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July Gardening Tasks


Expand the categories below to learn more about what you need to do this month.

Vegetables

Harvest tomatoes at the “mature green” stage (when green tomatoes turn light green) or slightly pink and ripen indoors in the cool of your house. High temperatures inhibit ripening but 70 degree indoor temperatures will bring about rapid ripening.

High July day and night temperatures may cause blooms to abort on regular size tomatoes and green peppers. There is little you can do about this but to wait for cooler temperatures (days: 85-90 degrees F or less). Fortunately though, heat has little effect on cherry-type tomatoes and hot peppers.

It’s still summer, but you need to start planning your fall garden now! Clear out weeds regularly, to prevent competition with your crops for nutrients, space and water. Moreover, they serve as reservoirs for diseases and pests that could get into the garden.

Practice “situational awareness” in the garden and visit and observe your garden at least twice a day, once in the morning and again at dusk. Keep an eye out for pests and beginning diseases on garden plants, as early treatment is always best. Keep an eye out especially for stinkbugs, leaf-footed bugs, hornworms, corn earworm (tomato fruitworm), cucumber beetle, and squash vine borer in the garden. Watch carefully for leaf and stem diseases on tomatoes. Early intervention is critical.

Clear away any diseased and dried out foliage on vegetable plants and on the ground around vegetable plants. When you water, keep water from splashing up on leaves and stems.

Scientists have known for more than a decade that tobacco and tomato hornworms glow blueish or greenish when seen under short-wavelength UV light. Recently, UV flashlights have become widely available and can be purchased for under $15, making night-hunting for hornworms easy and painless. Just look for the glowing critters, pick them off and drop them in soapy water or save them for your backyard chickens! This UV technique will increase your ability to find hornworms considerably!

Consider “trap plants” such as sunflowers or grain sorghum around tomatoes for attracting leaf-footed bugs away from your tomatoes.

Where possible, try to use low-impact pest and disease controls on your garden. Use spinosad or pyrethrum for chewing insects like grasshoppers and flea beetles. Use insecticidal soap for aphids, thrips and whiteflies. Diatomaceous earth is useful for slug control and for aphids and thrips. Neem oil is useful as both an insecticide and fungicide (powdery mildew). Old fallbacks for garden pest control include things like carbaryl or fungi such as chlorothalonil or a copper fungicide.

Check your tomatoes and other susceptible crops for blossom end rot on the fruit as it begins to form. This is usually an indication of a calcium deficiency. Place and work in a handful of gypsum (land plaster) in the soil beside the tomato at planting (or later) to help prevent this. Foliar sprays such as blossom end rot spray may help alleviate the problem in tomatoes. Nothing will "heal" the fruit with rot on it, so remove and discard them. You can minimize blossom end rot issues in tomatoes, peppers and squash by maintaining a good soil pH (6-6.5), keeping the soil evenly moist (use mulches), avoiding fertilizers with high urea or ammoniacal nitrogen, and maintaining good soil fertility.

Some planting times for more common vegetables for this time:

Pole beans, lima beans - Jul. 1 – August 1

Cucumbers - Jul. 15 - August 15

Bell Peppers - Jul. 15 – August 10

Summer squash - Jul. 25 – August 25

Tomatoes – June 15 – July 15

If you’re going to raise seedling transplants of cool season cole crops such as cabbage and collards, start indoors now in the cool of the house and allow about 6-8 weeks before planting in the fall.

Planting time for cole crops:

Broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, collards – plant in the garden between August 1-September 1 from transplants.

Cauliflower – August 1-August 15 from transplants.

Cabbage – August 1-October 1 from transplants.

Solarize the vegetable garden patch using solar heat that you plan to use for fall planting. It takes four to six weeks to kill weeds, disease and nematodes, so start now. Call the Hall County Master Gardeners for details on how to do this!

Fruits

Flowers

Trees

Irrigation

Houseplants





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