July Gardening Tips

Summer is officially in full effect! Everyone and everything is enjoying the long, sunny days. Be sure to not only keep yourself hydrated, but also your plants. Refreshing drinks of water are a must this time of year. In the garden, a layer of mulch will help retain moisture.

Here are a few tips on when and how to water various parts of your garden:

When: Typically it is best to water in the morning. Winds are usually calm and the foliage has time to dry out before night fall. Cooler morning temperatures reduce evaporation.

How: This will depend on what you are watering. Overhead irrigation is common in lawn areas, soakers can be used easily in raised beds and drip irrigation is handy in hanging baskets. When possible, it is a good idea to keep water off of the foliage. Keeping the leaves as dry as possible will reduce the spread of disease.hanging-flower-basket-calibrachoa

What: Hanging baskets will need to be watered on a daily basis. When they are exposed to heat and wind they dry out very quickly. If you are watering your hanging baskets by hand, let the water run through the bottom of the pot a few times to make sure the roots zone is moist. Almost all other plantings — lawns, flower and vegetable beds — will require some level of irrigation through the summer. Drought tolerant and established native plantings will have much lower water needs. An occasional drink, however, will help them get through the dog days of summer.

Conserving water in the summer months is important to many gardeners. In an effort to do so, avoid letting your soil become so dry that it will not absorb water. Soil in this condition seem to repel water and are referred to as hydrophobic. The water simply sits on top of the soil and does not penetrate it. Correcting this issue can take patience on your part by repeated attempts at slowly soaking the soil with water. In many cases a wetting agent (i.e. biodegradable dish detergent) could be used to break the surface tension allowing water to penetrate the soil more evenly.


Flower Gardens

Spring bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, can be dug and divided if crowded. Store them in a cool location until fall. If they are very crowded and showing loss of vigor, it’s often best to replace them with new bulbs in the fall.

Monitor hanging baskets and containers on a daily basis. They tend to dry out quickly and will need regular watering and fertilization. Spring-Bulbs-Blossom

Tall flower stalks of many perennials and annuals (i.e. Lupin, Cosmos, Hollyhocks) are now loaded with blooms and may require staking for added support

Watch out for Rust in the garden! This is a type of fungus that is orange in color and appears on plant leaves. It is a common issue for Roses and Hollyhocks. Remove infected leaves the moment they are spotted. Additional treatment with a fungicide may be required.

Remove spent blossoms from summer annuals and fertilize them regularly to encourage them to continue blooming.


Vegetable Gardens

If not done already, install extra support for your tomatoes. Tomato cages can be purchased from local garden centers and get the job done in a snap! Also, keep your eyes open for blight on your tomato plants especially if the season has been abnormally wet. Damp conditions are perfect for blight. Many spores are produced that can become airborne and spread like wild fire. To help control the spread, remove the infected leaves and improve air circulation as best you can. Treatment with a fungicide might be required.

New potatoes can be dug now. Apply mulch around their tops in order to increase production.Tomato Cages

Plant carrots, lettuce, beets, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and bush beans for fall crops. Seeds will germinate better in the summer than spring due to warmer soil temperature. Once the seeds are planted, keep them moist until they have sprouted.

Rhubarb and asparagus beds can use some extra attention this month. Be sure to weed and fertilize them with compost. Appling a layer of compost that contains manure (like our Blended Mint Compost) will provide the necessary nutrients. Be sure that their root zone is watered deeply.

Continue to monitor for cutworm damage this month. As these pests climb up your veggies they eat the foliage and leave a path of destruction. There are a variety of control methods that include barriers and sprays. Choose the method that works best for you. (Find a list of methods we have used to combat garden pests here).

Caterpillars are also doing damage in the garden this time of year. Monitor your plants daily. Simply removing them by hand is enough to control the damage. If not, a spray containing Bt-k might be needed.


Fruit Gardens

Blueberries are ready for picking! To make sure that you have enough for your breakfast cereal, put some netting over the plant(s) to keep away the birds.

As you pick, remember to prune! This rule applies to raspberries and blackberry types including boysenberries. The part of a berry plant that produces fruit this year will never produce again. Remove to enhance growth, improve air circulation and reduce disease. This tip also holds true for grapevines.


Lawn Maintenance
Irrigation for the Lawn

Add lawn clippings to your compost pile. Use clippings that are free from disease and herbicides. This includes clippings treated with “weed-and-feed”.

A green lawn this month will require adequate irrigation. This means applying, on average, an inch of water/week from June-August. Be sure to water deeply, letting the water penetrate the root zone. Frequent shallow watering will be less effective. An empty tuna can is a useful tool to measure one inch of water. Place the can in the lawn while the sprinkler is running. When it is full you have applied about an inch of water.


Various Jobs Around Your Oregon Garden

New plantings require special attention. Their roots have not become established in the soil and may dry out quickly. Add a layer of mulch to slow evaporation, and water deeply as needed. Mulch also helps control soil evaporation, and a thick layer can help prevent the soil from becoming dry and cracked.

Hot and dry days create perfect conditions for spider mites in evergreen plants. Infected foliage can appear dusty or dull/dry. Wash plants frequently with a high pressure hose to reduce populations.

Scale is an issue this time of year. This little insect has a hard shell and attaches to the leaves and stems of plants. It has the appearance of little brown bumps that are smooth and shiny. Many broad-leafed evergreen plants (i.e. Camellia and Holly) are especially susceptible. Treatment usually requires the application of an insecticide.