Gardener's Checklist | July 2016
Welcome to our July Gardener's Checklist! This series features monthly suggestions for keeping your garden in tip top shape.
July marks the midpoint of summer and things are warming up throughout Southern California. The heat gives gardeners a bit of a break to reap the rewards of peak fruit and veggie season. But active growth means there are still plenty of basic maintenance tasks to stay on top of.
Warmer days and longer evenings also mean more entertaining al fresco, so follow these tips and keep your garden looking beautiful and welcoming all season long!
WATER PLANTS EFFICIENTLY.
Hot, dry and windy weather can be tough on plants so it's important to be water wise before temperatures start to spike. Adjust, repair and replace components of your irrigation system to ensure that plants are getting enough water. New plants will need watering more frequently until their root systems develop. More established plants perform well when watered deeply, but less often. Watch for burnt or browned edges on outer leaves, a sign that your plants need a deep drink.
MULCH as much as you can.
To save water and cut down on weeds, spread a 2- or 3-inch layer of ground bark, compost or other organic matter around the base of flowers, vegetables, shrubs and trees. Mulch will help hold in soil moisture, stabilize temperatures, and reduce erosion and compaction. Organic mulches are recommended as they are highly permeable, provide nutrients to both the soil and plants, and won't hold or radiate heat.
care for your lawn.
Continue mowing at the highest setting for your lawn type. Allowing grasses to grow longer keeps roots shaded and conserves vital moisture. Clipping may even be reused as mulch to help shade, cool and feed your lawn. Make sure your lawn is getting at least one inch of water per week. Doing so in the early morning ensures maximum absorption and avoids potential fungal diseases when left moist overnight. To ensure irrigation efficiency, set out small containers (tuna can size is idea) and let sprinklers run for 30 minutes. Measure the depth of water in the container, multiply by two and you know how much water your lawn gets in an hour.
Nearly all flowering plants benefit from the practice of deadheading. While the term may not sound very friendly, deadheading is nothing more than trimming off faded flowers. Doing so not only keeps plants tidy, but it encourages growth and longer bloom time. When flowers start to brown, curl or otherwise become unattractive, it's time to take out the clippers.
Harvest & maintain summer edibles.
Summertime, and the eating's easy! Harvesting summer crops may be the most enjoyable summer chore, however, keeping up with watering and feeding are just as important. Tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplants, etc. require lots of water and nutrients as they pump out continuous crops. Harvesting often and watering plants deeply every morning will give you bounty a plenty. Low-dose organic fertilizers applied monthly are a great pick-me-up for hungry plants.