July Gardening Checklist

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July Gardening Checklist

Fellow Gardeners,

The information, dates and techniques in this are as accurate as I can currently offer.  During the past three decades I have cared for, nurtured and observed tens of thousands of plants.  With the help of many gardening friends I have attempted to offer on these pages some useful information to help you with your own garden. Gardening is sharing.  Any corrections, comments or suggestions are appreciated and will improve future information.

annuals, sweet peas, wildflowers, cool-season, gardening, garden, petunias, lobella, verbena, marigold, ageratum, cosmos, impatiens, coleus, torenia, begonias, dahlias, zinnias, flowers, bedding plants

Annuals:

  • (See also Sweet Peas and Wildflowers)
  • A month for warm-season annuals, especially those that really love hot, hot, hot weather. The nights are warm, the days are long and sunny, and the temperatures are high.
  • Keep newly planted annuals well watered until they are thoroughly rooted, Choices include ageratum, begonias, coleus, cosmos, dahlias, gomphrena, impatiens, lobelia, lisianthus, marigold, petunias, portulaca, salvia, torenia, verbena and zinnias.
  • Because of their quick growth and heavy flowering potential, annuals need more fertilizing than most other plants in the garden.
  • Keep deadheading (removing spent flowers) from annuals to help them continue blooming abundantly.

avocados, mature avocado tree, tree, feeding, healthy, food, planting, plant, mulch, irrigate, gardening, orchard

Avocados:

  • The new growth on avocados is slowing down a bit now, although the plants still should look pretty good.
  • Don’t be alarmed by a lot of leaf drop on mature plants. Avocados produce a lot of leaf litter nearly year round.  This is a normal condition.
  • Irrigate as needed to keep the soil moist, but not wet.
  • This is a very good month for planting avocados. Being sub-tropical plants, avocados prefer to be planted at the beginning of the long warm part of the year.
  • Many early-fruiting varieties, like ‘Anaheim’, ‘Hass’, ‘Littlecado’ and possibly ‘Reed’, may have fruit ready to harvest. Remember that avocado fruit does not ripen on the tree; it must be removed and should ripen indoors at room temperature.
  • Be sure to keep a very thick blanket of mulch, compost or fallen leaves under mature avocadoes at all times. Avocadoes need a cool root-run for good health.

azaleas, flowers, over watering, hybrids, gardening, garden, dormant, bloom, plant, pink, pruning

Azaleas:

  • Continue to keep azaleas well irrigated now that the weather is warming up.
  • Azaleas are shallow rooted and will dry out quickly. Avoid cultivating or allowing other plants to grow under or in competition with the roots of your azalea.
  • This is a good month to leach the salts out of the root zone of your plants. This is done by irrigating the plant over and over again or by flooding the root basin several times to wash any accumulated salt below and away from the roots.

bearded iris, flower buds, flower, blooming, well-balanced, organic, fertilize, insecticides, flower stalk, foliage

Bearded Iris:

  • This is the first good month to dig, transplant and divide these. Bearded Iris should be dug and divided about every four years (every two or three years for aggressive re-blooming varieties).
  • If you are growing any of the new “repeat-blooming” varieties they may cycle again any time. Keep feeding these re-bloomers aggressively.  Older “once-blooming” varieties can have their feeding reduced in half.  Any fertilizer labeled for roses (but not with insecticides or other added ingredients) will do fine.

beneficial insects, wildlife, giant whitefly, gardens, parasites, predators, lantana, pesticides, lizards, frogs

Beneficial Insects:

  • Giant Whitefly enjoys the warm days and warm nights and infestations should be noticeable. Predators and parasites should also be present.  Check immature whiteflies carefully for signs of parasite activity.  If none are found in one part of the garden remove a few leaves from another plant that has been parasitized and place it carefully into the foliage of the non-parasitized plant.
  • Flea, grub and cutworm populations may be doing damage now. Control can be achieved by using various beneficial nematodes.  These microscopic worms are applied by mixing them in a water can and drenching the area, then watering well.
  • Now that the weather has warmed, spider mites may be noticed on many plants, such as citrus, avocado, pine, juniper, ivy and others. Release beneficial predator mites now for control all summer.
  • Encourage bats.

bulbs, rhizomes, tubers, hyacinth, ranunculus, cyclamen, spring bulbs, gardening, garden, planting, dahlias, flowers

Bulbs, rhizomes, tubers, etc:

