If only July were more predictable in the garden. It doesn't matter how wet the spring was, rain can become very elusive in July. Humidity begins to peak. It's the beginning of the rainy season in Florida. And warmer zones are actually passing out of prime growing conditions into the lethargy of the dog days.
So there's no definitive list of gardening chores for the July garden. Gardeners just have to play it by ear.
Most importantly, keep a close eye on pests and disease, then sit back and enjoy your garden and all the efforts you put in earlier in the year to get it where it is now.
- Slow down and give you and your plants a rest from the heat
- Give plants a mid-season feeding or side dressing, to get them through to the fall
- Keep tabs on rainfall and water as needed
- Stay ahead of weeds
- Replace mulch as needed
- Check garden centers for mark downs on remaining plants
- Keep lawns at about 3", to protect from summer heat
- Keep bird feeders and baths clean
- Keep up on deadheading
- Shear back spent annuals by 1/3
- Focus on heat and rain resistant flowers like: coleus, hibiscus, melampodium, pentas, plumbago, portulaca and zinnias
- Do a final pinching by mid-July, of fall blooming flowers like mums and asters
- Divide Iris
- Harvest daily.
- Find a Plant a Row for the Hungry program to donate to
- Reseed beans and lettuce
- Start fall crops of peas and cole crops
- Time to dig the garlic, onions and potatoes.
- Treat yourself to some new potatoes. Carefully loosen the soil under your plants to find a few small potatoes to harvest
- Plant a cover crop in bare spots in the vegetable garden
- Check berries regularly to harvest before the birds get them
- Clean up fallen fruits under trees
- Check fruit trees for water sprouts (branches growing straight up from limbs) and remove
Trees & Shrubs
- Prune summer flowering shrubs as soon as the blossoms fade
- Hold off on planting until the fall. If you must transplant, keep well watered.
Pests to Watch For
- Thrips (distorted flowers)
- Spider mites (undersides of leaves)
- Tomato fruitworm
- Tomato horn worm
- Chinch bugs in lawns
- Be alert for Japanese beetles.
- Plant a cover crop, if it's too hot to grow vegetables this month
- Start planning your fall garden
- Start seeds of heat loving vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, okra, eggplant and cucumbers
- You can still plant container grown citrus trees and tropical fruits
- Succession sow sunflowers (every 2 - 3 weeks) for a steady supply
Gulf Coast and Florida
- Prepare for hurricane season and keep dead limbs pruned