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Summer Gardening: July Garden Checklist Zones 6-8

Consistent weather abounds for all growing zones throughout the month of July. The evenings are warm, the days are extended and sunlit, and the temperatures are consistently high. Your July garden is thriving, you are enjoying your first servings of fresh tomatoes from the garden, and the big challenge is keeping plants watered deeply and free from pests and diseases.

Planning for late summer and fall gardens, harvesting crops, and maintenance tasks take the forefront of the garden to-do list this month. Not sure exactly what you should be doing in the garden this July?

Follow our July Garden Checklist Zones 6-8 for a list of to-dos that can easily be turned into ta-das and will ensure a healthy and lush garden even amid the year’s hottest days.

Planting Seedlings

Summer Garden Planning Zones 6-8

  • If you are planning a summer getaway, plan to have someone tend to the basics of your garden, especially watering and harvesting. Reward friends and neighbors with the treat of your harvest while you are away if they are willing to spend some time nurturing your crops.
  • It’s hard to believe it, but planning and planting for your fall crops should be at the forefront of your mind this month! You’ll start seeds indoors, so make a list of all the seed starting supplies you need and any seeds you need to acquire.
  • When planning for a fall vegetable garden, don’t forget about planting some fall flowering plants for pollinators, so they will stick around and nurture your crops. Think about flowering fall perennials; add sunflowers, marigolds, alyssum, nasturtium, cosmos, and more.
  • Use your garden journal to sketch out what you planted and where and how plants are growing in their locations. Have you had any pest or disease problems? Write them down, so you can address them at your next visit to your local extension office.

July Garden Maintenance

Other than succession planting veggies and planning for a fall crop, your summer gardens have all been planted and are hopefully thriving.  While planting for summer blooms and crops has been well underway, there are plenty of tasks on the to-do list on the July garden checklist Zones 6-8 to keep your gardens thriving.

Summer Garden Weeding

Weeds have been making themselves right at home since the onset of springlike weather. Continue to stay on top of nuisance weeds, so they don’t take over your vegetable or flower gardens.

  • Frequently patrol the garden area for weeds and pluck them out whenever you see them.
  • Keep other late-spring and early-summer weeds from propagating by adding a couple of inches of organic mulch to the garden beds.
  • Use an organic weed control method to eliminate difficult weeds.

July Garden Pruning

  • Avoid any further pruning of spring-flowering shrubs. These bushes should be setting their buds for next season by this time, so you will want to let them be, so they will have bountiful blooms come springtime!
  • Deadhead spent annual and perennial flowers to encourage secondary blooms.
  • As you prune away dried-up blooms, save seeds from your best-performing plants and save them in seed envelopes for next year. You’ll be pleased that you did! Be sure to label them!
  • Cut back nonfruiting blackberry and raspberry canes.
  • Continue to remove tomato suckers and prune tomato plants to push more energy back into the plant.
  • Continue to shape hedges and shrubs as necessary, avoiding spring-flowering shrubs.
  • Before the 4th of July, cut back fall perennials to avoid plants getting leggy and to encourage a bushy habit with abundant blooms.
Flowers in Wooden Wheel Barrow

Benefits of Mulching in the Summer

A nice layer of mulch will keep your plant roots cool as the temperatures soar in the heat of summer. This is particularly beneficial for your cool-season crops, which seek to bolt in warmer climates.  Mulching your garden beds can also help stomp out reseeding weeds and regulate moisture.

It also will help keep your soil from eroding during bouts of heavy rain. Keep a supply of mulch at the ready and if you see any bare spots in the garden, cover them with some mulch.

July Garden Watering Tips

July is one of the hottest and driest times of the year for most growing zones. Watering plants deeply and regularly will help to ensure a successful garden.  As always, if there are water usage restrictions in place where you live, always adhere to those guidelines.  You may even want to consider a rain barrel system so that you can harvest water from rainfalls.

Here are some watering considerations that need the most attention this month:

  • Water citrus trees thoroughly and deeply to avoid fruit splitting.
  • Inspect your irrigation system. Troubleshoot any irrigation issues that you may have had and make any necessary adjustments or repairs.
  • The heat is on in July, and containers and hanging baskets need daily watering to keep them thriving.
  • Keep your vegetable garden well hydrated as well, preferably watering in the early morning, so that plant roots get the most out of the watering session.

When to Fertilize in Zones 6-8

Plants and lawns have been using up nutrients abundantly throughout this growing season.  The soil might need some replenishing to keep plants growing healthy and strong so that they are not susceptible to pests and disease.

  • Give lawns a second feeding with an organic lawn fertilizer.
  • Fertilize rose bushes.
  • Hanging plants and containers may need an additional boost of nutrients. Feed them with an organic fertilizer to keep plants happy and productive.

Other Must-Dos in the July Garden

  • Add support to fruit tree branches that are heavy with fruit.
  • Side dress potato tubers and onions to ensure that they are entirely covered.
  • Monitor gardens for pests. Spider mites love the heat, and Japanese beetles are making their presence known throughout July.
  • Divide daylilies and irises this month.
  • Plant debris can draw pests, encourage disease, and diminish airflow around your plants. Remove any dead leaves from around the base of plants.
  • If you have unused garden spaces, plant a vegetable garden cover crop to enrich the soil.
  • As you observe your garden, pull out any underperforming annual plantings.
  • Continue to take care of the wildlife in your yard by refilling feeders and birdbaths.
Woman collecting fresh berries

Seed Starting for Fall Crops

You can start sees indoors toward the end of the month, so you have a head start on your fall crop. This is key, especially if you are still harvesting your summer crops. These seedlings can easily be tucked into the garden as you cull spent plants as they reach harvestability.

Some seeds to consider starting indoors include:

  • Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Squash
  • Pumpkins

Outdoor Planting in Zones 6-8

While most planting is done by midsummer, gardeners must keep looking ahead to make the best of extended harvest opportunities.  Right now, you will be planting for a late summer and fall crop.

  • Plant tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant for a delectable late summer harvest.
  • Continue succession planting radishes, lettuce, spinach, peas, and more.
  • Direct sow seeds for beans, squash, turnips, beets, broccoli, carrots, and lettuce for the fall.

Summer Garden Harvest

You’ve worked hard this year, and it’s time to sink your teeth into nature’s garden treasures.

Harvest these garden goodies, plus more:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Beets
  • Beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Okra

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