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Gardening during the Dog Days of Summer

July can be a busy month in the garden, whether you’re tending to flowers, vegetablsummergardenes or fruit or a mishmash of all three.

Whether you have an avid green thumb or are just starting out in the garden consider the following pointers to keep your garden pretty and perky throughout the month of July and beyond:

Flower Power

Remove old blossoms on roses, perennials and annuals so that blooms will continue with a strong showing. Because many annuals such as petunias get leggy with long leaf-less stems by this time, you’re best to cut them back to encourage new growth and flowering.

Frequent pruning will keep most annuals full. Consider pruning back to a set of leaves on one stem per week per plant. Or prune all stems by one third which will leave you without flowers for a few weeks.

Don’t forget to pinch mums to encourage a full, colorful fall flower display. Give late-blooming perennials, such as sedum and aster a quick trim by cutting plants back by one-third.

 

Early-season bloomers, like delphinium, daisy, and campanula should be trimmed by one-half to one-third. You may be rewarded with a second blooming.

 

Be sure to keep an eye each day on the water needs of your containers as they tend to dry out sooner than flowers and plants in the ground.

 

Let it Flow

If you can, replace your sprinkler with a soaker hose or drip tube system as these do a better job of bringing water directly to the soil.

Keep an eye on your water. Watch automatic irrigation systems while they’re doing their job. You want to ensure that you’re not wasting water by watering sidewalks or driveways.

Rain barrels are great because they catch water runoff from your roof. Make sure yours has a cover to avoid little ones and animals from falling in.

Consider using a timer on sprinklers and automatic irrigation systems. Buy one with a rainfall shut-off device. These newer gizmos actually adjust watering frequency based on weather intel gathered from the local weather observation stations.

 

Edgy Veggies

Your vegetable garden should be thoroughly watered during the hot dry weather July often brings. Try not to water in the later afternoon or evening. Avoid wetting the undergrowth of plants, especially those that are disease prone such as tomatoes and squash.

If your veggies and fruit has rotted and fallen to the ground, pick them up and toss in your composter as rotting vegetables and fruit attracts pests and can encourage disease.

 

Control your weeds otherwise they will take over your plants and use up space, nutrients and water from your plants. Don’t add weeds to your compost. Try to mulch between your rows of plants. Try to mow away from your garden so that seeds don’t get a chance to invade your garden.

Think about extending our short garden season by preserving food. Root vegetables, potatoes and onions can be stored in a cool, dry spot. Try canning or drying.

July can be a busy month in your garden. If you’re not up to it, you can always try hammock gardening, the low-maintenance kind for lazy gardeners. More on that next month.

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