All about July

What to Do in Your July Gardens

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

In Northern United States and Canada – From now on garden wastes will become available. Stems and foliage of crops that have been harvested, annual weeds that are hoed off and raked up and later leaves fallen from trees are examples of this material. Unless it harbors pests or diseases that are carried over in the soil, these wastes can be turned into valuable fertilizing and soil conditioning compost by piling it in a suitable bin or heaping in an out-of-the-way corner and allowing it to decay. Greenwood leafy cuttings of a great many shrubs, trees and perennial herbaceous plants, including ground covers, taken in July root readily.

Now that the weather is warmer, raise the cutting height of the blades of the lawn mower so that the grass is cut not less than two inches high. Apply selective weed killers and practice hand weeding to eliminate Crab Grass and other lawn weeds. Lift and divide bearded Iris shortly after they are through blooming. Toward the end of July Siberian Iris may be treated in the same way. Iris of these types normally require this treatment every three or four years.

Some Early July Gardening Tips

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

In the flower garden there is now profusion as we enjoy more roses, phloxes, campanulas, heleniums, hemerocallis (day lilies) and gladioli etc. etc. Indeed there are enough flowers for everybody.

There are few bulbs that can compete with the autumn crocus’ bright performance given during the last months of the year.

They are best ordered this month for planting in August. Nurserymen seldom hold large stocks and the gardener who leaves his order until August may be disappointed.

The bulbs should be planted 3 ins. deep, where they can be left to increase undisturbed, maybe hidden by pleasing ground cover.

The jewel-like flowers, white and in all shades from blue to violet, with brilliant stigmata, are extremely elegant.

Asters, nemesias, marigolds and quick-maturing annuals can be sown to fill gaps where bedding plants have failed or are in short supply. Marigolds are a blessing to those with a new garden and a small budget: mixed with cornflowers or larkspurs they make a tremendous splash.

If more rock plants are needed, rooted pieces of saxifrages, sedums, sempervivums and some of the other rock plants, can be detached from over-large plants and replanted.

Hot July Gardening Tips

Monday, July 26th, 2010

July temperatures in southern New Mexico and western Texas are dry and hot. Please keep an eye on your watering systems. Make sure dripper and emitters and sprinkler heads are all working properly, before you go on vacation. Try not to rely on neighbors to water for you

The most common problem is usually the lawn. How much water does one need for their lawn? This is the most challenging question to answer. For cool season grasses such a fescue, rye, and bluegrass it’s about 3″ of water evenly distributed per week

For warm season grasses such a bermuda or hybrid bermuda is about 2″ to 2 1/2″ per week. This is during the hottest time of the year, usually June,July, and August. Your lawn will typically need less during the cooler months of the year, so please water responsibly. Just remember it is not how long you leave you watering system on but how much water you acutally apply to your lawn.

If you begin to notice “spots” on your lawn chances are it is suffering from dehydration. The easiest way to detect this is if your walk through your lawn and look back and noticed exactly where you were walking, then that is your sign that your lawn needs a drink of water.

Planting a Fall Garden

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

The month of June has gone by and we can look forward to the hot humid days of July. July is considered to be the perfect time to start preparing to plant your Fall Gardens. Remember it is July, so when you begin to prepare your beds, work early in the mornings before the sun gets to hot.

Begin by weeding your garden beds removing all weeds and debris, then watering the soil thoroughly. Cover the area with clear heavy plastic sealing the edges with some soil. This is one method of solarization and it traps in the heat of the sun and will help to prevent the re-growth of unwanted new weeds, harmful nematodes and other unwanted garden pests.

Allow the area to rest like this for a minimum of six weeks during the hottest months of July and August. You will be able to plant vegetables such as tomatoes or peppers afterwards, if you do decide to opt for tomatoes or peppers be sure and plant maturating varieties such as Whirlaway, Carnival or Bingo these have a shorter maturity time, usually 75 days, giving you a crop before the first freeze. You will however still be ready to plant cool weather vegetables such as broccoli, turnips, carrots and some varieties of Southern Peas.

Come Outside, the Garden is Calling

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Activity has definitely slowed down during mid-day. Scarcely a leaf stirs. One of the pleasures of the July garden is the tree-shaded patio or terrace where the outdoor garden enthusiast may relax and survey the results of their labors. During this period of reflection it is good to take a second look at the results of the planning done in January and make further plans for the fall garden. In this day of air conditioning, big screen TV and Wii many people are prone to stay inside all day and not relax in the out-of-doors.

