Monthly Garden Calendar for Southwest United States

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By John Dromgoole

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JULY

The days may be long and hot, yet this is the time to start your fall vegetable garden. You can even plant some seeds in your garden's warm soil now.

Seed Starting. Early in the month start seeds of eggplant, peppers (fall is great for peppers), and tomatoes. You can also plant winter squash and southern peas in the garden now. Direct seed pumpkins this month, too. Be sure all seeds stay evenly moist as they germinate and begin sprouting up.

Thin Those Fruit Trees. There is nothing more disappointing than finding a limb full of fruit on the ground in the orchard. Remember to thin fruits by pinching off those growing close together and support limbs that are overburdened with fruit.

Pruning Tip. Prune off blackberry canes that are through producing by cutting them off at ground level. Next year's fruit crop is in this year's new wood. After pruning, mulch around the remaining canes and water well.

Sunflower Savvy. Sow sunflowers in successive plantings about every three weeks and you'll have a long season of them.

Garden Color. More color for the late summer and fall garden comes from bachelor's buttons and cockscomb. Marigolds planted now are magnificent in the cool fall garden. Petunias, portulaca, vinca and salvias will all offer old-fashioned color in your garden.

Lawn Care. Treat your lawn to a half-inch layer of compost to help it become much more drought tolerant. Lawns watered deeply and infrequently, about every 8 days, develop a deep root system.

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