What to Do in the Garden In July

What to Do in the Garden In July
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What to Do in the Garden In July

Your Garden is Delivering Veggies and Blooms This Month.

It’s the middle of summer this month, no matter where you’re located. In warmer growing zones, you’re likely feeling the heat this month. Your garden is in full growing mode, and you’ll need to stay on top of your growing plants and gardening tasks. Let’s dive in to what you should be doing in your garden in July.

Keeping Your Plants Cool

The summer sun can be intense this month, so even some of your most heat-tolerant plants may need some help keeping cool. Many vegetable plants grow well in the warm summer sun, but once temperatures get above the mid-90’s, they may start dropping blooms or fruit. To combat this, you can move those plants to a shady spot if they’re in containers. The sun gets more intense in the afternoon, so plan for some afternoon shade. If moving the plants isn’t an option, you can use shade cloth to provide them with the shade they need to keep cool.

You probably won’t be growing cool season crops this time of year due to the heat. If you tried to grow leafy greens, lettuce, or cruciferous vegetables, you’d notice they would bolt rapidly and try to flower and seed. It’s too warm to grow these crops outside in July, but you can grow them indoors to make sure the temperature is nice and cool for them.

When you think about keeping your summer plants cool, you might be tempted to treat them the same way that you would your cool season crops. To cool off cool-season plants, you can water them from overhead to cool the leaves down. You shouldn’t do the same for your summer vegetables. While this may cool your summer plants for a few minutes, it can quickly lead to fungal infections that could cause more damage to your plants than warm weather. Always water your summer vegetables at the ground.

Ongoing Maintenance

This month is all about keeping your garden growing. Try to stay on top of pruning, weeding and pest control this month. Harvest from your vegetable plants at least once per day. Some vegetables will need to be harvested twice a day. The more frequently you harvest, the more your plants will produce.

The same thing goes for your flowerbeds. Remove spent blooms to encourage your plants to put off more blooms in their place. Deadheading is as easy as pinching off or snipping off blooms that are past their prime.

Bugs, both good and bad, will be out in full force. When you’re in the garden, check your plants thoroughly for signs of pests. Be sure to check the tops and bottoms of the leaves on your plants, as many insects will hide out on the underside of leaves to escape the sun. Take care of any pests that you see as soon as you notice them to prevent them from turning into a major problem.

What to Do in the Garden in July Based on Your Zone

Zones 3-4

The summer growing season is pretty short here. If you haven’t planted your summer crops yet, you can start planning for your fall garden. Any summer plants that are already in the ground should be growing and thriving at this point. Start planning out what fall crops you’d like to grow and get your seeds together for those. Lettuce, brassicas, leafy greens and some root vegetables are great fall crops. As soon as you get your seeds, you can direct sow them into your garden soil or you can start them indoors. Intercropping is a great way to keep your summer garden growing and start your seeds outdoors.

You’ll also want to keep up with your summer crops. Mulch them as needed to help feed the soil and keep the temperature consistent. Remove any pests from your plants and water regularly.

Zones 5-6

Harvest, harvest, harvest. You should be getting all sorts of fruits and vegetables this month from your plants. Be sure to harvest frequently to encourage more production from your plants. The more you harvest, the more your plants will produce. If you have a bumper crop, try your hand at canning, drying or freezing your produce. Different types of crops hold up better to different types of preservation. We recommend that you start by canning tomatoes and freezing summer squash, zucchini, or okra.

The growing season here is a little bit longer, so if you were planning a second planting of beans or squash, put it into the ground this month. This will give you extra beans and squash to preserve for the rest of the year.

You can also start direct sowing seeds for your fall crop this month or start them indoors. Are you planning on having fall flowers? Start those seeds indoors or direct sow them into your flowerbeds.

Do you have raspberries or blackberries? Prune back your blackberry and raspberry canes this month once they’ve finished producing. Some of the canes will die back. These should be removed to help increase both airflow and production next year.

Zone 7

It’s time to harvest potatoes. If you planted potatoes this year, it’s probably about time for them to be dug up. Watch for the top of the potato plant to die back and fall over. When they do this, you can dig the potatoes up. Be gentle when turning the soil back to prevent cuts on your potatoes. Keep any small potatoes as seed potatoes for your next crop.

You can start direct sowing your seeds into the garden for your fall crop. This is the perfect time to sow seeds for carrots and greens like collards.

Stay on top of the weeds in your garden this month. The weeds may not have been much of an issue until this month, so you’ll want to be extra diligent this month to stay on top of them. One of the best times to weed your garden is right after heavy rain or watering. The ground is softer and it’s easier to pull weeds up by the roots.

Zone 8

Do you want to grow your own pumpkins this year for Halloween? If so, plant your seeds this month to get a harvest right around Halloween. You can also plant a second crop of tomatoes, eggplants or peppers to produce a bumper crop. This is an excellent way to fill up any canning jars or empty freezer space you have.

Keep your garden clean during the growing season. Prune back any plants that need pruning. Remove diseased or dead plants from the garden as soon as possible. These plants can spread disease and serve as a home for pests.

Harvest your plants frequently. This will encourage more production. The extra time spent in the garden will also let you catch any bug, disease or weed issues early on.

Zone 9

The temperature here is starting to really crank up this month. Your summer garden may go through a period of low production as the temperatures get hotter each day. Shade cloth can make a big difference in your production. Many summer vegetables, like tomatoes, will start dropping blooms and fruit if the temperature get too high. A piece of shade cloth or some afternoon shade will help ensure that your plants don’t overheat. If you can keep them happy, you’ll be able to harvest from them again once the extreme heat passes.

Fruit trees will start to put on fruit this month. We aren’t the only ones that know this though. Birds are well aware that fruit will start setting and growing this month. Keep your fruit protected and bag the fruits if needed to protect them. It’s a good idea to keep a few fruits uncovered to provide some sacrificial fruit to feed the birds.

Zone 10

July is a hot month for Zone 10. Any gardening work should be done early in the morning to avoid the intense and hot afternoon sun.

Make sure that your garden is filled with heat-tolerant crops, as any other plants will likely get scalded this month. Invest in shade cloth or move and container plants to a shady area. This will help your plants to continue to produce.

Water and fertilize your plants frequently. They’re in full production and growing mode, which means they’ll need extra water and nutrients. Healthy plants will produce more and have less problems from diseases and pests.

Zone 11

The temperature and moisture are ideal for starting seeds outdoors here. You can direct sow seeds for sweet potatoes, melons, eggplants, peppers and garlic this month.

Summer heat is intense in this Zone. Keep your plants happy by providing afternoon shade and frequent watering. Don’t overwater to the point of root rot. A thick layer of mulch can help retain some of the soil moisture.

Looking Ahead

This time of year is when you should start thinking about your fall garden. You can start seeds indoors and in some growing zones, direct sow them outdoors. Cool season crops include leafy greens, lettuce, turnips, carrots, and cruciferous vegetables. Start gathering your seeds and seed starting supplies now and get your fall plants ready. Once the summer heat passes, you’ll be ready to plant your next garden out.