Enjoy veggie harvests, watch plants for disease this month

Published 7:38 pm Thursday, June 30, 2011

Green thumbs should pay special attention to their vegetable gardens this month by ensuring their plants have enough water, picking ripe produce and thinking about their fall vegetables.

With the arrival of July, both flower and vegetable gardens are in full swing and should be continually cared for through the hot months.

Veggie gardens at this time should have several vegetables in them. To keep the veggies coming, be sure the plants are getting enough water.

As you harvest the garden, be sure to take out any diseased, damaged or oversized fruits so they will not interfere with the health of the other plants.

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This month is also a good time to add summer vegetables, such as snap beans and bush limas. It’s also not a bad idea to start contemplating fall veggies, like broccoli, carrots and Brussels sprouts.

As for flowers, bearded iris go dormant this time of year, so now is a good time to divide the clumps by digging them up and separating the bulbs from each other. They should be replanted six inches apart with the top of the bulbs peeking out of the soil.

Any bulbs that are soft, have no leaves or contain holes should be thrown away.

Also, if you are looking to plant crape myrtles, it is a good time to pick out your color; however, the middle of summer is not a good time to plant.

If you already have crape myrtles, continue to remove any sucker growth at the base of the plant and watch out for powdery mildew, Japanese beetles and aphids in the garden. In addition to crape myrtles, zinnias also are prone to getting powdery mildew.

Now is the time to add slow release fertilizer to warm season grasses, and this should be the last time fertilizer is used until next year.

Be sure to keep your plants well watered and fed all summer long. This is especially important for container plants that dry out faster than plants in the ground. When you are potting in the containers, it helps to add a soil mixture with moisture control granules in it.