From the Desk of Ed Hume: July Garden Projects

July 6, 2011 at 2:05 AM 2 comments

Happy Wednesday, folks!  I hope everyone had a pleasant, safe Fourth of July.

This week’s article comes from last year, and while it can be found in the archive, we like to highlight certain articles for newer readers who may not be quite familiar with blog navigation just yet.  We’ve seen a huge spike in new readers recently, so hopefully they can enjoy this article for the first time.  For our loyal fans who have been with us for a while (some even from the beginning!), we hope you can enjoy this article again and possibly take something from it that you missed the first time around.

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It’s time to sit back and enjoy the garden. Take time to enjoy the fruits of your earlier gardening efforts. July is usually one of the best months weather-wise and a time when little needs to be done to keep the garden in tip-top shape.

Of course, watering may be of major concern if the weather warms up this month. And if you’re looking for things to do, you can spend some time on cultivating, adding summer plants to the garden, lawn care, and planting Fall and Winter vegetables.

WATERING: The key to good watering is to water thoroughly and deeply so there is no need to water as often. The second most important point is to use efficient sprinklers or watering devices. Avoid wasting water by directing the sprinkler water onto the lawn, flower beds, or vegetable gardens and not the driveway, sidewalk, or the side of the house. See also: Proper Watering

Hanging baskets and container plantings may need special watering consideration should the temperatures get much above seventy degrees. In fact, they may need daily or twice-daily watering if it should get into the eighties or nineties.

Two of the most over-looked areas are under the eaves of the house and under tall evergreens, so be certain to take time to check the need for watering in these two locations.

WEEDING: As the weather gets warmer and additional attention is given to watering, weeds are apt to germinate faster and can become a real nuisance if they are not kept under control. Check the vegetable garden, flower beds, and the lawn for weeds, and be sure to pull and eliminate them before the weeds mature and flower and go to seed.

SUMMER COLOR: This is the time to choose and plant the Summer-flowering perennials, shrubs, and annuals. Most all of these plants are grown in containers, so they are easily transplanted into the garden. The Summer annuals are available in flowering size plants, commonly called “Color Spots,” and provide instant garden color. These plants are usually in 4″, 6″, or one gallon size containers. Planting at this time of year should be done during the coolest part of the day. See also: Flowers Outdoors

Heathers, Hebe, Abelia, Potentilla, and Escallonia are a few of the most popular Summer-flowering shrubs.

Geum, Monarda, Shasta Daisies, Carnations or Pinks, Sedums, perennial Geraniums, and Delphiniums are among the most popular Summer perennials.

Geraniums, Fuchsias, Begonias, Ageratum, Salvia, Marigolds, Petunias, and Lobelia are a few of the favorite July “Color Spots.”

LAWN CARE: Watering will probably be of most concern this month as July is often a rather warm month. Research specialists estimate that the lawn will only need one inch of water per week to keep it looking nice. The key is to water deeply, then it is not necessary to water as often. You can measure the amount of water you put onto the lawn by simply placing coffee cans or similar containers under the sprinklers, when you water.

If needed, the lawn can be fertilized. This is also a good time to pull and eliminate lawn weeds. See also: Lawn

FALL AND WINTER VEGETABLES: July is the month to plant out your crops of Fall and Winter vegetables. Beets, Carrots, Parsnips, Rutabaga, Brussells Sprouts, Cabbages, Cauliflower, and Fava Beans are the Fall and Winter crops to plant this month. This is also the month to seed your Fall-flowering Cabbage and Kale plants. See also: Wide Row Vegetable Gardening Companion Planting Seed Planting Chart

CUTTINGS: July and August are two of the best Summer months for taking cuttings of evergreens. Among the most popular plants to take cuttings of are Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Junipers, Camellias, and Heather, just to name a few. Take the cuttings from mature tip growth. The cuttings should only be three-to-six inches in length; remove the lower foliage and dip the cut-end into a rooting hormone solution. Start the cuttings in Vermiculite, Perlite, a combination of 50% sand and 50% peat moss, or simply a good top quality potting soil for most cuttings. See also: Taking Cuttings

Although a lot of people start cuttings at this time, my favorite time of the year for taking cuttings is during the Winter months of November, December, and January. Keep the cuttings in a warm, sunny spot until they have rooted.

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We will be back Friday with our clip of the week.  Until then, happy gardening!

Sincerely,

Ed

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Ed’s Podcasts: Composting Clip of the Week: Building a Strawberry Barrel

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Richard Scherer  |  July 30, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    Hi Ed: I am interested in your comment on the germination percentage of your seeds past the one year purchase date. I am a MasterGardener here in Portland, Oregon, and Have been using your seeds to grow food for the local food bank. My seed plantings
    this year using an EarthWay seeder, there seemed to be a lack of germination from the purchased 2011 seeds. In sorting my pile of seed packages last night, I find a two year supply of your seeds not used. In the past, packages mentioned a germination rate of 80% in the second year of use. I would like your comment on what dry stored seeds two years old would have for a germination rate. The seed spacing on the EarthWay seeder is 3-6 inches, and with the Raindrip system spacing at one foot. I can afford having many seeds
    not germinating within the 12 inches.

    I can use my own wet papertowel test, and get some answer, but since you are in the seed business, I would like your educated comment.

    Sincerely,

    Richard Scherer

    Reply
    • 2. edhume  |  August 5, 2011 at 1:47 AM

      Hi Richard:
      The germination rate varies by types of vegetables. For example, the viability of seeds for any of the onion family drops very quickly. Actually within months…while some seed types will only drop 5 or 10% in a years time, if stored under proper conditions. So the moist paper towel method is often the best for testing germination of any type of seeds.
      Germination and bolting of seeds this year was mainly caused by weather conditions, lack of food for soil insects, birds an voles.

      Hope this information helps.

      Ed Hume

      Reply

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