July Chores and a Fall Garden
Debbie Roland, Master Gardener
The older I get the less I like July and August. I am making an effort to get out early and come in when I get hot, then go back out in the evenings. I’m not enjoying the heat, but the bugs seem to think it’s just fine. I don’t use chemicals in my yard so I’ve had to be creative. Hand picking bugs and tossing them into a bucket of soapy water and wrapping my hand in duct tape to remove small bugs from fragile vegetable leaves. If you choose to use pesticides or herbicides, be sure to read the instructions carefully and follow them to the letter. More is not better.
Some of my squash and even one of my tomato plants has begun to wither and will soon find its way to the compost pile. Remember if your plants are diseased, such as nematodes on your tomatoes, don’t put them in your compost pile. Also avoid putting your squash plants in if they are infested with squash bugs. You don’t want to put their larvae back into your soil through your compost to live another year.
After a wet Spring, summer has been dry at my house. I’m keeping everything mulched and well watered to keep the heat out of my soil.
I’m using boiling cooking water and pouring it on the Bermuda grass which tries to invade the edges of my raised beds. This actually works well. If you are trying to keep weeds out, you must check for them daily. Get rid of they early and often. The mulch you have applied will help with this too.
I find that a stirrup hoe is my best friend this time of year. It doesn’t require any bending which is hard on your back. It is moved forward and back and cuts on both edges, making the whole process easier. They are available at most places that sell garden tools. See attached picture.
If you have a greenhouse and you haven’t cleaned it out for winter yet, now is the time.
Have you planned your Fall garden? Did you realize that it is time to do that and it should be planted late in July to early August? I know you are thinking “Oh no, another garden?” But the cool weather in a few months will make this one something you can look forward to. Here are some crops that do well in our zone in the Fall: Cabbage, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, lettuce and spinach.
If you have questions, please call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700 for more gardening information.