July Gardening 2013

by Jane Ahrens

From Mélie’s Garden 2013

To say that gardening in June this year has been challenging may be an understatement! The rain and fog made the task unusually difficult. New plants either thrived or quickly expired. A number of the seeds I planted did not germinate and rotted in the wet soil. Many plants, like iris and hydrangeas loved the weather and look glorious, but the weeds also liked the dampness and thrived.

The first challenge in July is to get rid of those weeds! Teri Dunn Chace has written a new informative book called “Eradicate Invasive Plants”. She advises the gardener to eliminate weeds by pulling or solarizing them, which are environmentally friendly methods. However, when confronted with an overwhelming infestation, she suggests making a homemade weed killer of 1 gallon of white vinegar, 1 cup of table salt and 1 tablespoon of dish washing liquid. Mix all ingredients together and spray carefully, so you do not to hurt the nearby plants you want to grow. Ms. Chace recommends that to be truly successful in fighting weeds, the gardener needs to learn the biology of the weed they are trying to eliminate and to get rid of it during the appropriate time in its growing cycle.

  • Roses can be fed one last time this month, deadhead and keep an eye out for black spot. Treat the plant quickly, if it starts, with an organic spray. Dead head and prune back climbing roses, once they have bloomed.
  • Cut back perennials like nepeta (catnip) to encourage a second bloom.
  • Feed containers and potted plants with fish emulsion and cut back foliage to encourage flowering and prevent the plants from becoming too leggie. Pots can also be mulched to retain water and cut down on weeds.
  • Keep an eye on your rain gage to make sure the garden gets a inch of rain per week and be sure to deeply water container plants, they dry out faster than plants in a flowerbed.
  • Take photographs of your flowerbeds and make notes of what works and what doesn’t, so you can make changes once the weather is suitable for transplanting after August 15th.

And finally, if you still have any energy, keep planting seeds in your vegetable garden every two weeks for a late summer to early fall crop. Lettuce, beets, radishes, zucchini, carrots, chard, kale and beans are good suggestions of seeds to plant.

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay . Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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