Summer

From Antivist

  • Lots of wood to chop, split and stack.
  • Move pine scraps to pallets (get pallets) behind woodshed and tarp them. Save these for sugaring in March (used outside, burn hot - not good for stove, too much resin).
  • It would be nice to get to the standing dead wood and other trees that need clearing as soon as the green wood is stacked. If not, at least marking them with red spray paint so when the leaves fall we know which are dying/need to be removed. Go walk out there and see if I can figure out where we can bring the pickup in so we can get to the wood to bring it out of there (stop fantasizing about getting a draft horse for this job!).
  • Prep and jar dried mugwort and yarrow. Label jars - red clover too (gathered in July).
  • Prepare other mason jars for canning. Buy more lids?
  • Dump green beans from previous owner into compost pile. Wash jars. All thirty-something of them.
  • Make list of maple sugaring supplies (gallon jugs from milk, large shallow steel pans, fire bricks, etc) and keep eyes open for them. Plenty of time for this, but time is what allows us to get things for free instead of having to buy them because suddenly it's February.

Contents

June

By the month of June, all northen hemisphere gardens are in full throttle. Garden chores are almost equalized across zones. Warmer climates are still ahead of the game, shifting into a transition period northern gardeners don�t experience. But crops are still growing, insects are still feasting and, despite the heat and humidity, this is not the time to rest.

  • Work around the humidity (early am, late afternoon / evening)
  • Keep new plants well watered
  • Check your mulch
  • Side dress with compost or manure or feed with fish emulsion, for mid-season pick-up
  • Check foliage for signs of nutrient deficiency
  • Give the compost a turn
  • Give your houseplants a summer vacation outdoors
  • Make sure the birds have fresh water

Ornamentals

  • Keep up on deadheading, for long season bloom
  • Pinch back tall growing fall bloomers like asters, monarda and helianthus

Vegetables

  • Stop harvesting asparagus and rhubarb
  • Replace crops that have bolted with the heat and cool season flowers, like pansies
  • Get any remaining warm season vegetables in the ground
  • Keep up blanching of celery, cauliflower and tender greens
  • Plant a new batch of bush beans every couple of weeks
  • Keep tomato plants staked as they grow.
  • Pinch out suckers.
  • Put a couple of drops of mineral oil on corn silks within a week after they appear, to prevent corn earworm

Fruit

  • Be prepared for â��June Dropâ�� of fruit from fruit trees. Theyâ��re just thinning out to a manageable crop size. Clean up any fallen fruit.
  • Protect ripening berries with nets or row covers

Trees & Shrubs

  • If you want to prune or shear your evergreens, do so as soon as the new growth starts to turn a darker green. Once the wisteria finishes blooming, you can do a maintenance pruning to keep it in check

Pests

  • Summer is for insects. Be vigilant!
  • Keep watch for 4-lined plant bug damage, especially on the mint family
  • Japanese Beetles - Theyâ��re back!

July

If only July were more predictable in the garden. It doesn�t matter how wet the spring was, rain can become very elusive in July. Humidity begins to peak. So there�s no definitive list of gardening chores for the July garden. Gardeners just have to play it by ear. Most importantly, keep a close eye on pests and disease, then sit back and enjoy your garden and all the efforts you put in earlier in the year to get it where it is now.

  • Slow down and give you and your plants a rest from the heat
  • Give plants a mid-season feeding or side dressing, to get them through to the fall
  • Keep tabs on rainfall and water as needed
  • Stay ahead of weeds
  • Replace mulch as needed
  • Check garden centers for mark downs on remaining plants
  • Keep lawns at about 3", to protect from summer heat
  • Keep bird feeders and baths clean

Ornamentals

  • Keep up on deadheading
  • Shear back spent annuals by 1/3
  • Focus on heat and rain resistant flowers like: coleus, hibiscus, melampodium, pentas, plumbago, portulaca and zinnias
  • Do a final pinching by mid-July, of fall blooming flowers like mums and asters

Vegetables

  • Harvest daily.
  • Find a Plant a Row for the Hungry program to donate to
  • Reseed beans and lettuce
  • Start fall crops of peas and cole crops
  • Time to dig the garlic, onions and potatoes.
  • Treat yourself to some new potatoes.
  • Carefully loosen the soil under your plants to find a few small potatoes to harvest
  • Plant a cover crop in bare spots in the vegetable garden

Fruit

  • Check berries regularly to harvest before the birds get them
  • Clean up fallen fruits under trees
  • Check fruit trees for water sprouts (branches growing straight up from limbs) and remove

Trees & Shrubs

  • Prune summer flowering shrubs as soon as the blossoms fade
  • Hold off on planting until the fall. If you must transplant, keep well watered.

Pests to Watch For

  • Thrips (distorted flowers)
  • Spider mites (undersides of leaves)
  • Tomato fruitworm
  • Tomato horn worm
  • Chinch bugs in lawns
  • Be alert for Japanese beetles.

August

For many gardeners the month of August begins the downhill slide into off season. Warm climate gardeners have a second chance, but some don't have a second wind after summer's heat. Your garden is hardier than you think and there are plenty of gardening tasks for August that will keep your flower and vegetable gardens going longer, as well as opportunities to get a head start on next year's garden plans.

  • Seed a fall crop of peas and spinach and keep harvesting. There's always something to make with zucchini.
  • Pick herbs for fresh use and for drying. Harvesting will keep them growing longer.
  • Order spring bulbs for planting and forcing.
  • Check that your mulch hasn't decomposed and add more as needed.
  • Spread a mid-season layer of compost or manure.
  • Keep deadheading and harvesting.
  • Leave some annual seeds to self-sow.
  • Start saving seeds and taking cuttings.
  • Remove any diseased foliage now, so it doesn't get lost in the fall leaves.
  • Cut back the foliage of early bloomers like Brunnera and hardy geraniums, to revitalize the plants.
  • Prune summer flowering shrubs as the flowers fade.
  • Trim and feed handing baskets to prolong their beauty.
  • Take pictures of your garden at peak. Take pictures of container combinations you'd like to repeat.
  • Make sure the cold frame is ready to go.
  • Begin dividing perennials. Start with the bearded iris.
  • Pot up perennial divisions for spring plant swaps. Sink the pots into the ground this fall and they'll be one less chore in the spring.
  • Plant trees, shrubs and perennials now, so they can take root, and keep them well watered.
  • Get your fall-blooming crocus and colchicum planted so they'll bloom on time.

Keep Lettuce Growing in the Heat of Summer

It's not impossible to grow lettuce throughout the summer, but it does take a little extra thought. First, choose leaf varieties rather than head forming lettuces. You can cut leaf lettuces as soon as the outer leaves reach about 4-6 inches in height. Cut just these outer leaves and allow the center leaves to continue growing. This is called 'Cut and Come Again' and it tends to shock the lettuce plant, preventing it from thinking it has matured and should go to seed or bolt.

Secondly, plant your lettuce in the shade of taller plants. Lettuce needs more sun in the cool spring than it does in summer. Positioning lettuce plants around tomato plants will provide full sun in spring while the tomatoes are still short, but will offer relief from the intense summer sun.

Thirdly, regular watering makes plants very forgiving. Water your lettuce plants everyday, more if it is extremely hot and dry.

If all else fails and it looks like your lettuce plants are ready to bolt, dig them out of the ground and replant them. As with 'cut and come again', this is a shock to the plant's system and your lettuce seedling will once again focus on growing roots and put off setting seed. Don't keep them out of the ground or allow them to dry out. Just the act of lifting them is enough of a shock.

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