What a lovely spell of weather we’ve been having!! I have a my touristy to-do list like the Richmond Night Market and the beach and the water slides and berry picking and I think I’d like to see Minter Gardens one last time before it closes.
I have my summer reading to do…though I have now found a love for audio tapes (which you can download from your friendly neighbourhood library) (Editors Note: we think she means mp3's, but we're not really sure :) ) which leaves me hands free though not as efficient as you’d think. If you’re on a particularly good bit and happen to be wearing your headphones while you’re working outside, you tend to stop what you’re doing and gaze off into the distance like some big gawping idiot. I am fairly certain my neighbours already think I’m a harmless crazy person so it’s not like I’m acting out of character or anything but you might want to get bigger visible headphones so they don’t think you’re off your meds.
Here is your July to-do list which you can squeeze in between all of that summer fun!
Check watering regulations and use them wisely. Remember for most soil types a tuna can a week should be sufficient and no, smarty pants not the Costco sized jumbo tuna cans. If you have a really sandy mix of soil which does not retain water, you might want a bit more.
Try not to mow in the blazing heat of the day to avoid scorching both you and your lawn. Raise the mower height slightly during dry periods to reduce stress and to create a deeper buffer to reduce evaporation from the soil. And yes, the increased length of the grass will take up less water that evaporation. Try to reduce traffic on it during really hot and dry spells…but if you have busy kids and dogs good luck with that.
At least you know where to come to get the lawn patch kits in the fall.
Keep weeding. It will slow down any time now, honest. If you haven’t already done so, add a bit of a mulch layer. Well rotted manures or compost are fantastic. If you are adding bark mulch remember to keep a small circle clear of it around smaller perennials, baby shrubs and smaller grasses.
Also remember to fertilize. Composted wood mulches will draw nitrogen from the soil in order to continue to compost. So you’ll need to compensate for this. Deadhead flowers on perennials and larger flowered shrubs. Watering less frequently and deeply is best.
Veggie gardens and fruits
Harvest time for many things. Pick often. Don’t despair when you see some holes in your leaves and some bugs on your plants.
Nature isn’t perfect nor is it sanitary. I have two teenagers who won’t pick fresh blueberries from our bushes because they saw spider webs on them, sigh. Poor eyesight and a sense of humor might be the best gardening tools you have in your collection.
You can continue to sow some short season veggies such as lettuce and radish. Thin plums and apples to prevent snapping of branches. I’ve have a good set again this year and have had to thin a number of times. Towards the end of the month, you can do a light summer prune on fruit trees if you wish to slow down the growth. Remember to prune out branches no larger than pencil width and no more than ¼ of the plant. Summer pruning slows growth and winter pruning of fruit trees invigorates growth.
Hanging baskets and planters.
Keep deadheading and fertilizing. If your hanging baskets get a bit light you can take them down and put them in a tray of water or as in my case a Mr. Turtle kiddie pool. If you are going on vacation, take down the hanging baskets and put them on a tray somewhere out of the sun and group your planters together in the shade as well to reduce the need for watering. A bit of extra work but well worth it. Pay your neighbourhood watering person well and offer a bonus for healthy vigorous plants.
Don’t forget your trees especially your street trees during the hot weather. Leaving the hose on at a trickle for about 20 min should help keep them looking lovely.
Do try to avoid weedwhacking the bark of the trees. There is also a great product we carry called the Tree Gator.
Imagine a bag full of water that you place around your tree that provides water for 2-3 days at a time. A circle of mulch at the base of a tree will also help preserve moisture and make for a healthier tree.
That’s probably enough for now. Have a fantastic month, get out there and enjoy and don’t forget your sunscreen!