  • (See also Bearded Iris, Dahlias, Cannas and Tuberous Begonias)
  • There are still several bulbs that will be in bloom now in Orange County. These include eucomis (Pineapple lily), galtonia (summer hyacinth), gladiolus, Gloriosa rothschildiana (gloriosa lily), haemanthus, hymenocallis and many true lilies.
  • Crocosmia (formerly called montbretia) often bloom for a second time this month (the first bloom was probably in March).
  • Caladium are doing great now. Keep them well watered and fertilized and in indirect, but bright light.
  • If done blooming and beginning to look a bit heat stressed, common white calla’s can be cut back now if you desire. Although not essential for plant health, a trim to near the soil line will freshen the foliage and help to encourage a second bloom cycle in late fall.

california native plants, native plants, blooming, flowers, summer, native

California Native Plants:

  • Be very cautious irrigating most of our native plants during the summer. Most of these are adapted to a winter wet – summer dry moisture cycle.  Too frequent irrigations now (especially in soils with a clay content) will certainly cause problems.

camellias, japanese camellias, bloom, petal blight, fungal disease, petals, flowers, shaping, pruning, fertilize

Camellias:

  • You will probably be toward the middle or end of your camellia fertilizing for the year. The first of three feedings to your camellia should have been applied about 4-6 weeks after it finished blooming.  The second feeding is 4-6 weeks after the first and the final feeding is 4-6 weeks later again.
  • Continue to keep camellias well irrigated now that the weather is warming up.
  • Camellias are shallow rooted and will dry out quickly. Avoid cultivating or allowing other plants to grow under or in competition with the roots of your camellia.
  • This is a good month to leach the salts out of the root zone of your plants. This is done by irrigating the plant over and over again or by flooding the root basin several times to wash any accumulated salt below and away from the roots.

cannas, flowers, fertilizer, organic, gardening, garden, plant

Cannas:

  • They should still be flowering well now.
  • Continue to keep them well watered in the hot summer weather, cannas do not like dry soil.
  • As cannas flower you may notice that each stalk produces a cluster of flowers at the top. After this cluster finishes the stalk grows a few more inches and produces another cluster.  In some varieties, this can go on for four or five clusters and last almost two months from beginning to end.  When the last cluster of flowers has finished, cut the entire stalk to the soil.  This stalk will never bloom again and cutting it down will encourage more stalks, and flowers, to grow.  Keep this process up all summer for the best results.

citrus, fertilizing citrus, honeybees, fruit, earth, organic, lemons, limes, ripe, kitchen garden, farming, harvest

Citrus:

  • Citrus should have healthy green leaves now. If chlorosis is noticed apply an iron-zinc-manganese supplement.
  • Apply your last feeding of the year this month (unless your plant are potted, in which case you should continue feeding with a ½ to 1/3 dose application through the fall. Use a fertilizer that is rich in such trace minerals as iron, zinc, manganese, copper and others.  These ingredients are usually well represented in organic fertilizers like Dr. Earth.
  • Be especially attentive to irrigations now that the weather is warm. The best application method is probably by flooding the root basin and letting it soak in once or twice.  Do not use sprinklers, especially if they wet the trunk of the tree.
  • Tangelos and Valencia Oranges should be about ripe now. Take a sample and check for sweetness.
  • Keep ants out of your citrus at all times. If they are crawling up the trunk of the tree apply Tanglefoot (a sticky, waterproof substance) to stop them.

clematis, flower, vine, organic fertilizer, purple, bloom, grow

Clematis:

  • Clematis prefer cool roots, especially during the summer months. If you can, grow another shrub directly to the south of your clematis to provide some shade over the roots.  Alternatively, place a large decorative pot on the south side of the plant.
  • To insulate the roots even more and moderate the warm summer soil temperatures maintain a thick 3-4 inch layer of organic mulch over the roots at all times, especially now.
  • In the warm summer weather be sure to apply more frequent irrigations.
  • Vigorous clematis varieties are still blooming. Keep them well fed with a balanced organic fertilizer to keep them going.  If your soil is slightly alkaline (high pH) periodically alternate fertilizing with an acid product such as Cottonseed Meal.
  • If you are growing a spring-only flowering variety (not as common in Orange County), these should be pruned soon after their spring bloom is finished, which may be this month.

dahlia xxl, dahlias, designer dahlias, dormat tubers, foliage, organic, fish bone meal

Dahlias (tuberous types):

  • Plants should be in full bloom, robust and vigorous.
  • Regularly cut off spent blooms to make the plants both look better and set more flowers.
  • Keep the taller varieties carefully staked to prevent the heavy canes from toppling over. Heavy natural cane bamboo stakes work well.
  • Water regularly and deeply. Flooding the soil works best; overhead watering will cause broken stems and mushy flowers.  Missed waterings now will cause gaps in flower development later in the season.
  • Fertilize them regularly throughout their growing and blooming period. Use a liquid or granular organic fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in phosphorus.  Fish Bone Meal is excellent.
  • If powdery mildew appears on the lower leaves use organic Neem oil or E-Rase.

