Let’s Talk About July 2016

By Pat Cordray

It’s July, it’s still summer, it’s still hot, it’s still buggy, but at least we have had some rain. We can’t do much about the heat except go inside. We can do a little something about the bugs. And then, there is the jungle growing from all this rain. My jungle in the back yard is in need of a sharpened pair of shears and loppers, how about yours? Even my 2-year-old granddaughter called it a jungle when she went out on Sunday.

July gardening may be more challenging than at other times of the year. But, there are just a few things to get done this month. It is mostly about how you water, but before you water check the soil around the plant. If it is newly planted, check the soil in the area closest to the plant (the roots will not be in the surrounding soil yet). When checking the soil you may notice that it is damp everywhere but closest to the plant. That means the plant has used all of the water it can get to, time to water. In the summer months you may have to water these new plantings daily. Water slowly all around your plant. If you are unsure about how long it takes to water to keep the root ball moist, stop and check. Dig into the soil and see how far down the soil is moist. If you have only watered long enough to wet the top ½ inch, you’re not done, water a little longer. Once the roots become more established you won’t have to water as often.  If you notice that the plant is wilted but the soil is damp, don’t water. The plant is conserving energy and will bounce right back when the sun goes down. If it is still wilted in the morning go ahead and water. The ideal time to water is in the early morning hours but if a plant needs water then by all means water it.

While you are watering check your plants for damage from bugs. The sooner you control them the less money and time you have to spend to get rid of these pests.

I have found that garden shears are magical. They can take an overgrown jungle and make it a beautiful garden. I like to try many different plants that grow all kinds of ways and garden shears help me keep my sanity. I have learned a lot growing this way, both what to do and what not to do. Like when you plant a certain shrub (oak leaf hydrangea) and you think it may not do well, sure enough, it proves you wrong and you have to move it 3 times. How could you believe this little 4” plant (shrimp plant) could possibly grow to be 4’tall and cover your whole bed? Well it can! Who reads those little tags on plants anyway? I do, now! Be wary of a plant that is labeled vigorous. You might need to get the chain saw out!

I do LOVE Gardening,

Pat