Hello July! While there are still things to be done in the garden, it’s also time to sit back and enjoy all your hard work. But how can you keep garden work in the hot summer months to a minimum and also keep your garden flourishing?
The Prairie Gardens Plant Experts recommend these 8 simple things to focus on with a July Garden Checklist. Each one will save you time in the long run, so you can get back to enjoying your garden instead of laboring in your garden.
One thing we can often underestimate is how much more watering we need to do once the heat picks up, especially when it comes to our containers and hanging baskets. Exposed more to the wind and more root bound than our garden beds, containers and baskets will dry out much more quickly. It’s important to check them in the morning and water early so they go into the heat of the day prepared with moisture. It’s also important to make sure that your not just watering our new annual plantings, but also any shrubs, trees, and perennials you planted this year.
Mulching accomplishes several things and can make all the difference in whether your plants thrive this summer or just limp along. It helps hold in moisture, moderates soil temps, and cuts down on weed competition…all the while giving you a more rewarding plant or garden and saving you a whole bunch of watering, weeding, and care time. Our favorite mulch to do these tricks? Shredded bark.
FRESHENING UP YOUR CONTAINERS
Now is the time when you may start noticing your containers or hanging baskets looking a little tired. It’s important in the heat of the summer to be deadheading, cleaning up spent flowers, and removing any damaged or yellow leaves.
Plus, trimming back your containers can also help to stimulate new growth. If needed, you can also do some staking or supporting.
Lastly, if something looks like it’s just had it, pop out 1 or 2 plants here and there and add in a couple new ones. You can still find a wonderful selection of new plants fresh from the PG Greenhouses all July long.
SCOUTING FOR INSECT PESTS
A daily garden walk and scouting for insects and pests is really essential to keeping damage to a minimum and treating the issue early before it gets out of hand. In our area we often battle Bagworms, Japanese beetles, Spider Mites, Tomato Hornworms and a whole bunch of other pesky problems. Things can change quickly and damage often seems to pop up overnight, so make sure you’re getting out there daily to find problems and get them taken care of early.
Since we’re still in the active growing season, fertilizing is a great thing to be doing, especially with your containers and hanging baskets. Every time we water our containers and hanging baskets, some nutrients are escaping out of the soil along with our water. Luckily, we can reintroduce them back into the soil with plant food, such a liquid-soluble fertilizer, which is typically applied about once a week.
Find fertilizing options on our Prairie Gardens solutions wall and ask for a PG Plant Expert if you have any questions.
Unfortunately, with the heat, come the weeds. You’ll find them flourishing more as temperatures rise. Get out there and tackle them early before they get out of hand. While it’s not the most fun, digging weeds up the old-fashioned way by hand is typically the best way to get rid of them.
Just like we should be scouting for insects and pests, we should also be scouting our vegetable and herb gardens to see how soon that pepper or that tomato is going to get ripe.
Plus, with your herbs, like basil and cilantro, you want to make sure you’re harvesting frequently and before they flower or go to seed, which can cause them to loose some of their flavor. So get out there and get scouting!
Things can happen quickly once the heat picks up and you want to make sure you are getting things to encourage more harvests and stimulate new growth.
SIT BACK, ENJOY & GARDEN DREAM
Sometimes we forget to step back and enjoy all your hard work. Take the time to get out there and enjoy your garden. In the midst of the garden season is also the best time to take a step back and start garden dreaming. What would you like to add next year or what would you tweak? Take note of it now and enjoy thinking up fun new possibilities to take it up a notch next year.
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Prairie Gardens is a Home Décor & Garden Center located in Champaign IL with 4 regional stores called Jeffrey Alans located in Springfield, Normal, Peoria & Terre Haute