This post will help you organize your garden by describing July garden tasks. Be sure to tend to each of these areas in your kitchen garden, flower beds, and cultivated wild spaces this July to ensure a steady harvest and beautiful landscapes every month of the year.
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The Big Picture – Planning and the July Garden
I know, you are thinking, garden planning is a winter thing.
But, July is the time to see your plans manifest. It is time to observe, evaluate and tweek.
It’s also time to look at your crop rotation plan if you have one, and plan the next succession of veggies after you harvest potatoes, onions and garlic.
Flower gardens are in transition, too. It’s time to cut back the remains of spring flowers, mulch and make room for summer blooms. You might need to pull out your garden plans to remember what is where. and what new plants you dreamed about putting where.
Don’t have a plan, you say?
No worries! I’ve got you covered! Click here to learn about my Kitchen Garden Planner and Journal.
The Demands of the July Garden
It is a very demanding time of year for gardening, but you’ve got this!
As the garden dries and warms with the extended daylight of mid-summer, we see the perfect environment for all the threats and stresses to our gardens. Be vigilant or you could see all your June efforts come to naught. Weeds love the warm, dry soil. Bugs love the fruits of all your labors.
On top of these immediate concerns, there are September’s harvests to think about!
Finally, you may just be tired and burnt out from tending to your garden in July, so be sure to prioritize self-care.
Don’t feel overwhelmed, just get yourself a plan. Do the best you can. Eat freshly picked tomatoes or arrange a beautiful bouquet when you need to remember why you started a garden in the first place.
Pests in the July Garden
July garden tasks should prioritize pest management.
By the time the 4th of July has passed the beetles will have arrived in your garden: Japanese beetles, bean beetles, cucumber beetles. While we use organic sprays like Pyrethrin and Monterey, the best remedy to beetle invasions is hand-picking them and placing them in a cup full of soapy water. Not a favorite garden task, I know!
Once you see their damage, turning leaves into lace, you’ll do anything to regain control. After harvesting yesterday, I spent about 2 hours in the garden hunting down the little critters and giving them a bubble bath!
That was very gratifying.
Squash bugs are most likely laying eggs on the leaves of your squash plants by now. The remedy here is to look for those little orange pearls on both the tops and undersides of your squash leaves and remove them by hand, or with some duct tape. If you let the squash bugs hatch, your garden will not be able to support any squash production, including pumpkins.
The squash bugs will simply go from plant to plant leaving a lunar landscape in their path as they simply suck the life out of your zucchini’s, pattipans, and acorn squash.
Tomato hornworms came to our garden one July, about 3 years ago. We handpicked them and fed them to the chickens. We now grow our tomatoes in beds covered with landscape fabric. We’ve not had these monsters of the market garden since taking this preventative measure.
Chickens are disappointed. We’re very happy!
July Gardens Need Irrigation
July garden tasks should include an evaluation and maintenance of your irrigation systems.
If at all possible, don’t water your vegetables in a way that soaks the entire plant, especially in the middle of the day. Top watering with a hand-held hose or watering can invite all kinds of problems to the garden, from heat stress to mildew. The best remedy to summer drought conditions is a system of irrigation established in your beds at the time they are planted. If that didn’t happen or isn’t a possibility in your garden, then water in the early morning for best results.
As you harvest early crops like potatoes, onions, and garlic in early July, it is a great time to install an irrigation system.
Check out this video of 5 watering mistake to avoid in your garden.
July Gardens Have Weeds
Like water, the best weed remedy is established at the time of planting. Ground barriers and landscape fabric can save you hours of backbreaking labor in the garden. Newspaper under squash plants, landscape fabric under tomatoes, green mulches like white clover among your beans – these are the best remedies for summer weeds.
Don’t despair if you did not use preventatives in your spring plantings. By mid-July, you have harvested all the crops planted in early spring. Open spaces in your garden provide room for summer and fall plantings. This is the perfect time to choose a weed barrier and give it a try. (Remember to install an irrigation system under the fabric!)
I’ve taken up the practice of naming my weeds
You may now know I’m all about cultivating wild spaces within your yard. That being said, I’m not into bringing unwanted plants into my vegetable and flower beds.
When a plant appears in a place it is not wanted, we call it a weed.
I am admittedly horrible at identifying weeds by name. It’s become a goal of mine to get on a first name basis with at least the main offenders in my gardens. I recommend you take up this hobby, too.
Learning the names makes identification easier. The earlier you can recognize an unwanted plant in your gardens, the easier it is to eradicate it before roots and seeds grow and become established.
One free study guide that has become indispensable is this nifty little pdf I found on the A Way to Garden website. Margaret Roach is a touchstone in my gardening journey. Her podcast is a weekly must listen! I hope you find the plant identifier helpful in your weed abatement strategies.
Harvesting and Food Preservation in July
Here at the farm, July is THE month that food preservation begins in earnest. Back in June, I was mostly preserving strawberries and tart cherries. Now that July is here, we’re putting up all those potatoes, onions and garlic mentioned earlier.
These vegetables are hardened off by air drying and stored in a cool dark place out of the reach of little hungry critters.
If all goes well, I’ll be canning tomatoes come the end of the month!
String beans will need to be blanched and frozen, herbs dried, and soups made and frozen.
