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To-Do List - July
by Karen Bodner, MG
I had great success in Southern Oregon this spring using season extenders such as Reemay, the red and green IRT mulches, and Gro-Therm. Mid-June we harvested our first cucumbers, and my first tomato started turning color. I left Reemay on squash and melons for a week or so after they started flowering since the first flowers are only male anyway. This gave them a huge start-and effective defense-against the striped and spotted cucumber beetles that run rampant down there spreading destructive viruses. The cukes and some squash are being grown vertically which makes feeding, spraying for pests, and picking much easier. It also provides important air circulation besides looking cool.
I think my experiment with corn backfired, however. At about twelve to eighteen inches the plants began tasseling, and by mid-June the silk was drying with no kernel production. Ouch! Those of you who were at the winter gardening seminar remember Joel indicating it was probably stress-basically they bolted. I know there were some pretty extreme high and low temps during that time, and Tom Johns at Territorial says they experienced the same thing. The cobs never amounted to anything. Well, it was worth a try.
I decided to cut the stalks down, leave roots, burn new holes between stalks, and transplant peppers-so there! The dying corn roots should provide aeration and nutrition.
The subterranean clover between rows has worked out great. Mowed twice, it will now be allowed to grow naturally with melon and squash vines meandering through it. The clover gives the area a very soft look, and it gets only eight inches tall.
Most garlic will be harvested this month, so I thought I'd pass on some tips from the book Growing Great Garlic by Ron Engeland. The softneck varieties ( A. sativum ssp sativum ) have no flower stalks and usually ripen up to a week before the flowering hardnecks ( A. sativum ssp ophioscorodon ). Ron recommends an early morning or evening harvest when there are five green leaves left on the plant; this represents the number of wraps around the bulb and will leave a protective covering after cleaning. He leaves tops and roots on to cure.
Time of day is important since sudden shock and quick drying when bulbs leave the soil can affect quality. Exposure to direct sun for more than ten minutes can also have adverse effects. Tie garlic in bunches of ten to cure for a couple of weeks in controlled temperature of 65 to 75 degrees. If that is not possible, a shed or barn will do. Air circulation and protection from direct sun are important.
Foliar-feeding your melons with compost or manure tea reportedly ensures juicy fruit. Mulch ground-growing squash, cukes, and melons with dry material such as straw, wood shavings, chips, or even a board to keep fruit clean and help prevent rot and disease. Fertilize rhubarb and asparagus beds, and keep them weed-free. Water deeply to develop crowns for next year. They will certainly benefit from a mulch of compost or rotted cow manure now. To enjoy new potatoes, mound up soil around the base of the plants. Cut French sorrel seed heads as soon as they appear to preserve that wonderful lemony taste.
During the first part of the month sow artichokes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, corn salad, cress, purslane, and sorrel.
Through mid-month sow summer squash, cucumbers, beets, regular and fall broccoli (direct), late cabbage, carrots, collards, kale, parsnips, rutabagas, and Swiss chard. A short-season corn will probably ripen if sown before mid-month.
Sow all month overwintering onions, broccoli, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustards, radishes, spinach, endive, and turnips.
Perennials, herbs, and bulbs
Start some perennials and biennials for bloom next year. You can continue to sow herbs, especially fennel, this month. When the fennel base begins to swell, hill up half way to make it whiter and sweeter. Container plants will probably need daily water, and established beds will need one to two inches of water per week depending upon soil type and whether or not they are mulched, intensively planted, etc.
If your spring bulbs are crowded (often indicated by loss of vigor), dig and divide. Narcissus can be planted immediately; store tulips and iris until fall. Remember that the essential oils in herbs peak as they come into bloom, so pick and use or dry them then for best flavor. Basil and stevia should never be allowed to flower. Deadhead perennials and especially annuals to ensure continuous bloom. Plants that require you cut the flower stalk back to the base (e.g., Alchemilla mollis and some Centaurea) are much easier to deadhead now before new growth gets much bigger and gets in the way. Notice that the bases of spent stalks look much different than new growth which makes it easier to identify them as stalks to remove.
Mark some seed heads of the more special flowers and include any desired hybrids. You never know. Sow quick growing annuals like marigolds, nasturtiums, and petunias early in the month for late blooms. Stop pinching chrysanthemums but keep pinching coleus and petunias to keep compact. Remove side shoots from dahlias. Fertilize fuchsias and side dress heavy blooming perennials with dry, complete fertilizer. Water it in well.
Tip cutting: impatiens, iberis, lysimachia, phlox, verbascum
Divide: astrantia, aruncus, artemisia, ajuga, alchemilla, campanula, chrysanthemum, coreopsis, epimedium, hemerocallis, hostas, lysimachia, origanum, primula, and viola-to name the more common ones.
