July Sustainable Garden Top 10 Checklist
Summer is here in Pemberton and where in years past, we have been dealing with drought and smokey skies from local forest fires, luckily this July, Nature is doing all the hard work for us as we are having heavy rainy days interspersed with hot sunny days. It feels like I am in the tropics instead of the temperate zone! And it's Awesome!
Remember that planting more vegetable seeds now will produce a vastly extended harvest period, and planting more flower seeds will extend your garden’s bloom time, and improve pollination of late crops like cucumbers and pumpkins.
And now is the time to seriously consider planting seeds for fall and winter harvest. Check out more tips below:
1. By now our sweet strawberries have been devoured by a combination of twin boys, birds and perhaps a bunny or two and so it is a perfect time to snip off healthy young runners to plant else where in the garden beds.
2. While the cherries are all but eaten, the raspberries, blueberries and apple trees are growing quickly, and often attract pests, keep a close visual on their leaves and fruit and give them a solid spray from the hose if you see aphids
3. With the rain and heat, the growth seems exponential, we spend a lot of time deadheading roses and other spring-flowering plants to trick the plants from going to seed, and keep the blooms going, as well as pruning to ground level lupines, dianthus, bee balms and delphiniums for a autumn-flush of flowering
4. Add bone meal to your dahlias, roses and heavy vegetable feeders such as tomatoes and potatoes
5. Now is the perfect time to give all your container plants a solid feed of liquid seaweed to keep the foliage lush, or liquid fish for more blooms, as they don't have the benefit of being able to tap into the ground soil like your bedding plants
6. If your bearded irises are anything like ours, it is time to divide the thick clumps as they are due for a transplant; might plant the new division in a shadier part of the back yard to prolong the show of flowers. We are finding the direct heat from the south-facing front yard to be too harsh for their delicate flowers
7. Keep on top of weeding, at least weekly during the rampant growth of July, by starting at one end of your garden and working your way to the other end; and then repeat
8. Add another layer of organic mulch over your garden beds to benefit the soil, but also to keep the root systems cool during the heat of summer
9. Keep harvesting your carrots, potatoes, snow peas and salad greens to keep the plants blooming and to avoid them going to seed
10. If your veggie beds are starting to look thin, why not think about succession planting? Sow seeds now, and reap the benefits into the next season!
This is our list of seeds to start in July (as per my go-to site, West Coast Seeds):
Direct sow outdoors:
*Bush and Pole Beans (harvest September)
*Beets (harvest late September to December)
*Brussel Sprouts (direct sow now for autumn and winter harvests
*Carrots (last chance to sow seeds for autumn and winter harvests)
*Cauliflower (start indoors, to transplant in August for spring harvest)
*Cosmos (direct sow for autumn blooms)
*Kale (direct sow for autumn and winter harvests)
*Lettuce (direct sow for baby salad greens in August)
*Mesclun (direct sow weekly for baby greens by August)
*Nasturtiums (direct sow for edible flowers in September)
*Peas (direct sow for autumn harvest)
*Spinach (direct sow for harvesting baby greens in August)