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. If your plants struggled in the recent heatwave, stop in for help with recovery or replacements—we still have a great selection.

For Fresh Color

Hanging baskets, window boxes, and flower pots should be 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 Jack’s for the budworms that eat the flower buds (white butterfly/moths flying around them). If parts of your plants or flowers are sun damaged, trim the plant back by up to one third and fertilize with an organic liquid bloom booster or all-purpose blend.

For the Lawn & Landscape

Mulch garden beds to conserve moisture and keep roots cool. Measure or estimate how much is needed to cover at least 1 inch thick with G&B Soil Building Conditioner (3 inches is even better!). Early morning is the best time to water vegetable and flower gardens to reduce evaporation. Water the soil rather than the leaves to avoid disease. Water deeply and less frequently to encourage deep 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). A ½-inch thick layer of fine compost such as Malibu Compost can help provide a cooler root zone and act as a mulch layer for shallow, sensitive grass roots.

In the landscape, deep watering less often is more effective than frequent shallow watering. In cases of extreme heat and drought, even mature trees and shrubs will benefit from a deep watering about every 3 weeks.

Summer weather sometimes brings on plant diseases. The dusty white stuff on leaves of roses, lilacs, azaleas, etc. is a fungal disease called powdery mildew; it seems to thrive during this time of year. Bring a bagged 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 or Sluggo will be helpful, especially around vegetables and new plantings.

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 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 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).

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 and very fine webbing. Wash infested areas several times with water or spray with Bonide Neem Oil (careful of sun exposure to newly sprayed foliage).

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

In the Garden Shed

Are you storing partial bags or boxes of unused fertilizer? Use now on plants in need of a boost; use as directed and be sure to water well after fertilizing.

For the Indoors

Keep up regular maintenance and continue checking for pests, especially on houseplants that are currently outdoors. Spider mites can become a major problem in areas with high heat or protected areas—look closely and keep leaves clean with soapy water, insecticidal soap, or neem oil as prevention.

Take succulents outside and let them get a few months of natural light—they’ll be more colorful than when grown indoors; keep them out of the rain so they don’t get too much water.

Take cuttings or divisions of rapid growing or large plants to propagate.

For Fun

It’s summer entertaining and party time (with proper safety measures, of course)! Pick some fresh herbs from the garden (mint, thyme, lavender, 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.

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