July Veggie Garden To Do List

Garden Can_optSummer’s here… garden’s planted…seedlings are growing. So, what’s next? Time for a bit of TLC to help plants thrive through Bedford’s hot summer weather and produce a bountiful harvest:

Water – As the weather warms up, plant hydration is crucial. Gardens need an inch of water a week. You can pick up an inexpensive rain gauge at a local garden center to track whether plants are thirsty. Best to water early in the day. Water deeply and at the roots (vs. watering plant foliage). Container plants need extra attention — two waterings a day if the weather is hot and dry.

Weed – It’s everyone’s least favorite garden chore, but those pesky weeds are competing with garden plants for moisture, nutrients and light. Be sure to make a pass of garden beds and containers to remove weeds once a week.

Mulch – Adding a fresh layer of mulch in July will help your plants retain moisture, and will help in the battle against weeds.

Pest-Alert: Be on the look-out for garden pests like slugs — which can be treated by putting out shallow dishes of beer and handpicking in the early morning. Click here for info on dealing with slugs, snails, Japanese Beetles.

Feed: Lightly feed (with an organic fertilizer) long-season plants like tomatoes and peppers to encourage growth. Feed container plants once or twice a month.

Harvest-Herbs: For peak flavor, harvest herbs like basil, sage, mint and oregano BEFORE they flower. Pinch the stems regularly to prolong the harvest season for these herbs.

July is also a great time to be on the look out for simple preparation ideas for enjoying your summer bounty! Check out this week’s Zucchini Strata recipe or feel free to review our previous recipes for Sweet Pea and Leek Savory Muffins, Asparagus Pesto, Caramelized Leek Tart and more.