mulch to replace lost mulch or to refresh new mulch. I've been using old hay and some leaves in the vegetable garden. Be sure to put a good layer of newspapers under the mulch and don't cover your stems. Mulching is one of those jobs that is a year round responsibility. At least it seems that way in my garden.

5) Weedeat and trim as necessary.

6) Grass cutting has slowed to about once every four or five days depending on rain. I do NOT water my lawn in the summer. My fescue goes dormant and will recover in the fall. I concentrate my efforts on the newly planted perennials, trees and shrubs, there are always some here that need to be watered and it is not worth it to me to water the lawn. Fortunately this year has seen some fairly good rains and the fescue is hanging tough so far.

7) Stop pinching mums. Apply a bit of fertilizer to them and roses prior to the middle of July.

8) Now is a good time to install a patio watering system for container plants.

9) Harvest vegetables regularly. Prepare to can and freeze your harvest as it will come in fast and heavy.

10) Make sure you remember your feathered friends by making sure you rinse and fill your bird baths regularly.

11) Trim suckers from crabapple trees and crepe myrtles. I like to do this on a regular basis in order to prevent a marathon tree trimming session.

12) Spot treat those pesky weeds like poison ivy, honeysuckle, burdock, thistle, and the like. Roundup works good for this job. Sometimes hand pulling just doesn't get the job done.

13) Finish planting your vegetable garden. It is not too late for some vegetables like corn, zucchini, cucumbers, and beans. I only recently finished planting mine now that the winter crops have all been pulled. Most warm season crops need 8-12 weeks of growing season in order to produce. Here in Tennessee our average date first frost is not until 15 October, so we have a good 8-12 weeks left of the growing season for sure.

14) Deadhead annuals and apply fertilizer about every 2-3 weeks. In my garden I use the Osmocote slow release fertilizer for all annuals at the time of planting. This normally does not need supplementing, but a diluted dose of liquid fertilizer will not hurt the plants.

15) You can take cuttings of many plants right now. Some I have already done are: sedum, helenium, veronica, salvias, and turtlehead. I've planted most of these out already. Another plant you want to take cuttings from right now is Pineapple sage. I had great luck wintering several cutting plants in my garage. This spring all I had to do was plant them out and they are growing like weeds. This is a good plant to grow because of its drought tolerance and late season red beauty, but is not often found in the stores so cuttings are a good way to be a step ahead in the gardening game. Another bonus of cuttings is the fact the plants stay a bit more bushy and compact. I used to take cuttings of mums and helianthus, but I have found these multiply pretty well on their own so unless you need more of these fast, don't bother.

16) Treat for insects in the garden. Some pests you may run in to are: spider mites and aphids (a good spray of water helps dislodge them and sends them on their way), Japanese beetles (handpick or spray with an approved insecticide), Sawflies (insecticidal spray), potato beetles (handpick or Sevin), Squash vine borers (Sevin, but first cut the stem and remove the borers then tape it back and treat), and flea beetles (Sevin). Good luck as bugs are very bad this year.

17) I don't grow many roses, but the ones that I do I will fertilize one last time (this week or NLT 15 July), and cut them back pretty hard.

18) Probably the biggest chore I'll be doing in my garden this month is rearranging and watering. Sometimes you have to rearrange when plants are in bloom, hence the watering as summer is not the time to move plants around. Hang in there, fall will be here before we know it. Hopefully the rains will continue for the rest of the summer and we'll have the best summer ever....

in the garden....


  1. Whew...this is going to be a busy month! Especially all the watering that has to happen when we don't get enough rain!


  2. Glad you reminded me about my roses, gotts do that quick, 2 months before cold season so they'll stop growing. Arrrgh, July 1st!

  3. Good watering info, thanks for the reminders. The botanical name for the ditch lily is hemerocallis fulva, so it really has a name, not a lilting one though is it?

  4. Ughh! Don't even remind me of all of the things I have to do in July. Throw in the kids, shed building, and basement finishing for me. I don't think I'll ever get it all done. I'll have to enlist help from the troops.

  5. Sorry two posts!

    Good morning Gail and Dawn,

    Frances, Thanks so much for the latin name. I am going to add it in right now. That fulva kind of remains me of another name for a certain female part-not glamorous at all.

    Cinj, Enjoy July, it will pass too soon.

  6. I have NEVER watered like this year. Rain has been nil here for 2 months. Usually only containers really need watering and then only a couple times a week. This year I have had to do the containers every single day. We did not even have a mud season this year in the spring. We did finally get some rain on Sunday. A whole half inch!!! Better than nothing.

  7. Did you say water? Ha, that has been in my daily chores for the past two months now! We NEED rain in Georgia! There is talk of water restrictions for one day per week instead of the current 3... I will loose so much new stuff in the Clay and or Sandy areas!

    Great tips on to do list...

  8. Mom, We got nothing in the 'good chance' of rain forecast this weekend. I don't mind watering and kind of like it actually, but it is not the same. I just don't want another year like last year, but it is not to that point yet. Sorry you guys are so dry but 1/2 is better than nothing for sure!

    Skeeter, Water away. Why can't we get some rains like they got up north? Or some of the water?

  9. Lots of things to do... wow! All of our boysenberries were eaten by the birds, so I cut everything down and now there is no more bush. I hope they will come back next year.