deciduous fruit tree, apple, apricot, peach, plum, fruit tree

Deciduous Fruit Trees:

  • Monitor the soil moisture and irrigate as needed. Flooding the soil beneath these trees or using a drip system are both excellent ways to irrigate these.  Avoid the use of sprinklers and do not regularly wet the trunk of the tree to reduce the potential of certain diseases.
  • If you want to reduce or limit the overall size of any of these trees the correct time to prune them is immediately following the fruit harvest, which may be now. Pruning in winter is important for the purpose of fruit production and tree structure.  However, winter pruning will not limit the size of a tree; summer pruning will.
  • Several varieties of peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots are ripening this month.
  • Birds often take their tool on ripening fruit, especially soft varieties like peach, apricot, nectarine and plum. If this toll is too great, drape thin nylon “fruit tree” netting over the canopy of the tree a few weeks prior to the ripening date.  Remove the netting once all the fruit has been harvested.

ferns, sword ferns, chain ferns, maidenhair, fertilize, cottonseed meal

Ferns:

  • Continue fertilizing. Use a mild, organic fertilizer on ferns and alternate periodically with an acid type, especially in high pH soil.  For most common varieties try blood meal alternated every third feeding with Cottonseed Meal.
  • Irrigate most varieties regularly according to the weather and the individual varieties. Delicate varieties appreciate an occasional misting of the foliage, especially during warm, dry or windy periods.
  • Keep checking for pests. Scale can be a problem and often goes undetected.  It is often associated with ants, which need to be controlled as a part of any treatment program.   On other ferns, especially staghorns, check carefully for early signs of spider mites.
  • This is a good month to leach the salts out of the root zone of your plants, which will otherwise cause tip burn and a pale color to the foliage of many varieties. This is done by irrigating the plant over and over again or by flooding the root basin several times to wash any accumulated salt below and away from the roots.
  • Continue planting, re-potting or transplanting, but keep them well watered.

fertilize, flower food, plant food, plant

Fertilize:

  • (See also the information under the individual plants)
  • Now is a good time to add aluminum sulfate or soil sulfur to acidify you soils.

fuchsias, flowers, shade, flowering, grow out, fertilize, well watered, garden, gardening, gall mites, pest

Fuchsias:

  • Your plants should still be blooming well.
  • Keep fertilizing regularly with a balanced fertilizer or one slightly higher in phosphorus, to promote blooms.
  • Proper watering becomes critical at this time of the year, especially for those plants in hanging baskets. Water early in the morning or in the evening and check their soil moisture most every day.  Never let the soil dry out completely.
  • During any particularly dry, hot or windy period a couple of mistings of the foliage is very beneficial. If the soil is already moist from an early morning watering (best), be careful not to soak the soil again or you may encounter root diseases.
  • Groom the plant periodically by removing dead flowers and any developing seedpods.
  • Keep watching for early infestations of Fuchsia Gall Mites this month. These nearly invisible pests are a serious threat to fuchsias.  Look for any signs of puckered or distorted new growth.  If you discover any, pinch it out and dispose of it immediately.  A pesticide treatment is usually required.
  • Be careful not to burn your plants. Sun is getting a little higher in the sky and the days are longer.

gardenias, blooms, fertilize, minerals, organic, flowers, garden flowers, flowers

Gardenias:

  • Gardenias should still be blooming and growing pretty well this month.
  • Keep them well fed through the summer months. Use a fertilizer with trace minerals, such as most organic types and alternate this with an acidic formula to keep the pH down.
  • If the leaves are showing signs of green veins with yellow areas between the veins, especially on the new growth, they need additional iron. Iron is a supplement to the  regular fertilizing program of your gardenia.
  • Apply a thick organic mulch under each plant to moderate the soil temperatures and retain moisture.
  • Gardenias are shallow rooted and will dry out quickly. Avoid cultivating or allowing other plants to grow under or in competition with their roots.
  • This is a good month to leach the salts out of the root zone of your plants. This is done by irrigating the plant over and over again or by flooding the root basin several times to wash any accumulated salt below and away from the roots.
  • Gardenias do not like hot dry winds. If these threaten do what you can to shield the plant.  A light misting and syringe of the leaves also helps.

geraniums, ivy geraniums, scented, flowers, zonal, fertilize, prune back, martha, leaves, rust, springtime, blooms

Geraniums:

  • This group includes Ivy geraniums, zonal geraniums (also called “Common” geraniums), Martha geraniums and the various scented geraniums, but does not include true geraniums (sometimes called “Hardy” geraniums), which are discussed under Perennials.
  • Ivy and Zonal types are still blooming well now. Keep up with removing spent flowers regularly to encourage more bloom.
  • Martha types have finished up their big bloom for the year. Unlike Ivy and Zonal types these are not everblooming plants.  With regular deadheading, a bit of shade in hot inland gardens and continued feeding you may be able to coax a few more blooms through summer.
  • Ivy and Zonal geraniums do not like heavy pruning. To keep the plants shapely and vigorous for a longer period of time prune back a few long stems every month or so from now through fall, but never very many at one time.
  • Continue fertilizing all geraniums, except most scented types, regularly with a balanced fertilizer. Geraniums prefer a slightly acidic soil, so periodically alternate feedings with an acid fertilizer, such as Cottonseed Meal.
  • Martha’s are done blooming for the year.
  • Budworms may still be attacking the developing buds and new leaves. If necessary, spray with BT on a regular basis.

grapes, grapevines, growing grapes, organic, fertilizer, kitchen garden

Grapes:

  • The rampant new growth of spring is slower now as the plants direct their energy toward fruit production. Be sure the canes are well supported to prevent damage later.
  • Some early fruiting varieties may have ripe fruit now. Harvest the fruit when it is fully formed and well colored.
  • If birds or wildlife are a problem, protect the plants with nearly invisible black nylon netting.
  • Assuming the use of a granular organic product, the feeding of grapes is in six to eight week intervals following the first application, which was applied when the new growth was just emerging. Following this schedule, four applications are usually sufficient.  Grapes need a well-balanced fertilizer that contains trace minerals.  Organic products usually are a good choice.
  • Continue irrigating regularly and deeply in the warm summer temperatures.
  • Watch for signs of powdery mildew on the foliage. Usually this is due to poor air circulation around the plant, too much shading, or the lack of a winter dormant spray.  If treatment now is necessary use an organic Neem oil product.

groundcover, cool season groundcovers, california native plants, ceanothus, mazanita

Groundcovers:

  • Warm season groundcovers are growing and blooming. Keep them irrigated as the weather warms.
  • If not already done, mulch most groundcover areas now to reduce weed growth, improve soil quality and reduce summer irrigations.

herbs, herb garden, warm weather, grow, basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, catmint

Herbs:

  • There is still plenty of time to plant basil. Keep pinching the flowers off as they develop.  Flowers not only reduce the quantity and size of the foliage, but change the flavor of basil as well.
  • Many perennial herbs can be planted nearly year-round, even during the hot summer if they are watered carefully. These include marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, feverfew, lavender, lemon balm, lemon grass, lemon verbena, St. johns wort, tansy, tarragon and thyme.

hydrangeas, hydrangea, new growth, flowering, feed, prune, slufate soil

Hydrangeas:

  • A few may still be in bloom.
  • Even dried hydrangea flowers can be attractive on the plant as they change color and take on a unique appearance.
  • Keep feeding them in order to produce more new growth (which will bloom next year).
  • Remove any flowers that have faded by pruning as far as half way down the stem below the faded flower.
  • Only prune stems that have flowered this season, leave all other stems alone since they will flower on their tips next season.

lawns, lawn, plant, seed, sod, ryegrass, bluegrass, springtime, garden

Lawns:

  • Remember, cool-season lawns (fescue/Marathon, ryegrass, bluegrass) should be mowed about a half an inch higher in the warm months than in the cool months. Keep the mower at this higher setting for the next several hot weather months.
  • It’s too late to attempt to plant new cool-season lawns; better to wait until the fall.
  • Continue feeding warm-season lawns through summer and into fall.
  • Through the warm summer months reduce the dosage of fertilizer by half to cool-season lawns. Too much fertilizer right now, during the warm weather, will make these cool-season turfs very susceptible to various diseases.
  • This is still a good month to plant warm-season lawns (hybrid bermudagrass, St. Augustine, etc.) from sod. Most warm-season grasses do not grow from seed and are best only installed from sod.

cymbidium orchids, outdoor orchids, bloom, feeding, low nitrogren, flowers, cut back

Orchids (outside grown):

  • Keep feeding cymbidiums with high nitrogen to promote growth.
  • Be sure to keep them well watered in the warm summer months.

perennials, bearded iris, bulbs, tubers, cannas, dahlias, fuchsias, geraniums, ornamental grasses, begonias, peony,

Perennials:

  • (See also Bearded Iris, Bulbs/Rhizomes/Tubers, Cannas, Dahlias, Fuchsias, Geraniums, Ornamental Grasses and Tuberous Begonias)
  • If you are planting perennials this month be sure to keep them well watered as these young plants head into the warm summer months. Also, try to avoid overgrown or root bound plants, as they will be harder to establish.
  • Keep fertilizing your perennials. The frequency and amount will depend upon the formulation that you are using.  If you have been building up your soil health your fertilizing duties will be much reduced.
  • Most of your time in the perennial garden now will be occupied with general cleaning, some trimming, lots of deadheading and mostly enjoying your garden.
  • Irrigating your perennials now is important. The heat of summer is bearing down on these plants and the plants will respond well to careful irrigations.
  • Removing the many spent or old flowers regularly will help them to produce more new flowers. Add these to your compost bin.
  • Sub-tropical perennials are at their happiest now and over the next couple of months. This is a good month to plant these heat lovers too.

pests, diseases, plant diseases, organic control, aphids, snails, slugs, beneficial insects, caterpillars

Pests & Diseases:

  • (See also the information under the individual plants and Beneficial Insects)
  • Periodically rinsing off the foliage of the plants in your garden during the summer will significantly reduce many pest problems, especially mites and whitefly.
huntington library, places to visit, where to visit, gardens to visit, gardens, arboretum

Huntington Library

Places to Visit:

  • Gardens that look terrific almost any time of the year include Sherman Library and Gardens (Corona del Mar), The Fullerton Arboretum (Fullerton), Los Angeles Arboretum (Arcadia), Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens (San Marino) and Quail Botanical Gardens (Encinitas).
  • The Orange County Fair offers horticultural exhibits, seminars and competitions from mid July through early August. Be sure to check out the Farm and Garden competition to see the award winning vegetables and fruits.  This competition is open to everyone, requires no pre-registration and is repeated weekly for all three weeks of the fair.

planting, trees, shrubs, perennials, flowers, vegetables

Planting:

  • (See also the information under the individual plants)

poinsettias, holiday flowers, plant

Poinsettias:

  • Make the last pinching of the tips of the new growth early this month. After this, do not pinch any more this year.
  • Keep fertilizing the plant often with a well balanced food to encourage growth.
  • Watch for whiteflies and treat as needed.
  • Protect the plant from high winds to avoid breaking the stems.
  • Keep the plants well watered.

garden journal, records, catalogs, garden books, organizations

Records, Catalogs, Books and Organizations:

  • Summer is one of the best times to attend educational garden seminars and meetings. Many excellent programs are available and most, but not all, are free, require no memberships and no reservations.  There is so much going on right now that you will have to pay close attention to keep track of it all.
  • Continue making notes in your journal now, especially about water and pests. These will be useful to you again next year.

roses, blooms, first bloom, healthy, flowers, granular, pests,

Roses:

  • Some roses, particularly old-garden roses, also called heirloom roses, only bloom on their “old wood”. What this means is that they only produce flowers on the tips of the branches that were left in place from the previous summer.  By contrast almost all modern roses bloom on “new growth”.  If you are growing any of these types of roses (popular examples are ‘Cecil Brunner’, ‘Grus an Auchen’, Reine des Violettes’) they need their annual pruning immediately following their big spring bloom.  If you didn’t do it last month, this pruning may be about now.  Do not prune these varieties again in the winter or you will eliminate most of the flowers for next year.
  • Do not use soil-applied fertilizers combined with systemic insecticide. These products are very disruptive to soil life (beneficial microorganisms, bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi, earthworms, etc.).  Many rosarians also believe they reduce the vigor of the rose.
  • Although many roses will be blooming well, the big spring show has moved into a bit of a summer slowdown, especially in inland gardens. The flowers will be a bit smaller and they will open a bit faster.
  • Granular, well-balanced, organic fertilizers work especially well for roses and most of these will encourage beneficial soil life.
  • Keep deadheading roses as they fade.
  • Stay on the lookout for pests. The primary culprits now will still be Rose Slugs (see next) and spider mites, which like the warm, dry summer temperatures.
  • Rose Slug is still common now. If you have them, you will see lots of irregular holes eaten through the leaves.  If the situation is severe a “skeletonized” appearance to the leaves will be common.  Control these with organics like Neem oil or Pyrethrin sprays.  The applications must be thorough, frequent and applied to the undersides of the leaves.
  • Disease problems, especially in inland gardens, should be minimal through the rest of summer.
  • Irrigations should be frequent and deep now as the weather warms and the days lengthen.
  • Check the mulch layer beneath roses and add any more as need to keep the roots cool and reduce watering requirements.
  • Hose off the foliage of roses frequently. Contrary to popular myth, this will actually reduce the likelihood of powdery mildew and discourages spider mites as well.