Basal cutting: armeria, cheiranthus, dianthus, geranium, gypsophila, origanum, potentilla, stachys, veronica
Fruits and nuts
When picking raspberries and blackberries (e.g., marions, boysens), prune out fruited laterals as they will not produce again. This will enhance growth, and removal of decaying parts will help minimize disease. If practical, net berries against birds, being sure to anchor netting to the ground. Those clever tweety-birds will just walk in under it if you don't.
Berries are heavy water users and shallow rooted so be sure to irrigate deeply and mulch if you haven't yet. Remove bad berries and grapes from plants to discourage disease. At the end of the month, or after harvest, prune raspberries, boysenberries and other caneberries.
Trees and shrubs
Continue to plant new trees and shrubs, and keep them well-watered. They need about fifteen gallons per week. Once they finish flowering, prune lilacs, rhodies, and other spring bloomers. Spray camellias, holly, and maple trees for scale. Ditto for root weevil adults in rhododendrons. Alternatively, use the non-spray method mentioned a couple of months ago.
You may notice arborvitae hedges having dusty looking foliage and loss of color-sure signs of spider mites. Wash infested areas with water or spray with appropriate pesticides.
June and July are the months to take semi-mature tip cuttings of a myriad of our favorites: actinidia, abutilon, buddleia, calamintha, camellia, choisya, clematis, cotinus, cotoneaster, davidia, daphne, euonymus, forsythia, fuchsia, magnolia, nandina, rhododendrons, azaleas, spirea, syringa, weigela, and wisteria are some examples.
Wood shavings or chips are acceptable as a mulch for some of your vegetables (e.g., squash); however, it's a good idea to lay down at least a one-inch layer of compost or other nutrient and nitrogen source to increase breakdown rate and ensure there is no disruption of nutrient availability.
Make sure your compost pile is kept moist enough, and water lawns deeply, one to two inches per week. Aerate lawns this month if not done previously to enhance water and fertilizer penetration.
If you have space to leave bolting brassicas and radishes, let them flower. Beneficial insects love them, and radishes are a great trap crop for aphids. Besides, radish pods are a great vegetable. Having wet spells intermixed with heat has made for early and sporadic incidents of disease, but we MGs are up to the challenge. Remember, early detection can make a huge difference, so get out there and get up close.
The weevils that destroyed my verbascum last year seemed to have been controlled by handpicking them off of the polemonium (Jacob's ladder) a couple of weeks earlier. The florescences are gorgeous.
Watch for blight on tomatoes; pick off affected leaves and treat with fungicide. Pheromone traps will help monitor pests such as codling moths and apple maggots-spray if necessary, and remove any ground debris.
Second week of month: Spray filbert trees for filbertworm and peach and prune trees for root borers. Check daily for pests and diseases; early detection is the best defense. Check also for our beneficial friends. If unsure about what a critter is, especially an immature one, bring it in and have it identified. We don't want to smoosh any of our little soldiers, and a lot of us don't know what the immature stages of some of these guys look like.
Some of the common pests out this time of year are cutworms, squash bugs, codling moths, flea beetles, caterpillars, weevils, and aphids. Our summer insect battalions are as follows:
A =Adult / E =Egg / P =Pupa / L =Larva / N =Nymph /
Beneficials are italicized
Uderlined stage means extended season
OG means overlapping generations
western damsel bug-A/E/N (OG)
big-eyed bug-A/E/N (OG)
minute pirate bug-A/E/N (OG)
green lacewing-A/E/L/P (OG)
wasp parasite-A/E/L/P (OG)
predator mite-A/E/N (OG)
honey bees-A/E/L/P (OG)
alfalfa leafcutting bee-A/E/L/P
predatory nematodes-Infective Juveniles/A
onion thrips-A/E/N (OG)
beet leafhopper-A/E/N (OG)
carrot rust fly-A/E/L/P
symphyllans-A/E/N (many OG)
green peach aphid-A/N (OG)
wireworm beetle-L/P (OG)
western cherry fruit fly-A/E/L
peach twig borer-A/E/L/P
apple aphids-A/N (OG)
corn earworm-A/E/L (OG)
imported cabbageworm-A/E/L (OG)
cabbage looper (nocturnal adult)-A/E/L
cabbage maggot-A/E/L/P (OG)
cabbage aphid-A/N (OG)
cabbage flea beetle-L/P
pear psylla-A/E/N (OG)
spider mites-A/E/N (many OG)
elm leaf beetle-A/L(2 yrs) P
bean aphids-A/N (OG)
stink bugs-A/E/N (OG)
pea aphid-A/N (OG)
western flower thrips-A/E/N (OG)
onion maggots-A/E/L/P (OG)
raspberry crown borer-L(2 yrs) P
strawberry and currant aphid-A/N (OG)
holly and soft scale-A/E/N
strawberry crown moth-A/E/L
western raspberry fruitworm-A/L/P
walnut husk fly-A/P
seedcorn maggot-A/E/L/P (OG)
western potato flea beetle-A/L/P
spinach and fruit leafminer-A/E/L/P (OG)