  10. DP, I don't grow boysenberries but I bet they will come back.

  11. Pretty busy to do list for July, and number 1 on my list is also water, water, water.
    Tina, why are we not suppose to deadhead coneflowers? I always leave them for the birds in late summer/fall--but I thought you had to deadhead to keep them blooming this time of year.
    Off to work--have a great day! :)

  12. Good Morning All.
    Great list Tina. I don't need to water just yet as we got downpours the last couple days. Thank goodness as it was getting too dry. We just didn't need that much that quick.
    My mums have been blooming for some time, do I need to remove all the blooms & will I still have blooms for the fall?

    Have a nice day all.

  13. Good morning all.

    Linda, coneflowers will not rebloom, even if deadheaded. That is one of those perennials that after the initial bloom has completed, it is done. Bee balm and daylilies are others, you deadhead these to make them look better. I do leave my coneflowers up all winter. The finches just love them. Have a great day at work!

    Lola, if my mums bloom early, they usually do rebloom. Make sure to give them a good dose of fertilizer, especially since you've gotten some good rain. Lucky you!

  14. Tina ... good heavens girl ! Take a moment to breath with all that you have on your list to do !
    Thank you for reminding me about the fertilizer point ... I have been stretched a little too far and have forgotten AGAIN ! jeez !
    Hope you get all the chores done in time for a rest ? LOL

  15. I love your opening shot. Good luck with getting through your July list. We don’t need more water in Maine.

  16. Always a lot to do! If only we would get some of that Maine rain Sarah mentioned!

  17. I am back to watering myself since we are not receiving any rain! ARg, they are getting pop up showers around us but not on our yard. I watered real well on Monday but will need to once again before we head off on our next trek to VA this weekend. At least the humidity is not so bad right now.

    We are so ready for our next relocation move. This place is just too hot for us. Heck, we are even thinking of condo living! Too much sweat equity in this yard. lol

  18. Hi Tina, we're getting light rain regularly now so no more dragging the hose on a daily basis! Love reading all things mentioned in your post. I haven't really kept my water-needy plants near the water station. Must do it. Thanks for mentioning it.

  19. Yah, no more rain in Maine, everything growing up here needs sun, including us human beings!

  20. Sure wish we Yankees could send you a bunch of rain!!!!

  21. I don't water our grass either, and I like that ours stopped growing for now. It barely needs to be cut once summer gets going.
    I'm still rearranging too, and I just keep watering those plants extra.

  22. Joy, I can never get ahead lately. Urgh! Rest? Probably not until next month after school is finished.

    Sarah, I wish you could send it down here.

    Dave, No doubt we need it.

    Skeeter, Ah but you love the year-so much fun. Uh uh. I'm with you sometimes. Then it cools off, the rains come again and we have winter to rest:)

    Kanak, Great for rain in India! I know it is most helpful during this hot season. I wish it would rain here.

    Dawn, Got my fingers crossed for some sun for you.

    Mom, We'd take it!!

    Catherine, Glad to hear I'm not the only who doesn't water lawns. I focus on plants for sure.

  23. Good advice Tina. It is a busy time of the year. This morning I spent 2 hours just dead-leafing and dead-heading. But, boy does the garden look the better for it. H.

  24. These are great tips! I'm in the process of the mid summer garden renovation, pulling out peas and potatoes and planting a succession of zucchini and corn. Now I just need to get my butt moving and finish the projects! Time's a wastin'!

  25. P.S. Those Yellow Supertunias are the prettiest petunias I've ever seen!

  26. plenty of rain here, so little watering at all outside... main exception the three azaleas I planted and wanted to make sure they got established well.

    If I did everything you do, I would have a great garden but lose out on plenty of naps.

  27. Thanks for all the reminders. I bought a sprinkler thinking I'd need it for the veggie garden but we've had so much rain that I haven't used it yet. So much to do, so little time (at least before it gets too hot!)

  28. Whew, that is most comprehensive Tina. I know I'll be doing the first one quite a bit since July is coming in HOT. We do have to water our lawns here and fortunately because of an abundance of moisture we're not on restrictions this year. I'm a little sad it's July already. This time of year seems to fly by entirely too fast.

  29. Gardening during drought is an exercise in triage and patience. I like your advice about mums. I give mine one more pinch on the fourth of July, then sit back and wait to see if the bugs will overrun them before they bloom.

  30. For once, I feel pretty good reading your to-do list, Tina:) I watered all the containers and newer plants yesterday; today I've been trimming and pulling weeds. Watering is definitely the order of the day around here--we haven't had a decent rain in over a week.

  31. Helen, I know it does! Love your garden!-deadheaded or not!

    Lzyjo, I just did the same thing. Finally done planting. I know you can't wait to be done too! Don't waste any more time now:)

    Wayne, Sad to say, sometimes the afternoon nap gets pushed aside:( Might need to rethink that bad deal.

    Jen, Lucky you! I'd love to have some rain. Did you know next year's spring fling is in Buffalo? Is that close to you? It'd be great to meet you.

    Kathleen, I agree, time is flying by too fast. Is it really July? Doesn't even seem like it.

    WS, that is the cutoff for her too on the mums. I hope the bugs spare them for you.

    Rose, I totally sympathize. I am tired of watering and vowed not to water this year-just let the plants that have been in place for more than one year suffer. But I just can't. Here's to rain for all of us who need it-and soon.

  32. Rose, forgot to say, if I do make it to Buffalo, I'll for sure bring you a marker stone. Not sure on all the others though, I'm sure they'd understand:)

  33. What a great post, Tina! We live in different zones, but there is a lot of things that I can use in my garden. Thank you! BTW, I also water at night, sometimes. I just feel so sorry for the plants at the end of the hot day!