shrubs, vines, large space, garden, garden design

Shrubs and Vines:

  • (See also the information under Azaleas, Camellias, Gardenias, Hydrangeas and others)
  • Water.
  • Mulch.

soil, soil care, foundation, healthy soil, organic mulch, mulch, mycorrhizae

Soil Care:

  • We have included this section, because as you know, or will discover with more experience, a good garden begins with the soil. Investing in the soil, managing the soil and protecting the soil are not afterthoughts in a successful garden, but the foundation.  Healthy soil is living and breathing, teaming with earthworms, microorganisms, beneficial fungi, bacteria, microbes and other invisible life.  This section, possibly the most important topic of all will, provides some helpful guidance to good soil care.
  • A thick layer of organic mulch, averaging about two inches, should be maintained on top of the soil just about year-round. This is an excellent month to add additional mulch as needed to maintain this level.
  • Applied now, a thick layer of mulch will cool the root systems from hot summer temperatures, reduce irrigations as much as half this summer, reduce weed growth, and improve both soil life and soil quality.
  • If you have been considering inoculating your soil with beneficial mycorrhizae, this is a perfect month in which to do it. The soil temperatures are just right for quick establishment.  Inoculation can be done very quickly and easily in established areas by using mycorrhizae “tablets”.  In moist soil, poke a hole near the plant with a ½” or ¾” rod or stick.  Drop a tablet into the hole and push it in again with the stick.
  • We do not suggest the use of very high analysis fertilizers in a garden, especially phosphorus. Examples of fertilizers to avoid are synthetic versions with formulations like, 10-55-10, 10-30-10, etc.  We don’t even suggest the popular 15-30-15 formula.  These formulations will inhibit or even destroy much of the soil life that is so vital to a healthy sustainable soil.
  • We also suggest that you not use soil-applied systemic fertilizer/insecticide combinations (especially popular with roses). These are very damaging to soil life.
  • Use insecticides only when necessary and even then use the least damaging product available. Many of these products move into the soil and interfere with the invisible soil life.
  • If you can, begin a compost pile or purchase a compost bin. Leaves, clippings, kitchen produce scraps, and many other ingredients can be composted and returned to the garden.  Home compost is one of the very best ingredients you can add to your soil.  The benefits are huge in the areas of disease suppression, increasing beneficial microorganisms, improving soil structure and texture, nutrient retention and nematode suppression.
  • Be sure that before you put a plant into the ground you have considered the soil and are doing all you can to improve it and protect its health.

strawberries, feed, organic acid fertilizer, cottonseed meal, low pH, strawberry, fruit, kitchen garden

Strawberries:

  • Don’t attempt to start new plants from the runners (some references suggest this). They never produce as well as new plants, put in fresh each fall or winter.
  • Keep watching for signs of spider mites.
  • If they attempt to grow runners, pinch them off. Keep feeding them and they will continue to bear fruit.
  • Watch for signs of spider mites by checking the foliage periodically. Rinsing the leaves with overhead watering occasionally will reduce this pest problem considerably.
  • Bait, trap or hand pick snails and slugs regularly to avoid fruit damage.

subtropical fruits, trees, flowers, harvest, kitchen garden

Subtropical Fruits:

  • (See also the information under Avocados, and Citrus)
  • These are all growing well now. Keep feeding with a general-purpose organic fertilizer.  Most tropicals and sub-tropicals have a higher need for trace minerals like iron, zinc, manganese and others.  Organic fertilizers generally contain lots of these trace minerals and work especially well in the warm soil temperatures present now.
  • This is a good time for planting these heat lovers, but keep them well watered to help them get established.
  • Watering should be frequent now, but most tropicals and sub-tropicals are particular about quick soil drainage.

sweet peas, sweet pea, harbinger, full bloom, spring bloom, flowers, fragrance, garden flowers

Sweet Peas:

  • These should be done and pulled by now. If, by chance, you still have a few hanging on, enjoy them while you can.

trees, avocadoes, citrus, deciduous fruit trees, subtropical fruits

Trees:

  • (See also the information under Avocados, Citrus, Deciduous Fruit Trees and Subtropical Fruits)
  • Deep water as needed according to the tree species, its age and the weather.
  • This is a good month to “leach” the root zone beneath salt-sensitive species like Japanese Maples. This is accomplished by flood irrigating the soil very heavily and repeating it several times until the accumulated salts in the root zone are washed away from the roots.

tropical, subtropical

Tropicals & Subtropicals:

