This July has been very strange for us here in Tennessee. We ended June with intense heat and dryness which continued into July then the weather changed. Rains came back and with them came the hope of producing a quality crop from the vegetable garden. To achieve the best results from the vegetable garden there are a few things that gardeners should be doing this month. Here’s a short list of …
5 Vegetable Garden Things to Do in July!
- Keep on top of the weeds. Weeds left uncontrolled are infinitely worse than those dealt with on a regular basis. Lots of moisture and high heat are good conditions for weed growth so they will be growing fast! Fortunately rainy days loosen the soil and make pulling invasive weeds a simple chore!
Continue to harvest vegetables. The more you pick the more you’ll get! Constantly harvesting vegetables from the garden will encourage the plants to grow more fruit so they can reproduce, which means you get more to eat! This is especially true with summer squash plants but carries over to many other garden vegetables.
- Plant your sequential vegetable crops. If you squash has succumbed to borers or other ailments plant some more every couple weeks from seed to insure a steady supply of squash. Of course if your squash has been prolific (as so many of them are) you might be tired of it for this year and your neighbors might be too! Also plant out your fall producers.
Get those pumpkins in the ground if you haven’t already as well as any other fall harvest squash plants. Winter squash generally has a great shelf life and can last well into the winter.
- Take notes! Too often gardeners forget where they planted things last year or how a certain plant performed. If you’ve had failures in the garden take notes on its growing conditions to help with your planning for next year. This is also important if you’ve had issues from soil borne diseases so that you can work on your crop rotation plan. It’s also important to note those plants that did extremely well in the garden so that you can continue to grow those vegetables and give recommendations to your fellow gardeners. Also take note of your vegetable garden layout (what was good about it and what wasn’t) to see if you need to make any changes.
Plan for your fall vegetable garden. Here in Tennessee cool season crops that are somewhat frost tolerant can be grown beyond the frost date. Spinach can easily last through our winters but so can many other leafy greens. I’ve had pak choi and lettuce both make it through our Tennessee winters. You can even continue producing good quantities of food through hoop houses covering your raised beds. If you are going to start cool season vegetables from seed for your fall garden plan it all out now and get your seeds ordered. (I’m a big fan of Baker Creek and Renee’s Garden for my seeds). What vegetables can you grow in fall in Tennessee? Spinach, lettuce, kale, Brussels sprouts, radishes, beets, cabbage, snap peas, pak choi, and many others. To figure your fall crop planting date get your first frost date and count back the amount of days until harvest that you can usually find on your packet of seeds. Then give yourself an extra two weeks.
The recent rainy days have given me time to think about my fall garden. Usually I wait too late to get things started for my fall vegetable garden but I’m hoping to get ahead of the game this year. Do you grow a fall vegetable garden?