July Garden Calendar
The heat's on, so keep your garden going strong.
General tasks: Water, weed, deadhead
Water well. 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 up with 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 hear.
Deadhead flowers regularly. It keeps your landscape tidy and encourages certain flowers to bloom more.
Mulch. Spread 1-3 inches of wood chips or other weed-suppressing material now that the soil has warmed.
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.
Pinch off yellowing or problem foliage and spent flower blooms to encourage lush growth and flowers.
Fertilize containers every two weeks to assure growth and bloom. Use a bloom-booster fertilizer on flowering plants.
Harvest veggies regularly
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.
Plant with caution
Continue to plant trees, shrubs and roses. Keep well-watered. But 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.
Lawn: Go high
Mow 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.