July is wonderful for reaping the benefits of what you sow, but also about maintaining the abundance you have created and keeping forces of nature from getting the better of your garden! Below you will find links to help you figure out how to prevent weeds, bugs, and disease in your garden plus our July gardening reminders. Also, check out the Bedford 2020 VegOut! website for additional links including gardeners you can reach out to for help!
WEEDS – they take up light, space, and nutrients that your plants need to grow. Take a walk around your garden and pull up the weeds at least once a week. If you missed the last issue on mulching, click here and consider putting down a layer to cut down on weeds. Get to know your weeds, click here for a great catalog of thumbnail photos of common weeds.
PESTS – Ideally, you will hand pick the bugs off your plants before they make holes, cause discoloration or disfiguration, or spread disease. You might see Japanese beetles, stink bugs, squash bugs, potato beetles, and a wide variety of pests on your tomatoes.
Check out these links as recourses for non-pesticide ways to deal with your pests including hand picking, companion planting, and encouraging beneficial pests: Getting rid of garden pests 101 and Garden Pest and Disease Directory.
DISEASE – Sick plants? Identifying what disease might have attacked your plant and addressing it early is critical to a great harvest. Click here for resources about identifying diseases and what to do: Vegetable Disease Doctor through Cornell Cooperative Ext. and Diagnosing and treating plant diseases.
- Pull out spring crops that have gone to seed like lettuce, spinach, arugula, peas.
- Plant summer crops like beans.
- Sow summer lettuce like (oakleaf, summer or heatwave blends) and keep shaded from the full sun by your taller plants.
- Keep your basil deadheaded.
- For peak flavor, harvest basil, sage, marjoram and oregano, mint, and tarragon just before they flower, on a sunny morning after the dew has dried.
- Harvest lavender, rosemary and chamomile as they flower, blossoms and all.
- Harvest garlic when several of the lower leaves go brown, but five or six up top are still green. Dig it out, don’t try to pull it up by the above-ground stems, and put in shady place to cure with the stems on. Save the biggest and best cloves for planting in the fall.
- Pinch off suckers from tomatoes and keep them staked. The suckers will turn into new growth and take away nutrients, water and light from your already forming fruit.
- Stop feeding woody plants. Promoting more soft growth in high summer and beyond isn’t good; time for them to start moving naturally toward the hardening-off phase of their cycle. No more fertilization till late winter or earliest spring.
- One of our subscribers sent us this helpful guide for beginners Vegetable Gardening for Dummies – a recently published visual guide helpful for novices and those looking to get started in gardening.
- In our next VegOut we will talk about planting at the end of July for a fall harvest.
- Finally, remember to sit and enjoy your garden on a warm summer evening.
Happy July gardening!