Let's Get Gardening--July is Peak Garden Month

Water Wisely

  • Daily or even twice daily watering may be required to ensure plants are well hydrated.  This is especially important with container plants and new transplants.

  • Water early in the morning to decrease water loss through evaporation and  allow for foliage to dry in the sun, thereby decreasing the potential for disease.

  • Keep cloches open and greenhouses well vented as temperatures climb.

  • If possible, move plants prone to scorching from the blazing sun to another location or provide sun and wind block.

  • Irrigation soaker systems use less water and encourage deep root growth.  Twice weekly deep watering is usually all that is required.  These are especially ideal for raised beds and in ground garden plots.

Condition soil with Compost

Compost helps improve all soil types, especially sandy soils. A garden with sandy soil has very little water and nutrient retention. Sandy soil feels loose and has coarse particles that won’t hold their shape when squeezed in your hand. Water and nutrients pass through quickly since there is nothing to hold them there. In loose, sandy soil compost helps to bind these particles together and increase the soil’s ability to retain moisture and nutrients. In other words, there is now something to hold onto. Plant roots penetrate easily, finding moisture where there was none before.

Other tips for composting plants for summer:

  • Compost garden vegetation, lawn clippings and fruits and vegetables from the kitchen (not citrus). 

  • Combine appropriate ratio of nitrogen (green) waste with carbon (brown) waste.  Saving a bag or two of leaves from the fall for brown waste is a convenient way to do this.

  • Do not compost lawn clippings treated with herbicides (including weed and feed products)

  • Do not compost diseased plants unless you are able to “hot compost”, meaning the temperature of your compost remains between 120-150 degrees Fahrenheit.  This is difficult to achieve on the Oregon Coast.

  • Remember your compost is a living ecosystem that requires water

  • After severe hot spell remove and compost scorched foliage as it will not recover and decreases the plants vigor and appearance.

Stay Ahead of the Pests

  • Keep up with fertilization program.  This creates a healthy plant which is better able to fight  off diseases and pests

  • If large amount of foliage disappear on established plants suspect cutworm.  Effective management includes barriers, hand removal and use of beneficial nematodes if ground temperature is greater than 55 degrees

  • Cover berry crops with netting to prevent birds, rabbits and other creatures from eating entire crop

  • Watch tomatoes for early and late blight.  Remove affected parts of plant. Keep bushes pruned for increased air circulation. 

  • Ornamental plants with foliage that is dusty looking and losing color can indicate spider mites.  Wash off with forceful spray of water

  • Check leafy veggies for caterpillars.  Pick off by hand as you see them.

  • Slug patrol continues.  Hand removal at dusk is the most effective way to control them but there are a variety of other methods to deal with slugs.

  • Keep your tools clean and always clean then after working with a diseased plant.

Read more about integrated pest management practices.

Propagating and Planting

  • Plant winter crops such as bush beans, kale, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and peas

  • When foliage turns brown dig and divide spring and early summer bulbs.  Replant or prepare for winter storage

  • 1st planting of Chinese cabbage, kohlrabi and rutabagas.

  • Ideal plants for propagation include barberry, butterfly bush, heaths and heathers, lilac, flowering quince, mock orange, pieris, witch-hazel, holly, indigo, jasmine, lavender, honeysuckle, Oregon grape, spiraea, blueberry, huckleberry and many more.

  • Stake tall plants such as tomatoes, hollyhocks, lupine and dahlias.  Ideally this is done at the time of planting.

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