It’s July   Summertime is definitely here!  Plantings are pretty much done, and the main objective now is to keep everything healthy.  The weather is hot, so July is all about the garden (flower and vegetable) maintenance – irrigation, weed suppression, staking, pest control, dead-heading, and enjoying the finished product!

·                  Water, or the lack thereof, is the most challenging task in keeping plants nourished and looking good during the hot days of summer.  Rain may be scarce, but the need for water is plentiful.   The best time to water plants is in the early morning unless you’re using a drip method.

·         Keep weeds under control: they utilize water and take up nutrients. Establish a weed removal routine.  Weed, weed, weed!               

·         Stake and tie - keep an eye out for plants that become leggy and droop.  Provide supports to keep flowers and fruit off the ground.

·         Pest surveillance – note that aphids, leaf miners, spider mites, whiteflies, black spot, Botrytis Blight, and beetles may appear.   Check with the UGA Extension Service for the best control method to use for each.

·         Deadheading is a task that must be done regularly throughout the growing season.  It is nothing more than removing dead or spent flowers from the plant.  It will make the plant neater, encourage more flower buds, help plants conserve energy, and prevent seed formation.

·         Begin planning for the fall garden.

·         Take a bite of a juicy tomato or blackberry or pick a lovely rose.  You’ll remember why you are into gardening!

·         Get a cold drink and head for the hammock.  Enjoy those “hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer – you’ll wish that summer could always be here”. 

Kathy Booker