July Garden Tasks:
- Managing Bugs
- Keeping Up with Weeds
- Planning Fall Crops
That’s your July garden task list!
It is a very demanding time of year for gardening in the mid-Atlantic region (zones 6 and 7), but you’ve got this!
As the garden dries and warms with the extended daylight of mid-summer, we see the perfect environment for all the threats and stresses to our gardens. Be vigilant or you could see all your June efforts come to naught. Weeds love the warm, dry soil. Bugs love the fruits of all your labors. And then, there are September’s harvests to think about!
Finally, you may just be tired and burnt out from tending to your garden in July, so be sure to prioritize self-care.
Don’t feel overwhelmed, just get yourself a plan. Do the best you can. Eat a freshly picked tomato when you need to remember why you started a garden in the first place.
July Garden Tasks: Bugs
July garden tasks should prioritize pest management.
By the time the 4th of July has passed the beetles will have arrived in your garden: Japanese beetles, bean beetles, cucumber beetles. While we use organic sprays like Pyrethrin and Monterey, the best remedy to beetle invasions is hand-picking them and placing them in a cup full of soapy water. Not a favorite garden task, I know! Once you see their damage, turning leaves into lace, you’ll do anything to regain control. After harvesting yesterday, I spent about 2 hours in the garden hunting down the little critters and giving them a final dunking.
This was very gratifying.Squash bugs are most likely laying eggs on the leaves of your squash plants by now. The remedy here is to look for those little orange pearls on both the tops and undersides of your squash leaves and remove them by hand, or with some duct tape. If you let the squash bugs hatch, your garden will not be able to support any squash production, including pumpkins. The squash bugs will simply go from plant to plant leaving a lunar landscape in their path as they simply suck the life out of your zucchini’s, pattipans, and acorn squash.
Tomato hornworms came to our garden one July, about 3 years ago. We handpicked them and fed them to the chickens. We now grow our tomatoes in beds covered with landscape fabric. We’ve not had these monsters of the market garden since taking this preventative measure. Chickens are disappointed. We’re very happy!
July Garden Tasks: Irrigation
If at all possible, don’t water your vegetables in a way that soaks the entire plant, especially in the middle of the day. Top watering with a hand-held hose or watering can invite all kinds of problems to the garden, from heat stress to mildew. The best remedy to summer drought conditions is a system of irrigation established in your beds at the time they are planted. If that didn’t happen or isn’t a possibility in your garden, then water in the early morning for best results.
Recommended products to help with you July garden tasks:
There are affiliate links in this post. These are products I use and recommend. when you make a purchase using the links, I get a small portion of the sales at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting the farm!
July Garden Tasks: Weeds
Like water, the best weed remedy is established at the time of planting. Ground barriers and landscape fabric can save you hours of backbreaking labor in the garden. Newspaper under squash plants, landscape fabric under tomatoes, green mulches like white clover among your beans – these are the best remedies for summer weeds.
Don’t despair if you did not use preventatives in your spring plantings. By mid-July, you have harvested garlic, potatoes, and onions. Open spaces in your garden provide room for summer and fall plantings. This is the perfect time to choose a weed barrier and give it a try. (Remember to install an irrigation system under the fabric!)
July Garden Tasks: Planting Fall Crops
July garden tasks include deciding what vegetables you want to harvest in September and October and planting them now.
Gardeners are of two minds in the summer garden. One mind is on the current crops, their health, and harvest. The other mind is 60-90 days out. This is called succession planting. You’ll ensure a generous harvest in September with a little planning now.
Thinking ahead even further, remember all those seed starting supplies you put away last month? It’s time to pull them back out again and start broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts for August planting and October-November harvest.
You can direct seed carrots, parsnips, beets, anytime in July and August. Make sure to water these seeds every day to ensure good germination. If your soil temperature gets near or above 80 degrees, hold off on direct seeding until things cool down at the end of August.
July Garden Tasks: Rest and Relaxation
July garden tasks are as much about the future as the present. Be sure to rest so that you love your garden as much in August as you did back in April.
We’ve learned to schedule time off at regular intervals in the summer. If your garden is large enough to consume every waking moment of your life, do yourself and the garden a favor – take a break!
One of my favorite ways of taking a break from the demands of the market garden is in my kitchen. I love preparing meals with freshly harvested ingredients. Even more, I like to preserve those ingredients for future, offseason, meals.
But, to each their own! Whichever way you unwind and tend to your body, make that treat a priority this month!
Like garden tips? Check out these posts…
June Garden Tasks, in case you’re a little behind like Bob and me!
5 Garden Podcast I think are worth the listen.
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