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Working in the garden during the summer days of July is especially fun if you live on the coast. Warm, sunny weather makes harvesting blueberries, potatoes and garlic rewarding. The bounty arrives. Mowing is light, but irrigating now becomes the chore. There is much that can be done this month to keep your garden beautiful and productive.

Feed ‘em and reap: With established shrubs, trees and berries, give a generous feeding with worm castings, garden compost or composted manure. Simply adding an inch or two layer around the roots, then scratching it in, followed by a good soaking, is all it takes. With roses, newly planted fruit trees, shrubs and landscape trees, use a natural fertilizer, 4-4-4, or the like and scratch it in lightly, then water.

Water: Extended vacations, high water bills, and shrinking springs and wells make irrigating a bit challenging during the summer. While established trees and shrubs can get away without water until fall rains, they may suffer a bit by shedding leaves prematurely. Growth will be limited. Giving them a good, deep soaking once this month and then next will go a long way to helping cope with dry summer. Roses, rhododendrons, newly planted fruit trees and blueberries all need a good, deep soaking once a week. They will suffer if not sufficiently hydrated.

Plant: Long days and warm weather make vegetable gardening quick and easy. The days are long, the soil is warm. Plant green beans, summer squash, greens, peas, carrots, beets and broccoli now.  Summer herbs like cilantro and basil can be planted from now through early September.

Add color: Spring planted annuals and perennials may start looking a bit worn these days. Check out local nurseries for some bright, fun color. Dahlias, Calibrachoa, Gallardia and Alstroemeria all thrive in sunny areas. Osteo daisies bloom all summer through late fall. Salvias and catmints will feed hummingbirds and butterflies. Marigolds are fun and petunias are cheerful. Perk up dark, shaded areas with New Guinea impatiens, Heuchera, Hosta, tuberous begonia and fuchsia.

Trim: The best way to keep summer flowering annuals, perennials and roses full and bloom and healthy is to keep them trimmed up. This means removing spent blossoms weekly. Not only will plants look their best, they will continue to bloom until autumn.

Terry Kramer is the site manager for the Humboldt Botanical Garden and a trained horticulturist and journalist. She has been writing a garden column for the Times-Standard since 1982. Contact her at vlngirl@yahoo.com.

 

 

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