To ensure a bountiful harvest, the conscientious gardener should follow these guidelines during the month of July.
The First Week of July:
. Control the weeds in vegetable and flower gardens.
. Feed roses.
. Watch for mites on roses, shrubs, trees, and ground covers.
. Control Japanese beetles on roses, crepe myrtle, grapes, and other host plants. Keep in mind, baited traps attract Japanese beetles, so hang them away from the plant you want to protect.
. Harvest and hang herbs before they go to bloom. Tie in little bunches and hag in a ventilated warm space to cure. After drying thoroughly, put in sealed jars for winter's use.
. Take cuttings from shrubs.
The Second Week of July:
. Pinch back chrysanthemums for the last time.
. Remove faded blossoms from annuals and perennials.
. Deadhead rhododendrons to increase next year's flowers. Remember to only remove spent flower heads. Do not damage newly expanded leaves.
. Keep all newly planted trees and shrubs watered, soak thoroughly once a week, either mornings or early evenings.
. Increase the mowing height on your lawn mower during dry, hot summer days.
. Prepare to harvest onions. When seedpods start to form, turn tops down and allow another two weeks for the onions to ripen before harvesting. Dry harvested onions in the shade before storing.
. Harvest and hang herbs before they flower.
. Check vegetables for pests and diseases.
The Third Week of July:
. Remove faded blossoms on annuals and perennials.
. Stake tall perennials.
. Cheek tomatoes for late blight and fruit for horn worms. Treat with a product labeled for this. Hand pick and destroy horn worms.
. Water shrubs and trees planted this year if necessary.
. Control weeds in vegetable and flower gardens.
. Harvest vine-ripened fruits.
. Harvest and hang herbs.
The Final Week of July:
. Visit the Delaware State Fair Master Gardener Booth.
. Continue efforts to control Japanese beetles and other garden pests.
. Divide bearded iris when clumps are too large.
. Stake perennials.
. Continue watering trees and plants as necessary in dry weather. Conserve water by using soaker hose or trickle irrigation.
. Harvest home-grown produce.