It is hot outside and it is going to be that way for several more months. So I try working during the early morning or late afternoon. I know we cannot always pick our time but I always wear a hat and drink plenty of water. Here are some things I am doing.
Number one is mending my fences. It was once said "Good fences make good neighbors". I still think it works today. Fences keep in the pets, give us privacy and define property lines. For some reason many of us just like to know what is ours and fences can do this for us. So I am repairing my fences - It's going to make them look a lot better too.
Next job is getting the water garden in shape. The fish and lilies have not been happy. I am getting out the organic residues that have accumulated over the last years and adding some new lilies. It already looks a lot better.
July is getting the garden ready for planting time too. The only crop in the ground is sweet potatoes. The rest of the crops are coming out and the soil is being prepared for fall planting. I am lucky to have the spent mushroom soil within driving range. When available the whole garden gets several inches of this nutrient rich organic matter. You can use compost or other forms of organic matter to do the same.
High on my list is starting seedlings of tomatoes and peppers. We will start them in mid July. If you like eggplant, these seeds should also be sown. You want to have transplants ready for a mid August planting date. This ensures good plant growth and production when the moderating temperatures return in October.
Now, what have you Gotta Do? Maybe you can find some more suggestions among my list for the month of July.
- Lawns should be encouraged to make good growth and develop an extensive root system.
- Apply a mid summer feeding with a slow release fertilizer, where permitted.
- Some lawns are yellowing; try to renew the green with an iron only application if permitted.
- Seasonal rains often provide adequate moisture; water only during dry times.
- Lawn moths arrived early; control sod webworms when chewing damage is noted.
- Chinch bugs have been active in St. Augustine lawns; control at first sign of turf decline.
- Some chinch bug controls are no longer effective; ask for an alternative if damage continues.
- When you need to have turf problems identified, take a sample to your local extension office.
- Mow lawns at least weekly at their proper height; take different directions to prevent ruts.
- Leave grass clippings on regularly mowed lawns to return nutrients to the turf.
- New lawns can be established from seed, sod or plugs
- Avoid sodding shady spots during the rainy season to prevent decline due to rot problems.
- Spot treat weeds, invading turf, during the cooler portion of the day.
Vegetable and fruit care:
- One more month to go before your next major garden: get the site ready.
- Remove weeds, till in organic matter and adjust soil acidity to be ready to plant next month.
- Use homemade or local compost, manures or commercial garden soil to improve sandy soils.
- Remove declining crops to help eliminate pests before the next plantings.
- Cover vacant garden soil with clear plastic for eight weeks to bake out pests.
- Small raised beds or large containers make excellent garden sites for beginners.
- Make sure all gardens have a daylong full sun exposure and a nearby water source.
- Feed summer vegetable plantings monthly or use a slow release fertilizer as instructed.
- Start new tomato, pepper and eggplant seedlings in small pots or cell packs in mid July.
- Carefully select herbs for summer planting; most grow best in containers.
- Locate or order seeds for late summer planting; place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
- Many banana and papaya plants are fruiting; feed monthly for best production.
- Complete bunch grape harvests and begin picking ripening muscadines.
- Add new fruit plantings to the landscape; make sure they stay moist.
- Maintain citrus tree feedings and insect sprays to prevent greening.
- Keep figs moist, feed lightly and maintain a mulch to avoid summer fruit drop.
- Prune blueberries when the harvest is over; also check and adjust the soil acidity.
In the landscape:
- Mosquitoes are a concern when working in the landscape; apply repellents and coverup.
- Empty water from pots, old tires and similar containers to help reduce mosquitos.
- Work during the cooler portion of the day or find a shady spot; wear a hat and use sun screen.
- Container grown trees, shrubs and ground covers can still be added to the landscape.
- One big secret to new plant survival is keeping the root ball moist until established.
- Pruning time for azaleas and camellias is over; continue to prune gardenias and bougainvillea.
- Hibiscus, crape myrtles and similar summer bloomers can be pruned but you lose the color.
- Remove 4- to 6-inches of new growth from poinsettias to encourage compact growth.
- Prune hydrangeas to remove old flower clusters and reshape plants when the blossoms fade.
- Bring the indoor foliage outside to create a tropical look during the summer.
- Hang orchids from trees and feed every other week for best growth and flowering.
- Ground covers can be hard to find for shady areas; consider using bromeliads.
- Use easy to maintain container gardens as accents for entrances, porches and patios.
- Feed outdoor container plantings every two weeks or use as slow release fertilizer as labeled.
- Rains encourage out of bounds growth; prune plantings and edge walkways as needed.
- Feed new and established palms every other month or use a slow release fertilizer as labeled.
- Many palms are declining due to diseases; sterilize pruners between palms
- Leave as many green fronds on your palms as possible to keep them vigorous and healthy.
House and foliage plants:
- Mealy bugs & scale insects are major foliage pests; control with a natural spray when noted.
- Give your foliage plants a vacation; move them outdoors to a shady spot for summer.
- Fill containers with foliage plants for the shady areas of patios, entrances and along walkways.
- Groom and divide indoor plants to keep them attractive.
- Transplant root bound foliage plants into larger containers.
- Make sure new containers and established plants have adequate drainage
- Feed home and outdoor foliage plants with a slow release fertilizer as instructed.
Flowers: Angelonia, ageratum, begonia, blue daze, bush daisy, butterfly plant, bulbine, cat's whiskers, coleus, crossandra, false heather, fire spike, gaillardia, ginger, goldenrod, impatiens, Joseph's coat, lantana, marigold, melampodium, Mexican petunia, Mexican sunflower, moon flower, ornamental sweet potato, pentas, periwinkle, porter weed, portulaca, purslane, salvia, sunflower, torenia and classic zinnia.
Vegetables: Boniato, calabaza, cherry tomato, okra, Southern pea, Seminole pumpkin, sweet cassava, roselle, sweet potato and yard-long bean; start transplants of eggplant, peppers and tomatoes from seed in mid July.
Herbs: Anise, basil, bay laurel, chive, dill, ginger, lemon balm, Mexican tarragon, mint, oregano, sage, sweet marjoram and thyme.
Bulb-type plants: Achimenes, African iris, bulbine, caladium, canna, crinum, crocosmia, day lily, eucharis lily, gladiolus, gloriosa lily, peacock ginger, society garlic, spiderwort, rain lily and walking iris.