Monthly Garden Calendar for Pacific Coast South United States

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By Anita Noone

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JULY

Most areas will have considerable heat this month, although clouds may hang around at the coast. The heat and dryness mean that you are on vacation from most planting chores. Harvest your vegetables, stay on top of your watering chores, and enjoy the bounty of the summer.

Planting Time. Tropical and sub-tropical plants may be planted this month. Biennials, such as foxgloves, may be started from seed.

Don't Forget to Deadhead. 'Dead-heading' (picking spent flowers) is a good practice in general, but especially important with large landscape plants, such as hydrangeas. Once hydrangeas are finished blooming, they may be cut back severely, leaving only two buds. Don't prune the green hydrangea stems that didn't bloom. They should bloom next year.

Landscaping Tip. Vincas, marigolds, and portulaca may be added to the landscape to fill in empty places. They stand up well to the heat of the summer. Remember to give your transplants some extra water while they are getting established.

Don't Water Native Plants This Month. Watering now may encourage crown or root rot. Imitate mother nature, and wait until there is at least the possibility of rain in the fall before you water.

Veggie Planting. You can add sets of basil, cucumber, eggplant, melon, pepper, and tomato, if you have any room in your vegetable garden. More likely, you are spending time trying to stake and trellis what you already have growing. Remember that tomatoes are raised for their fruit, not their greenery. Clip suckers off tomato plants and continue to lightly prune throughout the growing season.

Keep an Eye on Ripening Vegetables. Summer squash should be picked while the skin is still thin. Use the squash flowers in stir fries, in salads, or stuffed and steamed.

Water in the Orchard. Regular and deep watering encourages a strong, healthy root system. If avocado or citrus dry out, they may drop fruit.

Bulb Tip. Harvest the flowers from your summer-flowering bulbs and do not allow the plant to set seed. Producing and ripening seed requires energy that the plant should be devoting to the bulb, so that next year the plant has plenty of strength to bloom.

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