July is probably my favorite month of the gardening season: Most big projects have either been completed or deferred until next year, most everything is already planted, and the yard is blooming with lots of flowers.
This is the month to enjoy a few lazy summer days before the dog days—er, harvest days—of August set in.
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In the June garden, we spent a lot of time weeding, planting, and harvesting spring crops.
This month, we’ll make sure that the last of the summer crops are in and everything is seeded for fall.
Need more tips? Check out my Year-Round Gardening Calendar.
Following are some ideas for how to prioritize your activities in the July garden. These tasks are based on my gardening in USDA hardiness zone 6a. You may need to make adjustments for your climate.
1. July Harvest
Though you might have seedlings to plant, seeds to sow, and weeds to pick, your most important task is to harvest AND USE what you’ve already grown.
Harvest the low maintenance, high value crops first, and figure out how to use them in the kitchen. I always ask myself the question: If I can’t manage what I’m already growing, why would I plant more? Just do what you can and enjoy it.
- Calendula (Use dried calendula to make an herbal salve)
- Lemon balm
- Nasturtium (Add some leaves or flowers to your salads – they’ll give it a nice zing!)
- Sweet alyssum
Harvesting Perennial Crops
- Black raspberries
- Currants (Learn 4 ways to use currants…liqueur, anyone?)
2. July Garden Planning
July takes lots of organization for me to feel successful in the garden. Why? Because it’s difficult to balance harvesting and using warm weather crops while planning and planting my fall garden.
Here are the tasks that help keep me organized. Don’t forget I’m gardening in USDA hardiness zone 6a – you may need to make adjustments for your climate.
Starting Seeds Under Grow Lights
- Fall collards
- Fall Swiss chard
- Lettuce (Parris Island romaine from Botanical Interests is one of my favorites!)
Sowing Seeds Outside
Did you leave space in your July garden plan for sowing fall crops?
- Beet family crops:
- Cabbage family crops:
- Kohlrabi (Purple kohlrabi looks great in an edible landscape!)
- Turnips (Try the purple top white globe turnips for fall growing)
- Carrots (Here are my tips for growing carrots year-round)
- Perennial sunflowers (Learn 8 reasons to grow them in your garden)
- Peas (Try sugar snaps)
Sure, July is the month to start sowing and planting fall crops (already!), but I still name this Hammock Month. If you’re lucky enough to have a hammock, I hope you’re putting it to good use!
If you don’t want to direct sow your fall crops, check your local garden store or farmer’s market for seedlings.
- Cabbage family:
- Swiss chard (Here’s how I plant Swiss chard in the edible landscape)
3. July Garden Maintenance
Here are some of the maintenance tasks I like to focus on in July.
Watering & Weeding
- Proper watering can make all the difference in your garden. If you want to learn more check out How to Grow More Vegetables – it’s chock-full of useful information, including lots of details about watering.
- Don’t let the weeds drive you crazy! Here are five weeds to celebrate.
- This is a good time to prune fruit trees and berry bushes that are finished fruiting for the year. For example, this is how I train and prune black raspberries.
- Collect flower and herb seeds. (Here are my tips for saving seeds)
Enjoy your hammock time! In August we’ll start bringing in mega-harvests and figuring out what to do with it all.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the garden this time of year? Your least favorite thing to do?