If you planned to create a wonderful home garden this summer this year but didn’t get around to it yet, don’t worry! It is still possible to plant a garden in July. The days might be hot and humid, but there is still plenty of time for you to plant some vegetables and enjoy a fall harvest in most regions of the Northern Hemisphere.
If you’re just getting started with your summer vegetable garden, here’s what you need to know.
Take care of yourself
July is a tough month to be outside because of scorching temperatures. It can be hard to even sit outside, much less try to plant a vegetable garden. If you’re moving forward with your garden despite the temperatures, the best time to go out is early in the morning or in the evening so that you can avoid the midday sun.
If you do find yourself out midday, make sure to take plenty of breaks in the shade, wear sunscreen, and stay hydrated. Getting enough to drink is crucial. The best way to stay hydrated in the summer is to start drinking water before you go outside and to continue drinking while you’re outside.
Only plant certain vegetables
Some vegetables grow and thrive in the harsh July heat. While the type of vegetables will vary depending on your region, most green veggies are hardy enough to survive the heat. Kale and green beans are popular choices.
Kale can be planted mid-July through mid-August. If grown from a seed, it typically takes 95 days before it is ready to be harvested. It’s even possible for kale to continue to grow when things start to cool down. In fact, a good frost actually makes the leaves of kale taste sweeter.
Green beans are another great veggie to grow in July because they prefer warmer weather. Green beans need to be grown on a trellis or fence row and typically take 65 days to grow. There are also other types of beans, such as bush beans and garbanzo beans, that can also still be planted in the summer months.
Keep an eye out for critters
July brings all sorts of pests, both big and small. Common insects that might start munching on your newly grown veggies include aphids, Japanese beetles, and caterpillars. Most of these insects are easily spotted and can be repelled with natural neem oil. Spider mites are another problematic insect, but they can be hard to spot. Check for mites by holding a piece of paper under your plant and giving the leaves a good shake. If you notice any specks on the paper, you might have mites.
Larger critters that are having trouble foraging for food will also come to visit your garden. Putting a fence around your garden can help keep out animals such as deer, rabbits, and raccoons.
The heat of July often causes the soil to dry out. If you’re not getting rain regularly, you are going to need to water your own garden. Whenever you notice the soil around your plants getting dry, make sure to give it a good soaking. The best time of the day to water is in the morning or evening so that the sun doesn’t cause the water to evaporate. Water as close to the base of the plant as possible so that the water will reach the root systems of your plants.
If you want to help conserve water, consider setting up a rain barrel system. A rain barrel is a container that catches the runoff from your gutters when it rains. This water is perfect for watering your plants and lawn. You can buy rain barrels at most home improvement stores or you can build your own system.
Look out for diseased plants
Unfortunately, the humidity of July often causes plants to have problems with mold, mildew, and fungus. If you start to notice any of your new plants suffering from any of them, trim the infected plant immediately. Diseases spread quickly amongst plants.
To help plants stay healthy in warm weather, make sure that they aren’t overcrowded. This will help with air circulation and help prevent any diseases from spreading.
Planting and maintaining a garden in July isn’t easy, but it is certainly doable. While you won’t be able to plant veggies such as tomatoes or squash, you can still plant most green veggies. To keep your veggies healthy, regularly water them and watch out for signs of diseases or pests.