  • Keep feeding with a general-purpose organic fertilizer. Most tropicals and sub-tropicals have a higher need for trace minerals like iron, zinc, manganese and others.  Organic fertilizers generally contain lots of these trace minerals and work especially well in the warm soil temperatures present now.
  • These are all growing well now and many, but not all, will be in bud or bloom now.
  • Keep them fertilized with a general-purpose organic fertilizer.
  • This is a very good time to plant or transplant palms and cycads.
  • This is a good time for planting these heat lovers, but keep them well watered to help them get established.
  • Watering should be frequent now, but most tropicals and sub-tropicals are particular about quick soil drainage.
  • Move or shade any bromeliads that might otherwise burn this summer from too much direct sunlight. This is also a very good time to divide and propagate bromeliads.
  • (See also the information under Avocados, Citrus and Subtropical Fruits)

tuberous begonias, tubers, growth, flowers

Tuberous Begonias:

  • If you need more, potted blooming plants are now available in nurseries.
  • Plants should be in full bloom by now.
  • Most tuberous begonias produce both male (single) and female (double) flowers separately on the same plant. The double flowers are much showier and many gardeners pinch off the single (male) flowers as they appear.
  • Keep fertilizing regularly. They are heavy feeders, especially in containers.  Use a well balanced fertilizer and periodically mix in an acid fertilizer, to keep the soil pH low.
  • Keep them well watered, but not soggy. The soil should be rich and well-drained.  The surface of the soil should dry slightly between watering.
  • If in a breezy location, staking upright varieties with a small bamboo stake will reduce the possibility of breakage.
  • Pinch off faded flowers regularly and rotate container grown plants to insure even growth.
  • If powdery mildew appears treat it by improving air circulation around the plants. Usually this will correct the problem, if not use a fungicide.

vegetables, artichokes, plant vegetables, vegetable garden, veggies, kitchen garden, harvest, raised bed gardening

Vegetables:

  • Warm-season vegetable can still be planted, but keep them well watered. From transplants or seeds, plant beans, cucumbers, eggplants, okra, peppers, squash and tomatoes.  Corn, melons, pumpkin and sunflowers are best planted from seed.
  • If you didn’t plant them last month, plant pumpkin seeds for Halloween fruit. July 4 is about the latest that seed can be started for a successful Halloween harvest.  If you plant later in the month you can still have good pumpkins in time for Thanksgiving.
  • If your March/April planted tomatoes are still looking good and producing well then let them keep going. However, in many cases they are beginning to decline.  Consider pulling this first crop out and plant a second crop now for a late summer and fall harvest.
  • Beets, carrots, chard, radish and possibly turnips can be planted just about year-round. All but chard are planted from seed only.  Be extra diligent about keeping the small seeds watered in this hot weather.
  • If strawberries attempt to grow runners, pinch them off. Keep feeding them and they will continue to bear fruit.
  • Keep tomato plants trained inside their cages or alternatively up sakes or obelisks.
  • If growing corn, be sure to keep it continually fertilized and well watered. Lapses in either will result in a poor yield.
  • Keep planting corn from seed this month. Because corn needs to be cross-pollinated it must be grown in clumps or rows.  Twelve plants is about the minimum for good pollination and twenty or more is even better.  Plant crops successively every three to four weeks for a continual harvest.  If planted in small groups, hand pollinating will provide fuller ears.
  • Since most annual vegetables are shallow rooted and quick growing, feed them regularly with a well balanced organic fertilizer
  • Keep the vegetable garden well watered during the hot summer.
  • Check tomato plants for hornworm caterpillars. Hand pick them or use the safe and organic BT spray.
  • Harvest your crop frequently, before they get too large or past their most flavorful period. They will grow and mature quickly in the August heat.
  • If you planted bulbing onions last fall, this is still a good month for harvesting. Don’t let them stay in the ground much longer.

Water, irrigation,

Water & Irrigation:

  • (See also the information under the individual plants)
  • Periodically, rinse off the foliage of the plants in your garden during the summer. Larger shrubs, vines and trees will need a spray from a garden hose.  This will cleanse the foliage of dust and some pollution.  Pest problems will be reduced and the plants will “breathe” easier as well.

wildflowers, bloom, superbloom, super bloom, reseed

Wildflowers:

  • It is the wrong time to be thinking about wildflowers now. However, if you will be planting again this winter keep the area free of weeds between now and then.  If the area has no other plants in it do not water.  Irrigations will only encourage weed growth.

wisterias, bloom, pruning, wisteria, full bloom, purple

Wisterias:

  • On established plants, your first pruning should have been made last month. No need to prune now.  You’ll prune again next month.
  • Established wisterias need only an occasional deep summer watering and little, if any, fertilizer. However, iron is occasionally needed to correct chlorosis.
  • On young plants, continue guiding the long, twining stems carefully in the direction that you want.
  • Also on young plants, be sure to provide plenty of water and fertilizer it to encourage quick coverage and deep roots.
By | 2017-09-28T14:32:21+00:00 June 23rd, 2017|Gardening, Gardening Checklist|8 Comments

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8 Comments

  1. JEANNE LEWAND February 13, 2014 at 6:42 am - Reply

    HI RON – I LOVE WHAT YOU HAVE DONE HERE – RULES FOR THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GARDEN. I AM FOLLOWING ALL OF THEM.

