Chris's Tip: July Garden Chores

"Water, water, everywhere."

Happy July, it’s getting hot and I’m staying busy. My tip for July is a list of garden chores that should be done this month:

Water, water, everywhere. This month's big job is watering. Water containers daily, vegetable gardens and first season landscape plants two times a week, and everything else about once a week. Remember, your lawn only needs one inch of water per week.

Harvest herbs and veggies on a regular basis. Don't let your zucchini reach giant sizes where you’ll need a forklift to harvest it. Also, harvest your Irish potatoes when the tops begin to brown and die back.

Another good project to do is start your fall plantings. Start fall vegetables, including broccoli, cabbage, collards, kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. This is also a good time to start biennials and perennials from seed, such as foxglove and hollyhock, for putting out this fall.

Instead of planting more warm season crops every time a bed of bush beans gets past its prime, I often pick a section to solarize. This will help keep the weeds down in the garden.

Tomato tip: if need be, cut up to a third off your tomatoes to keep them from overwhelming their posts or cages. Leave some leaves to protect against sunburn.

If you have roses, water them regularly. Roses need one inch of water per week. Prune your old fashioned and climbing roses after they've finished blooming. Secure climbing roses to the trellis as they grow. Remove diseased vegetation and deadhead flowers.

Clemson University recommends a sharp mower blade to cut the lawn cleanly, ensuring rapid healing and growth. Grass wounded by a dull blade is weakened and less able to ward off weeds, diseases and insect attacks, or cope with dry spells.

Don't let summer weeds go to seed--I cannot stress this enough! Pull them up and prevent return by mulching and persistence in removal.

Handpick bagworm bags on evergreens. Pesticides are worthless once the caterpillars are safe in their bags. Sometimes we will remove the webbing so the birds can have a quick snack and help us remove these pests.

If you have houseplants, liberate them! Many tropical houseplants love to spend at least part of the summer outdoors in Zone 7. All the watering in the summertime causes nutrients to wash out of pots, so feed your container plants every 2-3 weeks with a dilute organic liquid fertilizer or compost tea.

Nature. Community. Education.