Patios and Terraces

Lucky indeed is the family which has a part of the garden developed as a retreat from the excessive heat or cramped interiors. These areas are easily designed and constructed and make a wonderful project for the entire family. They provide an ideal place for outdoor picnics and BBQ or regular eating and in the late evening they are delightful. Have you ever thought of providing a cable connection for the TV on these out-door terraces? There are many possibilities that when properly planned will give a wonderful use of the garden and relieve the house from much heavy traffic.

Fruit and Vegetables at the End of July

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Brussels sprouts attacked by aphids and showing yellowing and distorted leaves, should be sprayed immediately. Daily picking of the runner beans will encourage the plant to crop on until September, and this is important to remember.

It is time to sow spinach for winter use. Water the drills several hours before sowing and then cover with cloches, if you do this then there is spinach to be had right through the winter. When four trusses have formed on the outside tomatoes, the leader or main shoot should be pinched out so that the plant can put its entire energy into ripening the fruit. A few large leaves may be removed from the plant, but it must not be stripped

Cow, poultry and horse manure (and soot) can all be treated as a liquid feed for tomatoes and others. The humus or soot should be placed in a bag or old sock and soaked in a tub of water for three or four days until the liquid becomes tea-coloured. A stake long enough to span the bucket or tub should be placed across the container, from which the bag can be hung and left to soak.

Late July in the Garden and the House

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

When feeding dahlias keep the fertilizer away from the top roots and stems. The fact is some gardeners like to top-dress the plants lightly with lawn mowings to keep the moisture in the soil, and this is no bad thing providing the lawn hasn’t been treated recently with weedkiller etc.

Layer border carnations as soon as suitable growths appear.

Bedding plants are growing fast and will require feeding.

Canterbury bells must be deadheaded or they stop flowering.

Geraniums and fuchsias should be well fed, remembering that standards have far to travel and therefore need a rich diet.

The last of the bearded iris must now be planted.

In the house, Many people have learnt how to master and grow the Saintpaulias or African violets with considerable success. They are comparatively easy from March to November, but tricky through the winter unless an even heat of between 15°C. (54°F.) and 18°C. (64°F.) can be provided together with a humid atmosphere.

Humidity is increased by plunging and retaining the pot in a larger pot or container of peat, which is kept moist, or by pack­ing the pot round with moss and keeping the moss damp.

Flowers, Shrubs and Climbers, Plus the Greenhouse at the End of July

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

The flowers in your garden never leave you alone for a minute, and it’s now the time to sow annual carnations in the border or over-winter and flower there next year. At the height of summer the white, grey, grey-green and pale shades of colour come into their own, and gardeners who appreciate the cool look should make a note of the santolina, cineraria maritima, the white-green zinnia, and the light-as-air gypso-phila, that are more restful to the eye than the hot sunset shades.

Moving onto your garden shrubs, heather can be trimmed back and mulched with peat. Cuttings inserted in sandy soil, placed in a cold frame facing north will root well in July and August.

Roses should be fed to encourage the last flush of bloom.

Cuttings of many shrubs can be taken at this time of year, and side shoots that include a small heel of hard-wood from the branch, should be inserted in a pot of good soil with a high sand content, and then found a shady place.

Evergreens do not respond well to the knife, and should only be cut back if trespassing on others or straggling, and in truth the majority are best trimmed in the spring.

Gardens Can Flourish in July Despite Hot Temperatures, Water Rationing

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

New watering restrictions come just as July heat typically takes its toll on landscapes. However, prudent planning using drought-tolerant plants, watering schedules and soil preparation can mean gardeners can still enjoy beautiful landscapes despite sizzling summer days and newly enacted water rationing.

Plant Low Water-Use Vegetation: Native plants usually require little or no water once they are established. Plants that have survived for hundreds of years through droughts and downpours will mostly likely survive in just about any backyard landscape. Dozens of varieties of native plants are available for gardeners. Popular types include sages, big berry Manzanita, buckwheat, bush poppy, California Aster and California Mountain Lilac.

Reduce Your Grass Area: Lawns use more water than any other landscape feature. Consider replacing a portion of your grass with low-growing, drought tolerant ground cover. You will first need to remove the grass, till the soil and amend with compost. Perennial ground covers include ornamental grasses, Alyssum and Verbena.

Mulch Around Your Plants and Trees: A two-inch layer of mulch (semi-composted wood chips) will help retain moisture within the soil and moderate soil temperature during dry weather. Other benefits include less weed growth, less erosion (making it ideal for use on hillsides and slopes) and the addition of organic matter and nutrients to the soil as the mulch naturally decomposes.

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