Harvesting! That’s most of what we do in July. But we also tend to bugs and blights, and start the fall garden.
The Mountain Gardener is a newsletter put out by the Buncombe County Master Gardeners program, part of NC Extension. Each month they include a list of garden chores specific to western NC, as well as a calendar of events, class information, and planting tips.
Here is the slightly adapted list of chores for July:
• If brown patch fungus disease has developed in the lawn, the best steps to reduce the spread of the disease are to avoid mowing or even walking on the lawn when it is wet, and do not irrigate.
• Mow fescue and bluegrass lawns 3 inches high.
• Try to accomplish the pruning of shrubs early in the month.
• Deadhead spent flowers to encourage continued blooming on annuals and re-blooming on some perennials.
• Container gardens do require some attention. Fertilize every few weeks and cut back
plants as needed to keep the garden in balance.
• Don’t forget to water newly planted trees and shrubs—weekly if needed.
• Prune blackberries and raspberries after harvest.
• Blueberries look to be in good supply this year. Visit local tailgate markets or a pick-your-own farm.
• Consistent moisture is important for preventing blossom-end-rot on tomatoes (and sometimes squash or peppers). Mulch helps as well as attention to regular irrigation.
• Early blight hit tomatoes in early June and late blight may not be far behind. Organic gardeners may want to try Serenade, a new bacterial product. Copper or sulfur sprays are less effective, but offer a little help.
• If possible, harvest vegetables in the morning, before the heat of the day. Second best is late evening. And pick regularly for best quality. Refer to the NC Extension publication on Harvesting Vegetables
• Plan the fall garden (see planting guide here). Brussels sprouts should be planted in July, most other cool season crops in August. You can start seeds in pots for plants such as broccoli, cabbage and collards.
• You can also still plant late crops of squash, bush beans or cucumbers.
• Surplus produce can be donated to the Plant A Row For The Hungry collection at Manna Food Bank. Take fresh fruits and vegetables to Manna at 627 Swannanoa River Road, Monday—Friday between 8am and 3:30 pm.
You can download PDFs of past Mountain Gardener newsletters here. Another helpful service that the Master Gardeners offer is their garden hotline (828-255-5522) where they will answer your gardening questions.