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July Gardening Calendar

Searcy, Ark. –

This is the time of year when a rain gauge comes in handy, as well as knowing how much water your personal garden needs. There is no set formula that works for every garden. Factors that apply include what you are growing, how much sunlight they get, what type of soil or bed they are growing in, and how much rainfall you are getting. Plants in containers are always going to dry out faster than plants in the ground. Soil-less mixes usually dry out faster than garden soil. Mulching will help. Get to know your garden and your plants and do what works best for you.  Early-morning deep-watering is best, but it must work with your schedule.

With frequent watering, nutrition gets leached out. If you are growing trees and shrubs, they should do fine with one application of fertilizer per year, usually applied in the spring. Annual flowers and vegetables need the most nutrition. When temperatures are hot, water your plants well before fertilizing, and then water the fertilizer in. Frequent, light applications are best to avoid burning.

Vegetable gardens are likely producing at their peak right now. Peppers, squash, tomatoes, and eggplants should be coming in well. Harvest regularly to keep them setting more fruit. It is not surprising for tomatoes to slow down in production during periods of hot weather. When temperatures exceed 95 during the day and/or stay above 75 degrees at night, flowers stop setting fruit. Existing fruit often slows down and is slower to ripen. Keep your plants evenly watered and fertilized, and as soon as there is a break in the weather, they should rebound and begin to produce again. If you have plants that are on their way out, harvest what you can and then replant with new tomatoes or other vegetables. The key is to keep them watered to get them established, but there is a lot of gardening season left to grow in.

If you still need some color in your garden, there is still plenty to choose from local nurseries and garden centers.  Tropical flowering plants are still arriving, and this is their season—they love it hot and humid. Water and fertilize weekly and they will bloom non-stop. Many summer blooming perennials are in their prime at this time of year, from the dinner-plate sized blooms on hardy hibiscus, to non-stop color on coneflowers, gaillardia, coreopsis, and rudbeckia. Summer annuals also flower well if they have been watered and fertilized. Lantana, vinca, Cuphea, zinnias, and ornamental sweet potatoes thrive in hot weather. Many of these flowers need deadheading after bloom to keep them flowering all season.

Scout your garden frequently looking for pest problems. Pests include insects, diseases, and weeds. We have seen aphids, scale, white flies, and spider mites, along with stink bugs, caterpillars and more. Know which insects are good and which are bad. If you are trying to attract butterflies, don’t kill the caterpillars that are eating your milkweed or dill—you want to see the butterflies, but if tomato hornworms are chomping on your tomatoes, or corn earworms are eating your corn, then you want to control them.

Diseases can spread quickly from plant to plant. We have had quite a few reports of rose rosette, septoria leaf spot on tomatoes, and some powdery mildew. We have also had reports of herbicide damage to ornamental landscape plants. Be sure to read and follow the label directions if you are applying herbicides to your lawn and if you have landscape beds nearby or trees growing in the lawn. Some of the chemicals used can cause problems. If you have problems in your landscape, properly identify what is happening. Take a plant sample in or take good pictures and get them to your local county agents. The earlier you spot a problem and identify it, the sooner you can handle it.

If you aren’t growing a vegetable garden or raising your own fruit, visit one of the many farmers' markets in the state.  Besides all the wonderful, fresh vegetables that are out there, they have blueberries, blackberries, and peaches—eat local and fresh!

By Sherri Sanders
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Sherri Sanders
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
2400 Old Searcy Landing Road Searcy AR 72143
(501) 268-5394

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