July Flower and Herbs

July Flower and Herbs
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July Flower and Herb TipsJuly is the prime month for flower and herbs, but it can also be the toughest time in a garden if nature doesn't cooperate. High temperatures, too much or too little rain and pests of all sorts can put a damper on our blooms and herb harvests.

Watering: Watch the weather and water flower beds at least once a week if it doesn't rain enough to give the soil a good soaking. Herbs such as basil, nasturtium, calendula and dill should be watered during dry spells as well.

Deadheading: Lilies should be blooming now, or have been for a while. Remove the old blooms, or any rounded seedpods that start forming, so the energy can go into the plant and it's tubers instead of spending it to form seeds.

Peony bushes have been finished blooming, and should be deadheaded as well as the seedpods removed. Don't cut back the foliage yet, but clean up around the plants and keep the area weeded. Add a mulch of compost to feed the plants and keep the soil from drying out.

It's time to deadhead annual flowers if you haven't been keeping it up. Petunias, geraniums, snapdragons and most annual flowers need to be deadheaded if you want them to bloom until fall. If they are using their energy to produce seedpods, they most likely won't be producing new blooms. It's only July, and most annuals will bloom until fall if the deadheading is kept up throughout the summer.

Mildew: Powdery mildew is a common problem in the flower and vegetable garden. If it's limited to, one or two annuals pull them up and discard. If it's spreading to other plants, and perennials mix up this recipes and spray on the plant foliage, hitting the top and the underside of the leaves.

1/2 tsp. dish soap (basic Dawn or Ivory)
2 tablespoons baking soda
1-gallon water

Mix the soap and baking soda into the water. A cleaned plastic milk jug works well. Fill it halfway, add the soap and soda, then add the remaining water until the jug is filled. Place the lid on and shake well. This mixture can be poured into a spray bottle and used to spray plants with mildew. Repeat after it rains.

Mulch: If mulch hasn't been placed around vegetables, annual flowers, newly planted trees, shrubs, bushes and perennials, now is the time to do it. Water well first, and then add the mulch all around about 2 inches or so away from the stems. This will help to hold in moisture.

July Flower and Herb Tips

Weeds: It never fails that during the hottest, driest days everything suffers except for the weeds. They seem to thrive in the worst of conditions. If you can't keep up with the weeds, at least be sure they don't go to seed. Either use a weed-wacker to quickly get rid of the worst of them, or use garden sheers to cut off the tops where the seeds will form. Granted, not all weeds spread just by the seeds, but if you are running out of time or for some reason can't weed properly, it will help.

Last Minute Veggies: Some vegetables can still be sown from seed and harvested before the cold arrives in the fall. Look for vegetables that take 60 days or less to mature. These veggies can provide excellent salad ingredients:

Lettuce
Radish
Lettuce
Greens
Cress
Cucumber
Kale
Peas
Bush Beans
Endive
Spinach

July is the peak time of year for vegetables, herbs and flowers. Don’t let it pass you by, even if it is hot, humid and dry.  Work in the early morning before the worst of the heat sets in, and be sure to drink a tall glass of water or iced tea before and after working.

 

About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.

 
 

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