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Your Regional Garden News - Zone 5

July 1 to July 31

 

Discover what you should be doing right now.  Our experts share gardening advice, techniques, news, and ideas to make your garden the best ever.  

Here's what's happening in your gardening region:

July is the start of the heat for our area and that makes hard work in the garden something that is best left until the cool evening or first thing in the morning. Summer is also the time to take vacations away from the garden as well as long evenings relaxing in the garden. Here are some of the things that you could do in the garden to keep it ticking over in the heat of summer:

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    Gardening in the heat

    The summer heat causes different reactions in different plants, so learn how to spot heat stress and what to do about it:

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    Weed patrol

    Even though our plants wilt in hot dry weather, there are some opportunistic weeds that thrive in the garden. Taking care of them promptly ensures that they will not go to seed and make a bigger mess in the garden

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    Watering the garden

    : Every summer somewhere gets droughts and when it is your area you need to be prepared with how to water your garden efficiently. Water barrels are a great way to store storm water and use it when the garden needs a boost. Even without a drought, watering correctly saves water. Watering in early morning when the air is cooler and there is less wind allows more moisture to seep into the ground around the plants.

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    Start thinking about a fall garden

    OK so you have only just got the seedlings into the garden and growing, but July is the right time to be ordering seeds for a fall vegetable garden as well as those cool weather annuals that like to be planted in fall. Use the garden grow calendar to see when to sow your fall crops.

     
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    Preserving

    July and August are when tomatoes, peppers, beans and squash all get ripe enough to harvest in abundance. Get comfortable when you harvest with a kneeling seat and get ready with hobs for harvesting. You might also need to be ready to preserve some of the excess for winter meals.

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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • How can you tell when it is time to harvest the backyard apple, peach, pear and cherry trees? Time the picking to coincide with the fruit being fully ripe to yield its peak of flavor and nutrition. Here’s what to look for:
    - The fruit will look ripe. Its skin will be flush with color rather than the green shade it had while developing all summer.
    - The fruit will feel ripe. It will yield to a gentle squeeze indicating the flesh has softened somewhat.
    - It will also smell ripe becoming pleasantly fragrant, especially when the sun has warmed it.
    - The best indication that fruit is ready for picking is that it picks easily. Truly ripe fruit virtually falls into your hand when grasped. But harvest before it drops onto the ground and attracts bees.