If you are new to food preservation, I invite you to take the FREE 5-Day Food Preservation Bootcamp. It is a course delivered in 5 lessons to your email inbox. It covers all the basics and explores cordial making, shrubs and bitters as safe and affordable ways to preserve summer harvests for winter meals.
July is a Time to Plant Fall Crops
July garden tasks include deciding what vegetables you want to harvest in September and October and planting them now. Most crops require 60-90 days to grow to maturity.
Gardeners are of two minds in the summer garden. One mind is on the current crops, their health, and harvest. The other mind is 60-90 days out. This is called succession planting. You’ll ensure a generous harvest in September with a little planning now.
Thinking ahead even further, remember all those seed starting supplies you put away last month? It’s time to pull them back out again and start broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts for August planting and October-November harvest.
You can direct seed carrots, parsnips, beets, anytime in July and August. Make sure to water these seeds every day to ensure good germination. If your soil temperature gets near or above 80 degrees, hold off on direct seeding until things cool down at the end of August.
I continually direct seed basil around my garden beds through July and August. Large quantities are needed for pestos. I freeze them in one-ounce portions as ingredients for future meals. You can do this with most soft herbs like parsley and cilantro, too.
Flowers and Ornamentals in the July Garden
I’m so happy when July explodes in my gardens. I haven’t quite got my flower succession down and there’s a little bit of a dull period in late June. By July, the garden is exploding with color, flavor, and fragrance!
Echinacea, bee balm, hyssop, borage, roses, day lilies…the lists go on and on.
In addition to these summer blossoms, I also love the way the ornamentals like hostas and grasses are full and lush.
Flowers and ornamentals support a wide variety of life in the July garden. They feed hummingbirds and butterflies. The seeds of ornamental grasses feed the little songbirds.
Tear up your lawn and install beds of ornamentals and flowers to be a better steward of the land you live on!
The Perennials of July
Perennials are a back saver in vegetable and flower gardens. Once planted, they come back, year after year, needing only some weeding and a little fresh compost.
There are perennials I use repeatedly around my house and in the gardens that provide food and ornamentation. Here’s a list of my favorites:
- Raspberries and blackberries
- Walking Onions
As a matter of fact, I created a booklet for the farm that you can download for free by clicking here. I hope you find it a useful resource for your garden planning any time of year!
Fruit Plants in the July Garden
As I write this post, I am battling black knot fungus in my plum tree. It’s very sad and a new threat to my orchard. It evidently thrives in very moist springs, which we’ve had a couple back-to-back. My organic gardener friends recommend I spray with copper sulfate. It’s so bad, I think first I need to cut as much of it out of the tree and burn those trimmings.
So, my advice this July is, while you are harvesting all those summer fruits, be sure to check your fruit plants and trees for disease and pests. Do your research and remedy quickly. The spread will be explosive in the heat and humidity of July.
Container Gardening in July
I love container gardens because they are so versatile. They are scattered all around the property.
Containers of every kind are filled with cascading flowers like nasturtium, and clumps of herbs like sage and thyme.
Pick a theme, and create a container garden or two this July. It is a fast an easy way to bring color and fragrance to a dull area around your home.
Remembering Houseplants in July
Do you bring your houseplants outdoors in the summer months?
I sure do. July is a good time to check and make sure the amount of water and direct sunlight is appropriate to the plant. Pull off dead leaves, fertilize, and move to a better spot if necessary.
Be sure to mark your frost date come fall so you don’t end up damaging the houseplants after they come to vibrant health all summer long.
Tending those Wild Spaces in July
I think that there’s a place for activism in the life of gardeners. I believe that consciously cultivating wild spaces in your yards is an act of radical love for people and planet.
If you have a little, or large, wild space on your property, July is a good time to inspect it for invasive species and work to eradicate them. In my pawpaw patch, I have noticed an explosion of autumn olive. Bob and I will be working in there this weekend cutting them down and pulling them out when we can. I don’t want them choking out the 6 pawpaws that are finally mature in that wild patch in my front yard.
Be Sure to Take Time to Enjoy Your July Garden
Pull out the hammock or chaise lounge, grab your favorite drink, and relax in your garden.
July is the month to prioritize resting in this beautiful space you have created. If you don’t make time to simply be in your gardens, you may find you’ve come to resent all the hard work and expense it took to create them.
This dedicated down time is as much for the garden as it is for you. Just think, what thing of beauty does not enjoy being seen?
That was a lot! Here’s how I prioritize…
Well, you’ve made it to the end of this epic post. Congratulations!
Do you feel overwhelmed? Don’t, many of these chores can be combined, and we all certainly need to prioritize our to do lists!
I focus on one garden bed at a time, or one fruit tree, one area of lawn. I never approach my yard as a whole. That’s a good way to find yourself in overwhelm.
When you have garden time, sit first and choose a specific garden area to work on. Inspect that area, use this post to remind you of what needs to happen in the July Garden. Then, make a list specific to that place on that day. Once the list is complete, be sure to take a break before moving to the next garden bed.
I also think about the future with every garden I create. I use no till methods because I find them to need less maintenance over time. I’m sure to install irrigation when it works for the plants in that garden, and I mulch…a lot.
Be sure to check back for the August garden task where will are harvesting and planting with the fall and winter months in mind.
Garden Tasks by Month
Click the hot links below to see month-specific task lists!
January | February | March | April | May | June
Click here to download the Monthly Garden Task Lists eBook. It is a free and easy way to organize your kitchen garden for steady harvests every month of the year!