    A COUPLE OF PLANTS I HOPE YOU WILL ADDRESS ARE:
    CLIVIA
    HELIOBORUS

    THANKS

  2. Ron Vanderhoff February 14, 2014 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    Hi Jeanne,

    Thanks for the nice comment. I don’t really address too many specific plants in these to-do’s. I’m afraid that if I did, the pages would be even longer – and they’re already quite lengthy.
    Fortunately Clivia and Hellebores don’t have many unique cultural needs.
    For Clivia, be sure the plants are located out of much sunlight, otherwise the foliage will become pale or may even burn. Also, be certain that they are kept well irrigated. If not, they commonly develop dry tips to the leaves. Finally, they prefer a slightly acidic soil, so be sure to intersperse an “azalea” or acid type fertilizer every now and then. They are NOT heavy feeders, but when you do feed them it’s best to apply it in Spring or Summer.
    For Hellebores, the first issue is to be certain that you have a species acclimated for our mild Mediterranean climate. If not, you’re going to never be very successful. After that, the culture may vary a slight bit depending upon which species/hybrids you have so I have to be careful here.
    Very “generally” speaking, with Hellebores it is important to understand their growth cycle. If you understand their habits and are accepting of them then you’re half way there. Most Mediterranean hellebores produce annual seasonal growth and it is on this growth that the flowers are produced every year. These growth shoots, once flowered, will NOT flower again and should be annually removed, in order to make way for the following years growth (and new set of flowers). New growth will already be up and looking good as last years old flowering growth is declining, so your plant will always look pretty good. Removing the old growth annually is the main chore.
    It’s a bit much to go into more detail here, but that’s a start at least.

    Thanks for reading. I hope this helps a bit.

    Ron

  3. Geoffrey Rutkowski July 23, 2016 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Excellent detailed advice. I appreciate your efforts to support so many plant types. I particularly found the section on soil most helpful as I didn’t realize that systemic pesticides affected the soil. Certainly some food for thought.
    Thanks you.

  4. Nancee Wright July 31, 2016 at 2:27 pm - Reply

    Ron, is shredded bark recommended for succulents? Location 1 mile north of pch, Costa Mesa. Thanks kindly

    • Roger's Gardens August 1, 2016 at 8:46 am - Reply

      Hi Nancee,

      Thanks for reading our gardening calendar. Glad you are enjoying it!

      Shredded bark can certainly be used for most succulents. Other materials, such as gravel, stones and decomposed granite are also popular near succulents. If you do use shredded mulch be sure you do not overwater or keep the soil too moist. I also suggest to keep the mulch away from the immediate bases of expensive specimens. Succulents prefer good air circulation, so keeping the mulch away from the plant bases is a good idea. One exception to this rule is with spreading and re-rooting succulent ground covers.

      Hope this helps. Ron

      • Nancee Wright August 1, 2016 at 9:50 am - Reply

        Thanks

  5. Timm August 1, 2016 at 2:27 pm - Reply

    Hello Ron,

    I have a question about drought tolerant plants grown in containers in the sun. I suspect that they need to have more frequent watering than those that are planted in the ground. Should I treat them as if they were any other container plant and water several times per week or can they be cut back? We are in N. E. Santa Ana.

    Thanks,

    • Roger's Gardens August 2, 2016 at 9:01 am - Reply

      Hi Tim,

      Great question. You are correct, even most drought tolerant plants will need fairly regular water when grown in containers. What makes many plants drought tolerant is their ability to seek out water with their large root systems. Of course, when grown in a container this quality is compromised. A notable exception to this rule are succulent plants, which store their water in their leaves and stems. Most of these will perform quite well of much less water than other plants, even if grown in a container.

      The frequency of watering is always difficult to answer with much precision, since the answer truly varies so dramatically from one plant to another. Generally speaking these drought tolerant plants can handle somewhat less frequent irrigations than your other container plants. Watch the plant every day for a few watering cycles and it will almost tell you if it is getting enough water. Usually you will be able to see the leaves beginning to dehydrate or wilt. If you see this, you are probably one day too long on the watering cycle. Of course, this cycle will vary by the time of the year and the current temperatures.

      Ron

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