It’s mid-summer, your gardens are probably full of color and life is flourishing. Your hard work and efforts are paying off, however it’s too soon to relax.
It’s time to deadhead those faded out flowers. Top off your plant right below the flower itself or just above the first set of healthy leaves. By doing this you’re allowing your plants to put more energy into flowering within the season again.
Removal of dead debris and weeds:
Any part of your plant that has withered or died remove. Not only does it spoil the grandeur of your garden’s appearance it also chances the opportunity for diseases or pests to spread to your other healthy plants. Throw them away, put them in your compost pile or burn them. Spent plants are often easy to remove and going through the little trouble now helps avoid future issues.
It’s been a hot summer with little rain. If your garden is having troubles maintaining a proper amount of moisture I would suggest the addition of mulch if you haven’t done so already. Mulching insulates soil from the intense heat, helps prevent weeds and conserves moisture well.
Organic mulch can help build soil health, improving conditions for beneficial bacteria, fungi and beneficial insects. The hand that turns the battle versus beneficial and harmful bacteria is the conditions of the medium they live in. The happier the soil, the happier your plants will be.
If you’re having insect issues and decide the best course of action is applying pesticides (which is not the wrong option, many times it is one of the only options if you’re to save your crop) be mindful of what you choose to apply. There are many pesticides which would harm your beneficial bugs, bees, ladybirds (ladybugs), mantises, spiders, etc. Understand that the pesticides you choose can also damage the quality of your soil, in doing so; choose your weapons wisely and I would recommend identifying who the enemy is, choosing a pesticide made specifically for the job.
Some alternatives to insecticides:
BT – Bacillus thuringiensis – this is a microbe naturally found in soil (soil-borne bacteria) and has been used since the 1950’s as a natural insect control.
Spinosad – also a natural soil-borne bacteria that helps treat leafminers, thrips and caterpillars.
Beneficial nematodes – very good at killing immature pests.
Milky spores – the Japanese beetle has been a downhill battle for many gardeners, the milky spores reproduce inside grubs killing them with 2-3 weeks and after the grub decomposes millions of new spores are released spreading to other grubs.
Neem oil: Coats insects plugging up breathing holes that are all over insects’ body, don’t use during extreme temperatures.
Diatomaceous earth (DE) – very well rounded and effective product that causes insects to dry out, absorbing the insect’s oils and fats. Needs to be reapplied after rainfall and heavy dew.
Harvest your veggies:
Don’t wait for the fruits of your veggies to completely mature, if you wait too long and your fruits over-mature it will slow the overall fruit production, potentially bringing a premature end to its season.
Some of your plants may be showing some deficiencies and may require you to have to apply nutrients. Do this during cool parts of the day. There are several different varieties of fertilizers to choose from, an example is liquid seaweed; it can be applied as foliar spray giving your plants an immune system boost while also promoting leaf growth.
Last but not least, water your garden. Try to water your plants in the morning or the later evening when the heat isn’t so intense. If it’s too a lot of water will evaporate and watering in direct sunlight can cause leaves to suffer from leaf burn.
Vegetables and Herbs that can be planted in July:
(Basil, Beets, Broccoli, Chinese cabbage, Carrots Cucumbers, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Radishes, Swiss chard, Turnips)
For more information visit Cornell’s gardening guidance page: Cornell Guidance Food Garden
Last updated June 28, 2020