The heat's on, so keep your garden going strong with attention to watering, weeding and harvesting.
Summer garden in Iowa
Credit: Rob Cardillo

July is a busy month for Midwest gardens, but also a rewarding time to be outside and enjoying your garden. The month can be hot and dry, so pay attention to watering; also stay on stop of weeding, deadheading, fertilizing and pruning. Many vegetables are ready to be harvested in July, including tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and beans. Savor your garden's bounty in this midsummer month.

Water, Weed and Deadhead

Water Flowers and Lawns

Keep flowers and lawns green and healthy by making sure your landscaping gets enough water— about 1 inch a week. If using a sprinkler, set out a pan or tuna can on the lawn to collect and measure how much water falls. The best time to water is in early morning; this prevents water loss from evaporation and gives foliage daylight hours to dry to prevent disease.

Keep Weeding

Try working in the cool of morning— especially right after watering, when roots will be easier to pull—or in the evening to minimize your exposure to heat.

Deadhead Flowers

Deadheading—cutting or pinching off faded blooms—keeps your landscape tidy and encourages certain flowers to bloom more.

Mulch as Needed

Spread 1-3 inches of wood chips or other weed-suppressing material now that the soil has warmed.

Container garden care

Container Garden Care

Water Often and Thoroughly

Container gardens usually need daily watering in hot weather, and some plants (such as fuchsia, impatiens and hibiscus) will need water twice a day. If the soil becomes dry and hard, set the container in a bowl or bucket of water for a couple of hours to rehydrate.

Remove Problem Foliage

Pinch off yellowing or problem foliage and spent flower blooms to encourage lush growth and flowers.

Fertilize Regularly

Fertilize containers every two weeks to assure growth and bloom. Use a bloom-booster fertilizer on flowering plants.

Vegetable harvest

Harvest Veggies

Enjoy regular harvests from your vegetable garden. Harvesting encourages vegetables to keep producing until fall. This is especially true with green beans, but also green peppers, hot peppers, cucumbers, squash, eggplants and tomatoes. (Not sure what to do with all that produce? Check out our recipes for garden-fresh vegetables.)

Tree planting

Plant with Caution

You can continue to plant trees, shrubs and roses. Keep well-watered, though, and don't plant bare-root types, which need cool, wet weather to take off.

In the northern Midwest, you may be able to divide and transplant fall-blooming perennials now (it's usually too hot and dry this month for this farther south). Wait to divide spring bloomers until fall.

In the northern Midwest, you can continue to plant summer bulbs such as gladiolus corms, canna rhizomes, and begonia tubers.

Mow Lawns High

The longer grass shades the soil, conserving moisture and discouraging weed. Mow to 3 inches for cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, and 2 inches for most warm-season grasses, such as Bermudagrass and zoysia. Remember to mow often. Don't remove more than one-third of the grass blade at a time or you'll stress the grass.