The summer garden is pretty much our reward for all the hard work from March through June. During these lazy warm days the perennial and annual gardens are strutting their colors and the harvest of the first tomatoes and cucumbers means BLT's, thick juicy sandwiches and robust salads...hmm. Following are some tips for your July gardening calendar:
- Perennials, Annuals, & Bulbs
- This is a great month to watch for cutflowers to enjoy inside your home as well as those to dry for everlastings.
- Continue to deadhead (remove dead flowers) various annuals and perennials to encourage profuse blooming.
- Start perusing bulb catalogs and get your order in soon to ensure you get your selections.
- Tall, fall-flowering perennials such as swamp sunflower, joe-pye weed, iron weed, mums, and asters can be cut back by one-third to one-half to reduce their ultimate height and prevent them from lodging (falling over).
- Watch for crabgrass and other weeds that easily can invade your summer garden.
- July typically will be drier than any month so far in the gardening season so be sure to keep plants watered, especially container gardens.
- Purchase fall_blooming perennials for this year's garden such as anemone, hardy sunflowers (Helianthus spp.), goldenrod (Solidago), sedums, and toad lily (Tricyrtis). There are some fantastic sales on unsold perennials in July and August which can beautify your garden this year and next. Take advantage of price cuts and shop early for the best selection. Again, be sure to water these plants well until they become established in your garden.
- You can still direct seed sunflowers in your garden to ensure their colorful show until frost.
- Shrubs & Trees
- Prune hydrangeas right after bloom if you need to cut them back. Flower buds are formed in late summer and early fall, so late fall and winter pruning removes these
- buds and eliminates next year's flowers.
- Prune Clematis and Wisteria when they are finished flowering.
- Fruits & Veggies
- Harvest vegetables regularly from your garden to keep it productive. Letting squash
- turn as big as baseball bats will cause production to go down. Harvest vegetables at
- their peak of maturity for maximum nutrition and quality.
- If your garden is overflowing with zucchini and cucumbers, and you've made all the pickles you can stand, consider taking your extra produce to our local food pantry, Second Harvest, and participate in the ‘Plant a Row for the Hungry’ campaign. You can contact them at 521-0000.
- July 10 th is the last planting date for green beans to be sown in the garden.
- It may become necessary to cover fruit trees with netting to protect fruit from the birds.
- Blackberries need to be pruned after their harvest is ended. Remove the dying fruiting
- canes and tip back the vigorous, new growth two or three times to form a dense
- hedge for greater fruit production.
- Begin preparing for the fall garden in July. That's right! It may seem odd to start a fall
- garden in the summertime, but you need to get plants started in time for harvests
- before first freeze. Late July or early August set out broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower transplants. Also sow seed of lettuce, collards, kale, spinach.
- Lawn Care
- Its okay to not water your lawn and let it go dormant. As cooler weather and rainfall return, it will be revived.
- If you desire your lawn to be green and lush through summer, mow at a higher height and water deeply. Applying water in early morning is best.
- This is an ideal time to visit the University of Tennessee Gardens located on UT’s Agriculture Campus along Neyland Drive. Bring a notebook to jot down the top performers that you may want to include in your garden next year.
- Keep bird baths clean and filled with water through the hot weather.
- Clean out cold frames for use in the fall.
- You should be receiving fall nursery catalogues in the mail soon. Now would be the time to begin planning a new garden.