Long, hot days and warm nights make July a great time for outdoor living, but remember to water! Hanging baskets, containers, vegetable gardens, flower beds, and new plantings are especially vulnerable to weather stress. From lead-free hoses to expert advice and complete irrigation systems, we can help make it easier.

For Fresh Color

Hanging baskets, window boxes, and flower pots are looking great and provide lots of color around the deck, porch, and patio. Continue to fertilize every 2 weeks with G&B Liquid Fertilizer and spray petunias and geraniums with Bonide Captain Jacks for the budworms that eat the flower buds (white butterfly/moths flying around them).

For the Lawn & Landscape

Mulch garden beds to conserve moisture and keep roots cooler. Measure or estimate how much is needed to cover about 1 inch thick with G&B Soil Building Conditioner. Early morning is the best time to water vegetable and flower gardens to reduce evaporation. Water the soil rather than leaves to reduce disease. Water deeply and infrequently to encourage root growth.

If a green lawn is desired this summer, make sure lawn areas are receiving adequate water (approximately 0.5 to 1.5 inches per week from June through August). Deep watering less often is more effective than frequent shallow watering.

Summer weather sometimes brings on plant diseases. The dusty white stuff on leaves of roses, lilacs, azaleas, and more is a fungal disease called powdery mildew; it seems to thrive at this time of year. Take a sample into the garden center for confirmation and solution.

For the Edible Garden

Slugs are still out there munching, so another application of Slug Magic will be helpful, especially around vegetables.

Edibles to plant this month include snap beans, kale, lettuce (starts), and radishes. Water new seedlings well, and shade them from hot afternoon sun until established.

It’s already time to think about fall/winter crops to replace the peas, radishes, and other early spring plantings. Sow seeds of broccoli, cabbage, Brussel’s sprouts, beets, carrots, radicchio, overwintering cauliflower and broccoli, and celery (starts) for harvest in September through the following April, depending on the crop.

Late this month, begin to monitor for early and late blight on tomatoes (potato, eggplant, and peppers too). Correct by pruning for air circulation, picking off affected leaves, and/or treating with organic fungicide. Use Bonide Copper Fungicide for organic disease control.

Place traps in fruit trees to catch adult apple maggot flies; use pheromone traps to monitor presence of pests.

July 17-23: Third spray for codling moth in apple and pear trees, as necessary. Use Bonide Captain Jacks (hose-end sprayer).

Cover blueberry bushes with netting to keep birds from eating all of the berries.

In the Garden Shed

Spider mites can become a problem on ornamental plants, vegetables, and fruit plants during hot, dry weather. Watch for dusty-looking foliage, loss of color, and presence of tiny mites. Wash infested areas several times with water or spray with Bonide Neem Oil.
Are there partial bags/boxes of unused fertilizer being stored? Use now on plants in need of a boost; use as directed and be sure to water well after fertilizing.

For Fun

It’s summer entertaining and party time (with social distancing, of course)! Pick some fresh herbs from the garden (try mint, thyme, lavender, or rosemary) and use to make flavored simple syrups:

  • Use equal parts sugar and water (e.g. 1 cup sugar to 1 cup water) and fresh herbs (more or less depending on desired flavor strength).
  • In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt sugar in the water until completely dissolved.
  • Add herbs; if using woody herbs such as lavender, thyme, or rosemary, simmer on low for 10-15 minutes; if using soft herbs such as mint, basil, or dill, remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 15-20 minutes.
  • Strain liquid and store in refrigerator (use within a week or two).
  • Add syrups to iced tea, fruit juice, or cocktails for unique flavor from the garden.